1. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    Antagonist POV

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by pippin1710, Jun 26, 2008.

    Right now I am planning a series where the point of view is from the hero and possibly a few chapters through the eyes of the heroine. Through out the story as the hero goes through his life he learns more and more about the antagonist and starts to see simalarties and eventually pities him. So I was just wondering if it is a good idea to have a few chapters dedicated to the antagonists pov or if this is a bad writing technique.
     
  2. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    You can do it if you want, whether it comes out good or not will depend on your ability to make it work.

    Some might say that it's a bad idea to switch POVs during a novel, other might say it's okay depending on the situation, but that doesn't mean you can't do it, you don't need to ask permission.
     
  3. Marloy
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    Marloy Contributing Member

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    You always have to make sure what you are doing when skirting through the POV's of so many characters. If you are going to tell the story switching from the point of view of the main character and the heroine as well, one technique is to play the story out that way. On one or more chapters go with one of the characters, and do it again with another, and sequence it. I don't know if you've read those double-sided stories where the entire plot is drawn out in doubl-vision, somewhat like there is essentially one main character, and it is told through the eyes of two.

    Showing the POV's of more than at least two characters I think if not done right can give the reader feelings of crowdedness, but if you differentiate and distance the characters enough, it would work. There isn't a rule book that says you have to stay with one tense and the POV of one character, only as long as you keep the story consistent.

    Sometimes authors will tell the POV of the protaganist in first-person, and the antagonist in third-person, giving more insight into the mind of the main character, who is usually the good guy, and distancing a bit from the immediate brain of the bad guy, to add a sense of distrust, etc. and it can be turned around and played with if the story is a different way. Really, you can pull it off, it can actually be a very interesting and engaging writing technique.
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    It can be all right if done well. I do numerous POVS in my work, including from the bad guys' POV.

    It can ruin the mystery, though. If your story is more about the good guy realizing over time his similarities to the bad guy, you might not want to give the bad guy's POV, unless you feel it helps illustrate these similarities. If you want the good guy's realization to come across as more surprising, I'd skip telling anything from the bad guy's point of view because this might make the similarities too obvious to the reader. If the reader can see into both characters' minds, the element of mystery (is the bad guy really as much like the good guy as the good guy thinks?--how exactly are they similar?) is gone. If the reader can see only into the good guy's mind, then the realization that he and the bad guy are similar comes across more gradually and more like a surprise.

    Though like I said, if you want to illustrate how correct the good guy is in his thoughts, by showing how similar the bad guy's own thoughts are, then go for it.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One book which does an excellent job of this technique is Sue Grafton's T is for Trespass. Most of the chapters are written, as usual for Grafton's alphabet mysteries, from the POV of her protagonist, Kinsey Milhone. However, this book hands the POV to the antagonist for a number of chapters inserted strategically in between.

    It's a powerful technique, but you should be adept at character-driven narration before attempting it, otherwise your points of view will blend together too much.
     
  6. JanesLife
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    JanesLife Member

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    Switching PoVs is not only a tricky technique to pull, not only because you can muddle up your characters, but because it can become corny very quickly. Truthfully, when ever the first person is used, a writer runs the risk of ruining his/her piece. Make sure you know your characters, but also make sure choose words wisely (he said, she said) and edit! The difficulty ranks high, but, as a result, the final product has the possibility to work well.
     
  7. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    I Just think it might be hard to pull twists over the readers eyes if you no whats all hapening
     
  8. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    My book is split between four main characters, each who have their own POV chapters in 3rd-person. I was debating on giving my main antagonist his own POV, but I decided not to because it would reveal too much information and secrets. However, I do like reading books in the villian's POV, so if you do it well it could work.
     
  9. Marloy
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    Marloy Contributing Member

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    That doesn't have to be a problem, as long as you lay it down the right way. How do you think people can still achieve suspense in first-person, when the character is telling events that have already taken place?

    Like the trick I said with the main character in first-person and the 'bad guy' in third. You can make your MC suspect the guy, etc. by telling the reader his thoughts, and narrating those of the antagonist. That way the reader is in on something the main guy is not, and when he makes stupid decisions, the reader can feel scared/pity him, etc. This can create great suspense, and make the reader want to warn the character.

    There are also other ways of doing it, but I don't know what types of twists you're talking about.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Cutting a scene short and transitioning to something else is a good technique. It heightens suspense, because the reader has questions over what happens next, and it also allows you to cut that POV character's scene short before he or she reveals information you don't want the reader to know yet.

    That is part of what I meant when I said that you need to be pretty comfortable with character-based narration to make POV switching work well.

    Character-based narration is more than telling the story while looking over the character's shoulder. You adopt a voice consistent with the character so the reader identifies with the current character's personality, not just his or her physical location. It's not quite first person voice. It's not the character describing his or her actions so much as describing the environment he or she is presently immersed in, and the perspective on recent (or even not so recent) events. So it's actually not a specific voice or tense, but a viewpoint that is nailed down to the character in story time.
     

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