1. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    Changing the POV.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by hawky94, Feb 20, 2011.

    Hey everyone, here is an excerpt, I need advice, I don't know whether what I've written is switching the point of view... It's sort of omnipotence in a third person form, but it's a dream that the character is having.

    I walked over to the barbers tent and stood in the entrance way waiting for someone to come and seat me. Up walked a corporal, he looked at my hair and then at me, it was like being back at Basic Training, those inspections at six in the morning. I was never very good at them, always ended up not polishing my boots or having a loose button or something. But those thousands of push-ups and having to scrub the parade square with a toothbrush for three weeks soon got me organised.
    “Sir, can you take a seat please?” He seemed scared of me, I probably looked like hell. I sat down and he threw a towel over my shirt and round my neck.
    “Number two all over?” The young corporal asked.
    “Yeah mate, I've just got back from the field, that's why I look like hell” He nodded and turned on the clippers. My mind wandered back to Emma. I thought about how close to death I'd come, I wondered what she'd be doing now, it was nine in the morning, so it'd be six in the morning. I imagined her sleeping, the rise and fall of her chest, I wandered what she was thinking about, was she thinking about me? Was she in constant fear of my death? My mind did something weird, it was as if I was present, in the room, as some kind of omnipotent force. I could see her sleeping, I invaded her mind, my god, it was a turbulent mess. She was thinking about me, she was dreaming, now I was in her dream. She was sitting on the sofa, outside a black sedan pulled up to the pavement and stopped, both doors opened, a driver and padre stepped out. They walked up to the door and knocked, she opened it. The two men started speaking, what they said I could not here, but I saw her reaction, she waited for the door to close, then collapsed on the floor. What followed was a torrent of tears, she was sobbing uncontrollably. Her hands trembled.
    “Oh God, oh God, why? Why me, why did you take what is most precious to me?” She went back to the uncontrollable sobbing. Everything faded and I was back to hearing the low drone of the clippers performing manoeuvres on my scalp.
     
  2. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    ...Actually, you didn't write anything in the third person; it's all in the first-person perspective. Even though the six next-to-last sentences didn't say "I saw," it is clearly coming from your MC's point of view.

    Since I'm here... I really (really) don't want to step on your toes too hard, but your excerpt could use a lot of grammatical help. I'm going to break this down into little bitty chunks so that it's easier to digest. :)

    I walked over to the barbers tent and stood in the entrance, way waiting for someone to come and seat me. Either do it this way, or "entranceway" might be the word you're looking for.

    Up walked a corporal, he looked at my hair and then at me, it was like being back at Basic Training, those inspections at six in the morning. This is a run-on sentence. Try breaking it up, something like this: Up walked a corporal, glancing at my hair and then me. It reminded me of the inspections at Basic Training at six in the morning.

    I was never very good at them, always ended up not polishing my boots or having a loose button or something. The tenses don't agree in this sentence. Try: I was never very good at them, always having something messed up like a loose button, or boots that weren't polished enough. By the way, having strings on one's uniform is more realistic than a loose button, and instead of boots that weren't polished in Basic Training, it would be boots that weren't polished enough.

    But those thousands of push-ups and having to scrub the parade square with a toothbrush for three weeks soon got me organized. Please don't start your sentences with conjunctions. Simply delete the But and move on. The thousands of pushups and three weeks spent scrubbing the parade square with a toothbrush soon got me organized though.

    “Sir, can you take a seat please?” He seemed scared of me; I probably looked like hell. Note the semicolon.

    I sat down and he threw a towel over my shirt and round my neck.Either use 'round (since it's short for around), or actually use around.

    “Yeah mate, I've just got back from the field, that's why I look like hell. There needs to be a period at the end. Also, I would personally split this into two sentences, putting a period after mate.

    My mind wandered back to Emma. This seems to be a very abrupt sentence. I'd add something to it, or maybe incorporate it with one of its surrounding sentences. The drone of the clippers caused me to relax, and my mind wandered back to Emma.

    I thought about how close to death I'd come; I wondered what she'd be doing now. It was nine in the morning here, so it'd be six in the morning there. This is another run-on sentence. Split it up. (And I personally don't get the time shift. If your soldier's deployed, you need to look at something closer to a twelve hour difference.)

    I imagined her sleeping, the rise and fall of her chest. I wandered what she was thinking about; was she thinking about me? Again, this is a run-on sentence. Also note the semicolons.

    My mind did something weird; it was as if I was present, in the room, as some kind of omnipotent force. Put a semicolon after weird.

    I could see her sleeping. I invaded her mind; my god, it was a turbulent mess. Another run-on sentence. Note the semicolon.

    She was thinking about me, she was dreaming, now I was in her dream. This is very fragmented; I'd try to make it smoother. She was thinking about me, dreaming. As I kept entering her mind, I found myself inside her dream.

    She was sitting on the sofa, Outside a black sedan pulled up to the pavement and stopped. Both doors opened; a driver and padre stepped out. Another run-on sentence. Note the semicolon. Also, I'd personally scratch the sofa comment, it adds nothing to the sentence, unless the sofa is an integral part of the story elsewhere, like if that's where he last saw her.

    They walked up to the door and knocked; she opened it. If you have two complete phrases in the same sentence, they need to be separated by a semicolon. "They walked up to the door and knocked." is a complete sentence, as is "She opened it." Therefore, a semicolon is needed to have them as part of one sentence instead of a comma.

    The two men started speaking. What they said I could not hear, but I saw her reaction. She waited for the door to close, then collapsed on the floor. Another run-on sentence. Also, you used the wrong spelling of hear. (You hear with your ear, and where is here. :))

    What followed was a torrent of tears; she was sobbing uncontrollably. Her hands trembled. Another semicolon needed.

    “Oh God, oh God, why? Why me, why did you take what is most precious to me?” Just me rambling here, but you didn't capitalize god earlier. You did here...I ask you to be consistent.


    My suggestion would be to read more good literature. The more you read, the smoother your writing will be come. You'll be able to spot those pesky run-on sentences a little better and have a better grasp on sentence flow.

    Again, I apologize if I stepped on your toes a little hard, but I hope this helped! Have fun; keep reading and writing!
     
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  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    -Oz did a great job answering the question and giving grammar help (+rep!).

    If I may add, the part about the dream doesn't break first person because he's imagining the dream he thinks Emma might be having and he's picturing her -- you aren't actually going into Emma's POV.
     

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