1. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Complete third person?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Melzaar the Almighty, Apr 7, 2011.

    My novel has been largely in first person, with any of the parts the main character couldn't know either guessed at in a hilarious and heavily biased sequence that was still clearly first person, or just related to him as conversation by other characters. But as I get near the end there's a massive part where he is totally uninvolved, and it's a lot more serious as well. He still occasionally makes himself known in a few dry comments here and there, but has mostly told it in a fairly straightforward third person. So much so that when it comes to talking about himself, it seems quite odd to throw in a "me" or "I" now. The character he's following has lost her memory, so doesn't remember him, and initially it made sense artistically to have him use his name instead of "me" since she barely knew him and it emphasised the difference. But now she remembers him, it seems very weird to write his name in the narration, yet put in "me" or "I" harks strongly back to all the silly comments and interjections he's made, often to insult her, so his first person stands very strongly for silliness and a tone very unsuited to the drama.

    What do you think? Make it 100% third person for the length of this sequence?

    Examples:

    Early on, blatant 1st person telling of something the narrator wasn't present to see:

    When she is slowly remembering him:

    (after the interjection of first person he goes back to using his name until another character points out she was in love with him, at which point mentions of himself revert to "me")

    Where I'm getting confused about all the first person - wrote this first with his name in my notebook, then typing up almost unconsciously changed to "me" before getting very confused:

     
  2. coolie96
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    coolie96 Member

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    One thing I noticed you do when writing this, especially with the line "Everything seemed different in the new blur of memories that opened up," is how you describe what the other characters are thinking. If you are telling this from a first-person perspective, it could be helpful to guess more at why she jumped up instead of saying it straight. Try imagining what you would think without knowing what is actually happening. Like you said, you could use some dialogue to explain what she's seeing, or something along those lines.

    I wouldn't put in an entire section of third-person, unless you make it a semi-frequent occurance (ex. James Patterson) to tell different sides of the story.

    Whatever you do, make sure it flows in your mind, because you are your first reader.
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, the first section I quoted is from a section about 5,000 words long early in the novel where he does just guess at her thoughts and feelings. Having made it clear he only knows as much as he's told, I'm hoping the fact he can tell everything she did/thought in this end part is a significant hint to where things are ending up when previously she had zilch trust in him. :p

    This is the 3rd time in the novel that he's taken the action away from himself, though it's not a strict third person in that it's still made clear he is the one holding the pen, as it were. He does have a presence in the third person part at the end - my question is just how much of one? How would you write someone writing about themselves from the point of view of someone else?
     
  4. coolie96
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    coolie96 Member

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    If i were to write a person writing about themself from the perspective of another, (is that like what you're saying?) I would probably write it like I would write it something like "I think x thinks I am ..." it's a little wordy, i know, but something to keep the point-of-view the same while not allowing the audience to think the "I" knows everything about the other person - unless that is it is the end and "I" is revealing something because he/she has gotten to know the other person better.
    So really it all depends on what's happening around that section. Do you have the story posted in the forums so I could read it? It would be easier to see the situation then.
     
  5. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Third-person omniscient point of view maintains the omniscient narrator's viewpoint throughout the piece, by contrast with the third-person limited point of view, which limits narration to what can be known, seen, thought, or judged from a single character's perspective at a time , but may change that point of view character many times....Third-person omniscient is hard to pull of.....a recent mainstream example of 3p-o is Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto"
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you can do it so it is in no way confusing then that is great.
     
  7. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't need permission to do this - I am. :p I just want to know what sounds better - the narrator using "me" and "I" or talking about himself in third person too...
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know you can only really tell when you put it back into the story. I wasn't giving you permission or anything merely saying put it back in leave it a couple of days and read it. If it is confusing then it needs to be changed if it flows well then you have pulled it off.
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Neither way flows particularly well. :p Either he looks weird and distanced, or he's getting in the way of the drama and breaking the flow merely by reminding the reader he exists.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Then I wouldn't confuse it with changing the POV - keep it and deal with what you have already set in motion. Find ways to make it flow better.

    It is just going to look messy if you tinker with things too much and it doesn't flow. Just looks like your story isn't working.
     
  11. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Argh, you know what, this thread has been useless. I'll go ask someone who can make instant snap decisions about what sounds cool. I am in no doubt that the basic premise around my really simple question is absolutely awesome and what the story needs, etc. This isn't tinkering or anything that undermines the story itself - just a simple "the wording sounds a little silly whatever I do" on the most basic level of impressions rather than a deep writing question.
     
  12. coolie96
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    coolie96 Member

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    I think the difficulty here is that you only give us one line, and to me that one line sounds good, but since I do not have everything else around it, it is hard to tell how much you use third person and what it should be.
     
  13. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    well, out of a 150,000 word novel (so far) about 10-20,000 words have been in third person at the end, never mind the 4,000 words of it dotted around the rest of the novel :p So it's been happening for quite some time. Thing is, she doesn't talk about the narrator that often so when it does crop up it's always going to surprise the reader.

    After about 2-3,000 words of third person, the first intrusion of the narrator:

    the second time he mentions himself, several thousand words later:

    Quite some time later:

    Only a couple of paragraphs later a rather more subtle intrusion of the narrator giving information from his perspective, proving it's still first person narration:

    Then finally she begins to remember the narrator (still in third person):

    And finally she does work it out:

    I think I quoted this one already, as third person turns into first, only after an intrusion from the narrator that made it nonsensical to go back to calling himself "him" in the same paragraph:

    Then an abrupt switch from first to third person and back again:

    Later, on being told his name and getting rather more memory back:

    And then, a couple of scenes later, the first time she uses his name instead of he just saying "me":

    But a bit more evil villain speech later,

    A few lines later, random intrusion:

    And so far that is every instance of Sael's part in the story since it turned "third person" :p
     

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