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  1. sidtvicious
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    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    Changing Point of View in a Novel

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by sidtvicious, Nov 14, 2009.

    We've all read many works, what are your opinions on a novel having the protagonist's point of view being a first person narrative, but later switching to a Third Person narrative when dealing with roles of the supporting characters? I've read books that have done this, but have also found that they generally do it with the protagonist in first person, and possibly the antagonist and one or two supporting characters.

    I have the several chapters dealing with my protagonist written as third person, and i can't help but think that i might have more fun and appeal to the reader more if I change it to first person. My main problem with this is that I also have many others chapters written, set in third person, dealing with supporting characters.

    So my actual questions, how many of you as writers have rewritten something from one point of view to another with success? Also, have you read anything recently where a similar angle was taken and did you like it or not?

    I apologize if something similar has appeared on this forum before, but in searching i found no real answers.
     
  2. hoodwinked
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    hoodwinked Member

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    I've never tried.

    But, I am sure it's been done. You wouldn't be able to simply change the 'he's to 'I's... but I'm sure you can use what you have as a guide and rewrite it that way. Details included and how it's written change when switching POVs... but I'm sure you know that. If you think it would be best for your novel to be part in first person, I say you should tackle it and try rewriting.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It can be done, but I'd generally recommend against switching between first and third person, because they are different enough in tone to be distracting. If you plan to switch POVs, you should probably stick to third person.

    You want the reader focused on the story, not the way you tell it. Anything that draws attention to the writing approach pulls the reader away from the story, and should be avoided.
     
  4. Nackl of Gilmed
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    Nackl of Gilmed Member

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    I have a vague memory of reading a fantasy novel that switched from 3rd-person to 1st when a character entered some kind of dream or spirit realm. Unfortunately it was ages ago, and I cannot remember what book it was, or if the technique worked.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can find examples of nearly any writing approach. Some of those examples are brilliantly done, too, But that doesn't mean those writing approaches are good choices for most writers, especially less experienced ones.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sidtvicious,

    Like so many things in writing, yes it can work if you execute (write) it well, but it is an additional layer of complexity, or hurdle, you're adding to the task. If it is needed and seems appropriate, go for it, but make sure it is smooth and not jarring to the reader.

    Terry
     
  7. sidtvicious
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    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks guys!

    Thanks for all the advice,I figure I'll take Cogito's and Terry's advice to heart and be careful with mixing POV.

    That being said, I think rewriting the first chapter from third person to first is a good chance for experimentation. Have someone take a look at it alongside a few other chapters and see how they think it flows. If it doesn't turn out, I can always go back to the original chapter 1.
     
  8. Operaghost
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    Operaghost Contributing Member

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    Cog is very knowledgebale so pays to listen to his advice, and once again is corrrect, it has been done, and doen well, but for every good example of something you can often find numerous bad examples to offset it
     
  9. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    In "Christine" I recall that King switched from 1st person to 3rd person, I found it very evocative but it's not the easiest thing to make it work you need to have a certain mastery in writing.
     
  10. hszmv
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    Animorphs did a switch in narrator for a few books. Book 19 (has a butterfly on the cover) used it for a few sequences, it was the specific difference between the regular books and the Megamorphs, and it was employed in a few of the "Chronicals". However, all speakers maintained a first person, except for book 19, where Jake (the guest narrator) comments on the actions of Cassie (the book's narrator) in a quasi-third person roll within the frame of the story.

    Since most of my stories evoke a comic book feel, I personally use a third person to describe the action around the character (i.e The cloaked man drew his sword and ran towards Bob, screaming as he charged.), and an italicized first person to get into the characters head (i.e. He has a sword? Who gave this loon a sword?). It's my personal style since my third person tends to be purely action/dialog and I don't put any personality into it, where my first person is too personal and often soap-boxing at times.
     
  11. writer_geek85
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    writer_geek85 New Member

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    In one of my novels I started it in first person but it bugged me because I wanted to show somebody elses point of view so I changed it to third but that bugged me too. So finally I made it in first person but I have certain characters view for a paragraph or two... if that made any sense lol.
     

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