1. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    Grammar Confused about point of view

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Smoke Z, Apr 4, 2014.

    I read this article, and I'm still confused. http://www.scribophile.com/academy/using-third-person-omniscient-pov

    I want to be able to get into people's heads. I want the reader to know that a character is upset but hiding it. I want the reader to know what secret the other person in the scene knows.

    I've heard of head-hopping. Is it jarring if done slowly enough, used sparingly, and telegraphs whose head you're in?

    For scenes where I pick one character and stay with them, is it okay to use character's names that he doesn't know but the reader does? (There's only so many ways to write "the guy with the staff.")
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    many successful novelists head-hop happily, to good effect... and many more do so either on purpose or inadvertantly to hopelessly bad effect... so it all depends on how good you are at doing it...

    i've never considered it verboten and wouldn't agree with anyone's rule to avoid doing so...

    re the name of a character another character doesn't know by name, whether you can use the name in the narrative depends upon whose pov the narrative is being written from...

    if you're in the head of the character who doesn't know the name, then it's not going to make any sense to use it, is it?
     
  3. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    It's third person where the readers should know his name, but I suppose I've trimmed the scene enough so I mention the staff more than the mook holding it, and he's only referred to by name after another character yells at him during the battle. I refer to one as "the leader" without ever mentioning why he knows this. He's wearing fancy armor, but in-character the POV has been harassed at a distance by that specific set of armor.

    Or I could just step out of his head while the battle is going on? I think it's important about how he can't help until the staff-guy drops his staff.

    The next mini-section has a guy who is making an informed guess about his name and happens to be right, but it's never confirmed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014
  4. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    And now I'm having another problem. I have a lot of characters where the people talking to and about them know who they are, but the readers don't. Do I let odd phrases like "Bob, your cousin from Jersey" creep in, assume the reader is smart enough to figure out who they are?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely don't do the "Bob, your cousin..." thing. If you have to somehow let the reader know, make that tie in to the situation and do double duty.

    For example, imagine that you (1) need to explain Bob, (2) need to introduce a neighbor, Jane, and (3) need to demonstrate the relationship between Jane and your MC, John. And you realize that (4) eventually you'll need to introduce John's interest in wine. So you craft a scene around those needs: (And, yes, the first line of this scene is really awkward, but writing another paragraph to smooth it in seems excessive for an example. :))

    Jane opened the door and blinked at the sight of John standing on the mat with a clinking, bulging bag. "Hi?"
    "Hey. Jane. Can you store my good wine for me?"
    She raised both eyebrows. "If you have that much wine, have you considered refrigerated storage?"
    "Refrigerated storage would stop the aging--No, sorry, I'm--look, my cousin is coming to visit, and he's a big 'What's yours is mine and what's yours is mine' type. I need to hide the good stuff."
    "For how long?"
    "Three days. Tops."
    "Uh huh." She stepped aside and gestured toward the kitchen. "'Tops'? That doesn't sound as confident as you probably wanted it to. Why not tell him to stay in a hotel?"
    "I can't. Bob's the golden boy, my aunt would kill me. With my mother's blessing. Anyway, of course he's leaving--he's flying all the way from New York on a no-changes, no-refunds round trip ticket. He's leaving. What other choice does he have?"
    "Staying with you forever?"
    "Oh, God, don't even joke like that."


    And remember that the reader doesn't necessarily have to know everything. Is it immediately important to know that Bob is a cousin and is from Jersey? Here, we've got a cousin and "New York". Jersey could show up later, if it's really needed.

    Of course, you can't always write a whole scene around a fact that you need to convey. But your novel is already full of scenes; you may be able to find a way to tuck that fact in somewhere.

    For example "...With my mother's blessing" provides information about John's relationship with his mother, in just four words. Those four words could have been tucked in after the scene was originally written, when you realized that you needed the reader to know that information.

    For another example, if you needed to communicate that John is in love with Jane, she could jokingly threaten to drink one of the best bottles and it could become clear that he really wouldn't mind all that much. Or if you needed to communicate the opposite, he could get a little rude at the suggestion. You could subtly communicate that they once dated, or that they were once together and broke up. Or there could be more discussion of Bob and John's inability to refuse to host him, thus bringing up John's issues with assertiveness and self-confidence.

    This little scene could accomplish all sorts of things, as could almost any scene.
     
  6. Smoke Z
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    Smoke Z Active Member

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    I'm still confused, I'm afraid... maybe specific examples? The girl is unknown to everyone in these.

    In this one, I'm following Janos. He hasn't been formally introduced to the warriors, but the readers have a good chance of already knowing their names if they are fans and not newcomers. Even I don't know why he knows Raziel's name but Janos called him that and wasn't corrected.
    As if in response to her warning, the door burst open and five armored men rushed in. Raziel rushed forward to meet them before Janos could react. Suddenly Janos collapsed, pain suffusing his entire body as one of the men brandished their greatest weapon. Janos watched helplessly as Raziel fought, and wondered why he seemed immune to the legendary staff that had aided in the deaths of so many vampires.



