1. Joker-Jayde
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    Joker-Jayde Member

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    Changes of writing ie third person to first person

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Joker-Jayde, Apr 12, 2016.

    Hello!
    I'm writing my story in third person past tense, for example, "Jacob emerged from a lifeless slumber, his fingers began to move..."
    However, a crucial part of the story revolve around Jacobs dreams. Basically, he can't remember anything, a witch casts a spell on him so his memories come back in the form of his dreams. So I thought about how to do this which keeps it seperate from the rest of the writing, and I thought of writing these dreams in first person. His first one is his wedding day, so I'd obviously write it 'I see her walking down the aisle' and saying his feelings etc. I thought it might make it a bit different than the rest of the writing, maybe allow more of his emotion and personality to come through in his dreams, after all the spell was cast so he could remember everything about himself, his personality and his inner thoughts and feelings. I'd keep the dreams separate by having them on their own page, maybe a mini chapter.

    Would that be okay, to change the way it's written just for around 4 maybe 5 dreams? I personally would be happy to read a book like that but I value others opinions more :)
     
  2. Justin Phillips
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    Justin Phillips Active Member

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    I can't remember, but how did JK rowling do it when Harry was having dreams that he was the snake? (too lazy to look it up)
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    As with anything, it's in the execution. You can do anything you want. The question is, can you do it well, can you do it so that it doesn't come of as gimmicky, can you do it so that the reader doesn't notice the change, but only the content.

    In China MiƩville's Perdido Street Station, we get an intro to the the story from a 1st person POV of a garuda visiting New Crobuzon for reasons that play out in the story. Twice after that the story again slips into the garuda's 1st person POV. The rest of the book is 3rd person omniscient. In Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World, those chapters that introduce us to a character for the first time start in 3rd person present tense and then slip into 3rd person past tense from therein after. All things that are doable, are doable. It's a matter of skill.
     
  4. Justin Phillips
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    Justin Phillips Active Member

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    what if he's writing in a dream journal, something that someone told him would help retrieve his memories, so yes you are reading it in 1st person, as a journal entry, and it won't be clunky
     
  5. Joker-Jayde
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    Joker-Jayde Member

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    Thankyou, that's a great idea, I also thought maybe he could have forced sleep so he is asleep in his head in the sense he's dreaming... yet during this he is awake in the sense that he talks, so when I write it in first person, he's actually talking and telling someone his dream as it's happening'
     
  6. Justin Phillips
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    Justin Phillips Active Member

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    you could do that as a past life regression therapy, either with a therapist or holistic doctor, or another witch, any of them would be plausible to do something like that. It's a deep hypnosis state that you see things in your mind but are awake to tell them. this way, you could either just switch to first person, which might be jarring if not done properly, or just have him talking in first person through dialogue with his therapist.

    A lot of hint's I've seen on switching views suggest that you do it at the beginning of a chapter, not midway through. It's less jarring that way. So you could end the chapter with him going to sleep, (whether or not you have him just go to sleep or if he is getting hypnotized), and then start next chapter in first person describing his dream.

    I think the reason it is considered more effective that way is because between chapters there is enough of a mental break to process something like abruptly changing view points.

    once it's become accepted that this is a normal thing, then it's ok to start switching mid chapter. Just not the first time.

    good luck!

    *oh ok, I see in first post where you say you will keep them separate in a mini chapter or something. smart idea.
     
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  7. KevinMcCormack
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    KevinMcCormack Member

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    I almost missed that, too... it does sound like the best way to foray into controlled head hopping.

    I have been working on something like this for one of my books. The first person in my case is talking to the reader, breaking the fourth wall in short intermission chapters. It's a lot of work, but my readers seem to say it's giving them a better connection with the character. The rest of the story is in third person objective, so this is the only way he communicates internal thoughts.
     

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