1. animefans12
    Offline

    animefans12 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Florida

    Can a novel have both 1st person and 3rd person?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by animefans12, Jun 19, 2011.

    As the title suggested, is it possible to have a novel with both 1st person and 3rd person or is it just not possible?

    *If this thread is already created/not in the right location, feel free to delete or move it. ^^
     
  2. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I think this, or variations have been discussed in the past, but it is a common concern with writers it seems.

    Yes, you can do it. It just depends on how well you write it and the transitions so that it doesn't jar the reader out of the story. There should be a good reason for it, not just because it is 'easier' to tell the story to the reader or you cannot immediately figure out a way to get information to the reader you, as the author, think is necessary for the reader to understand the story.

    I used a small amount of 3rd person in my first person POV novel, Flank Hawk. At the beginning of the 2nd and chapters up until about 3/4 of the way through the novel, I have what I call 'chapter starts' that follow a different time line than the main action in the novel, but the two stories merge about 3/4 of the way through the novel. In addition, I worked so that some of the chapter starts' contents echoed and/or foreshadowed what was going on in the in the novel--not directly but enough to make a difference.

    That is just one instance, and it seemed to have worked for me.

    So, in your instance, Animefans12, it may be appropriate and work well too. Only you, as the author, can know for sure.

    Good luck as you move forward.

    Terry
     
  3. WriterDude
    Offline

    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Icy cold wastes of Hell. Aka Norway.
    Right now I'm reading "Caught" by Harlan Coben. (great book, btw). The prologue starts in first person, then switches to third person and another character a while later. So yeah, you can do it. ;)
     
  4. heyitsmary
    Offline

    heyitsmary Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I think Christine by Stephen King switched from first person to third person and back to first person.
     
  5. Ubrechor
    Offline

    Ubrechor Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Some Other Place
    The Bartimaeus Trilogy of novels - brilliant read by the way - is written from the POVs of the spirit Bartimaeus and the humans Nathaniel and Kitty (Kitty only in the second and third books). Bartimaeus' point of view is written in first person; the others' are written in third person. If you are switching characters then it is perfectly fine to switch between first and third person. I don't know how it would work with the same character speaking in different persons (persons?) unless it is changed for a prologue or epilogue, as WriterDude mentioned.
     
  6. Anonym
    Offline

    Anonym Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    292
    Likes Received:
    10
    Of course you can. The main difficulty in my experience is in timing & crafting the transitions, which can be pretty disorienting to the reader if not well-done. Otherwise, yeah, it's definitely possible & affords the narrative significantly more flexibility in POV.
     
  7. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    L.E. Modesitte did it in one of his Recluse novels, The Death of Chaos. The MC's POV was written in first person. When he switched to another character's POV he wrote it in third person.
     
  8. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    Novel with First and Third Person

    Bitter Angels by C.L. Anderson is a prime example of First Person and Third Person mixed. Some characters were in first, others in third. I found the story itself to be interesting but confusing to keep up with the POV's.
     
  9. Liza
    Offline

    Liza Active Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    4
    In House of Night, only Zoey's POV was in first person, and the lesser characters used third person POV. So, by all means, go ahead.
     
  10. carsun1000
    Offline

    carsun1000 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    31
    James Patterson's Alex Cross is always in the first person. Everyone else is in the third person. So yes, you can do it.
     
  11. Heather
    Offline

    Heather Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    London
    Personally, I think it depends on how you handle it. For example, in her short stories Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber) often switches her narrative perspective, and she makes use of first, second and third person perspectives. In her stories she does this in a way to create a sense of ambiguity and mystery, and in most cases this works well. However, in some of her stories I personally think it causes confusion, and distracts from the story rather than adding to it.
    I would advise that, if you are going to use a switching narrative, you need to work out why, and at all times make sure the reader knows who the narrator is - unless of course your desired effect is ambiguity.
    Hope this helps. :)
     

Share This Page