    Raziel seemed aware of the staff's power, and focused his attacks on it's wielder. Unfortunately Raziel was unarmed and outnumbered. The warriors' attacks pressed Raziel away from the staff and towards the balcony. Janos had only one weapon in his home, the Reaver, but he couldn't even speak. All he could do is regret that he hadn't been able to present the sword to Raziel.



    The girl seemed to be frozen in fear, so the warriors ignored her. But then she pulled something out of her pocket and sprayed something liquid into the staff-bearer's face. He screamed and dropped the staff; its light extinguished as he clawed at his face. Janos sighed in relief as the pain faded, but he still was too weak to move.



    “Turel, what are you doing?” Their leader asked.



    “It burns!” Turel shouted as he struggled with the strap on his helmet.



    The leader grabbed the girl's hand and twisted the object out of her grip. The blade strapped to his wrist bit into her shoulder as he forced her to the floor. “What have you done to him?”



    Janos struggled to rise, but his limbs were slow to respond. Raziel seemed to be tiring from the wounds he was receiving, and the warriors still herded him to the edge of the balcony. One of the warriors drove his pike into Raziel's chest, and he tumbled backwards. Janos could do nothing but stare in horror as Raziel crashed through the ice below and dissolved in the acidic water.



    The three warriors noticed that Janos was beginning to recover. Two of them pinned Janos' arms and wings while the third shouted, “Turel, the staff!”

    This one is very confusing, but there is a Wraith-Raziel and a Sarafan-Raziel and the wraith is from the future but doesn't remember being Sarafan.
    Raziel climbed to a sheltered perch above the lake and sat in contemplation. He thought about that one Sarafan with the ornate armor. That the Sarafan had called the other “Turel” gave an indication that these men where the mortal forms of Raziel and his vampiric brothers. Raziel didn't recognize the voice, but the voices of both he and his brothers changed many times throughout their unlife.


    Raziel studied them as they marched across the lake. Now that he wasn't fighting for Janos' life, Raziel noticed that their armor matched the memorial in the Sarafan stronghold. Dumah had the Reaver strapped across his back, and Raziel blinked in shock. Janos had mentioned that he was the guardian of the blade, but Raziel should have been able to sense its presence if it were in the aerie.


    Raziel knew the legends of how Janos had died, and today had felt like the perfect ambush. He clenched his talons at his mistakes, consumed by guilt at the thought that he should be responsible for Janos' death. Raziel had used one of Moebius' devices to come here so they knew exactly when he would arrive. Raziel could not fly, so of course he would have to disable Janos' defenses to meet him. Not only had Raziel led the Sarafan straight to Janos, but his former self had led the attack.

    With Moebius, he knows who everyone is except the girl, but I've had to make up names for some of the characters and no one knows who they are. The names that fans would know but newcomers wouldn't: Moebius, Nupraptor, Ariel, Malek, Melchiah, Zephon. The stupid names that I made up: Dianeta, Ozmandon, Fortemtro, Iribelle, Garactian. I did hint that Fortemtro would be asked to analyse a chemical weapon, hinting that he's the alchemist. And I did manage to write, "conversation that he had once had with Garactian. The Planer had said"
    Moebius could not help but smile as he considered the ramifications of Janos living for just a little while longer. The current Circle was safe. Ariel and Nupraptor would be born soon, but the Pillars would ignore them as their current Guardians lived. Even if those two found each other, they could fall in love without damning the Pillars. For this one thing, the Circle wouldn't plunge into madness. Best of all, Kain's entire miserable existence would be erased, as would his corrupted progeny. The timeline would be damaged, but Moebius now had a more controllable tool than the one he was about to lose.


    Moebius recoiled in shock as he felt Dianeta's presence tear away, followed by Ozmandon. The Balance and Mind Guardians had fallen. Moebius instructed the Sarafan outside of the cell to guard his prisoner and swallowed his trepidation as he teleported to the courtyard.


    Melchiah and Zephon glanced at Moebius in surprise. “Come with me,” Moebius commanded.


    Moebius was still wary even though he had only felt two of his comrades fall. Moebius noted that neither Malek nor the Reaver was where Moebius had instructed them to be. It was a short walk to the hallway outside of the scrying room, and Malek stood in the doorway wielding the Reaver.


    “A blue... creature emerged from one of your time-chambers, Moebius,” Fortemtro said as he comforted Iribelle. “It murdered Dianeta and Ozmandon before we could react. It was going to kill us next, but it disintegrated when Malek arrived.”


    Moebius did not need to disguise his emotions. He was upset for the wrong reason, but it would serve him now. “I did not foresee this.” Moebius thought quickly. He knew what ghoul they had seen, but Moebius could not imagine how he could have managed this.


    Moebius clutched his stomach. He was already nauseated by the deaths that came just when he was expecting them to be spared. Now it was all he could do to prevent himself from vomiting. “The prisoner, he must not rescue her. Malek, take the sword and keep that thing away from her. Melchiah, summon your bretheren and have them come here.”


    “What are you playing at, Moebius?” Garactian demanded.


    “I believe that we have captured a person from another world, but she seems to be damaging ours,” Moebius explained, hoping that the truth would not impair him later. “If the vampires manage to take her, all is lost.”
     

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