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  1. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cheating with POV

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by HorusEye, Sep 22, 2009.

    Hi,

    I'm working on some scenes where I now noticed that I might be cheating, regarding POV.

    It's kinda similar to a cheat used in the movie 'The Name Of The Rose', based on Umberto Eco's famous novel (Whether this cheat is also used in his novel, I don't know. Anyone who have read it are welcome to shed some light on it).

    The story begins by having the MC look back on his life, as an old man. In the film, once we drift into the story, the POV will sometimes follow other characters, while doing things they could not possibly have told the MC about later. But the whole story is, in essence, the memoires of the old man, whos voice will narrate several passages, including the beginning and end (ending shifts to present tense, for the conclusion).

    These little jumps into different characters' POVs, during a story narrated by the MC later, should be considered cheating...right?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why would it be a cheat?

    It's a choice. And like all choices, there are consequences that go with it.

    If your character gets to look back on the story, it implies to the reader that the character survived. There may be other conclusions the character can draw from the future excursioins as well. You just have to ask yourself if the benefit of the retrospective view outweigs the erosion of suspense.

    In a sense, they are two different charas=cters, although they do ave an obvious connection.
     
  3. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    It would make sense to have your character narrate scenes in which he or she are directly involved in. If they are not, then you shouldn't narrate because it's just a hole in the story. I don't quite understand what you mean by cheating...
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Its a stylistic choice, and hardly uncommon. And no, it certainly isn't cheating. It is Realistic? No, but that doesn't mean its 'wrong'. Writing is not real life and need not resemble it. If its in the story's best interests to have the narrator reveal things beyond their expected range of knowledge, then do it.
     
  5. alice
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    alice New Member

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    I agree with Cogito and arron89 in saying that you can completely do that, it's your story, and may be in the best interests to be narrated as such.

    However, what you might consider doing (only if this makes sense in the construct of your story) is to lampshade it at one point, by saying something along the lines of 'well i wasn't there at this point but so and so swore it happened like this', maybe following an unbelievable feat. this may feel completely out of context in the story, but can be very effective.
     
  6. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I'm glad it's not necessarily frowned upon. In my own story I'm changing POV quite a bit, and with several characters being in 1st person, while both the beginning and end are narrated by the MC. My "excuse" is that the sequences outside his POV remain unknown to him even at the end (he doesn't need to know), and are thus not part of his recollections, but instead they're just other characters telling their tales, fitting into the chronology of the MC's tale.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  7. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    It will probably be harder to publish a multiple first person novel.
     
  8. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm working on a graphic novel (also known as a comic book). I don't know if what you say applies here too, but I'd like to know why you think so? To me it feels more personal for the characters to express their own thoughts and feelings from an internal viewpoint.

    I'm currently reading the novel 'Once Were Warriors' which is entirely written from 1st person views of multiple characters and it really feels like getting under their skins when you hear their inner struggles in their own voices.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The rules don't apply that way for graphic novels because the medium is so very different. A first-person narration isn't necessarily reflected in the illustrations, for instance; the text and images don't have to be in the same tense or from the same point of view.
     
  10. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I had a hunch that the media differ in that sense. My all-time favourite 'The Sandman' uses countless narratives in different tenses, to the point where it almost becomes a blur.
     

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