1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Changing POV in a scene, does it ever work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by spklvr, Jan 24, 2011.

    Changing the POV in one scene is something I never do, mainly because I consider it poor writing. Yet, I read it a lot in amateur writing and fanfiction, and as long as I know whose POV it is, it doesn't usually bother me. But that's fanfiction...

    In the story I'm currently writing, in one particular scene, constantly changing the POV between the different characters seemed to work. It was kind of like following the (Domino effect) action rather than a single character, and breaking up the scene between every change doesn't seem right as everything happens consecutively. I keep rereading this scene (should probably take a break from it), but can't really decided whether it works or not.

    Many will probably say to write however I want, and do whatever works, but I'm not sure this ever really works properly. Do you have any examples of this being done well? I'd really like to read something to help my own writing. What's your opinion?
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Sure, it can work. Hard to pull off well, imo.

    I read a short story by a well-known author (Virginia Woolf maybe, but I can't recall for certain), where the POV not only shifted mid-scene, it shifted mid-paragraph. And she did it nicely.

    The answer to any question of this sort is "Yes, you can do that." But if you don't do it well, you are far better off not doing it at all.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i have read it even in established writers work, and i dont dislike it, actually i do that every now and then too, but I make sure to put a blank space between the them. Sometimes i feel i need to see the scene from different perspectives, and as long as there is no confusion about who's pov it is I dont see the harm.
     
  4. ArtWander
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    ArtWander Contributing Member

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    I agree with Steerpike on this issue. I think that POV changing mid scene can be done, and be done well. It is a double-edged sword, however. If not thought out correctly, it can make an otherwise strong work look amateur.
     
  5. Virginia Slim
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    Virginia Slim New Member

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    One successful writer to changes POV characters in the middle of scenes is Larry McMurtry. (In case you're not familiar with him, he writes about Texas -wrote 'Lovesome Dove', also the novel from which the film 'Hud' was developed. And the screenplay for 'Brokeback Mountain'.)
    Also Canada writer Alice Munro delightfully changes POV in the middle of one of her short stories "Carried Away".
    What I think this means is that if you are a good writer, writing things people want to read, they won't care; they probably won't even notice.
    However, since most of us amateurs of limited talent, sticking to the rules may help us communicate our ideas.
    Good luck xxx
     
  6. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    This is an interesting discussion, because I found myself doing it in a scene in the novel I'm working on, and it has been nagging at me. It seems to happen smoothly, but I'm still not convinced it will stay that way.
     

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