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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Deep POV, 3rd person: POV alternates from 1st to 3rd

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GingerCoffee, May 28, 2016.

    As a writer, I notice when someone is switching POV from 1st to 3rd, and my first reaction is, that's an error. But as a reader, is it really bothersome? Once you ignore the fact it breaks a rule, it's not so intrusive.

    This article has a fairly thorough discussion of the convention. I've quoted a couple key points, but by all means if you are interested, read the whole article.
    Deep POV—What’s So Deep About It
    Because I'm not an expert in this, I've only recently learned about it, I'm not posting this here to debate whether it is OK or not OK to use it. I'm only posting this to discuss what it is. Feel free to say you don't like it, or you don't think it's a valid POV. I'm rather neutral but it looks like more than a few people do recognize it as a legit convention.

    How to write DEEP POV

    Deep POV (Point of View)

     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're still missing it. I've read and agree with the bits you quoted in your post, but don't agree with the conclusion you're trying to draw from those quotes.

    Deep third is written in, you guessed it, third. So the pronouns will be the third person pronouns.

    Deep third is NOT jumping between first and third whenever you feel like it. You show the POV character's thoughts and feelings without filters, yes. That's the DEEP part. But being deep third doesn't mean you suddenly switch to "I".

    As your quoted part mentions, if you start using the pronoun "I" in the thoughts, you should set it off somehow to show that it's not just a POV glitch.

    Maybe it would be helpful for you to think of two separate aspects of POV. One of them is the person - first, second, third. All this really determines is the pronouns. You can be deep or shallow in any of the persons.

    The other aspect is the part that seems to be confusing you - the narrative distance, or lack thereof. You can, in first, second, or third, be totally distant or totally close (deep, etc.)

    So, first person distant: I killed three men that day. Then I travelled to the next town on my list, Boston.
    First person deeper: I was becoming an animal, killing without remorse. Killing with joy sometimes, with a savagery that came from so far inside me I couldn't begin to find the source. I killed three men that day, watching the blood fall on the snow and finding a beautiful pattern in the stains.

    Second person distant: You killed three men that day. Then you travelled to the next town on your list, Boston.
    Second person deeper: You were becoming an animal, killing without remorse. etc. (you can see where this is going - you really only change the pronouns)

    Third person distant: She killed three men that day. Then she travelled to the next town on her list, Boston.
    Third person deeper: She was becoming an animal, killing without remorse. Killing with joy sometimes, with a savagery that came from so far inside her she couldn't begin to find the source. She killed three men that day, watching the blood fall on the snow and finding a beautiful pattern in the stains.


    Just because it's a deeper third person, just because you're sharing the POV character's thoughts, doesn't mean you switch pronouns. As your source points out, if your POV characters' thoughts are word for word and include personal pronouns, you probably want to set them off from the rest of your dialogue somehow. So:

    First person deeper: ...Come to me, my enemies, and I will create art with your entrails.
    Third person deeper: Come to me, my enemies, and I will create art with your entrails.

    Now, the "italics for thoughts" idea has been pretty clearly debated already on this board, but the main point is that in the thread that spawned this, there was no real indication that the section in first person was in any way meant to be the verbatim thoughts of the POV character. So that whole thing is pretty much a red herring.
     
  3. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since joining these forums and posting on the Workshop, I've gotten the idea that this is the POV some of our strongest critiquers favor, promote, and approve.

    Unless I misunderstood your question, @GingerCoffee?
     
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  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's practically ubiquitous in genre fiction these days. I mean, deep POV of some flavour, whether First or Third.

    ETA: At least in most genres. I don't read SciFi, so I'm not sure about it. I don't read mysteries. But most of the books I pick up are close POV.
     
  5. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Nope. There are equally many around who don't care for it at all :D But is the choice of the author and if one doesn't care for this style then just put the book back to the shelf

    But @BayView is right, here in this thread we are not discussing specifically this narrative distance but the combination of narrative distance as in 'deep' and switching narrative distance of two/several MC's at scene transitions.
     
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  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Same. I was very surprised that @GingerCoffee hadn't come across it before. Or maybe mine was just the deepest POV Ginger's read, so it stuck out?

    I'm not really sure what we're supposed to be discussing here. There's no controversy about deep POV and whether it's legitimate or not, so I think we're discussing whether it's okay to switch POV and, if we do, whether 1st person thoughts should be in italics?

    I agree with @BayView that the depth of POV is separate from switching POV. Deep POV doesn't require switching and is no more likely to include switching than any other POV. Ginger felt like I was switching from 3rd to 1st in my novel because it was a very deep 3rd, entirely in the character's 'voice'. Actually it was always in 3rd, with no use of "I" except in dialogue (not even any "I" thoughts, italics or otherwise). I think the 'person' should be consistent.
     
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  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So if it's not switching, what is it? Because it reads like first person narration, (separate from first person direct thoughts), mixed with 3rd person narration.
     
  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's all in 3rd. There's no switching.

    ETA: Here's an example of the kind of thing we're talking about (from my workshop post):

    That's all third, even though there are verbatim thoughts.

    I think you think that only 1st person can give you that depth of POV, but it isn't true. You can have a distant 1st as easily as a close 3rd, as Bay demonstrated above. All that the 'person' dictates is the pronouns, not the depth/distance of the narrative.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
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  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you give a sample of a section that's confusing you?

    Because, yes, close third does in many ways read like first person, in that it's very immediate and in the POV character's head. But the pronouns should still be third person pronouns. Do you have a sample of something where the pronouns switch?
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So you are essentially saying as long as you leave the pronoun, I, out of the sentence, even when it is clearly implied, that somehow means you didn't imply, I?
     
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  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    First person or third person really isn't about implications. It's about pronouns.
     
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  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well yes because in 3rd POV it implies "she" (or he, or name), not "I". This would be deep 1st person:

    Both versions are consistent in their 'person'; neither switches.
     
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  13. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Is 'close' third the same as deep third?

    Reading the okcupid example, it all seemed third to me. I think I am missing the point of the top post.
     
  14. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Pretty much.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    I get what you are saying, and I'm not doubting you are correct on this. I see where the sentence that started this was intrusion rather than deep 3rd person.

    But The Emperor's New Clothes comes to mind with some of this that my brain processes as bullshit. Again, not saying the writing is an issue, @Tenderiser knows I really enjoyed her novel.

    And yet it doesn't read as 'she' in some places (not many) in your novel. It reads as direct thought mixed with 1st person narration.

    Looking at this example, I don't have an issue:
    But when you throw in more personal thoughts in my made up changes, the way I read it, it appears to cross the line:
    Fifi’s hands shook. She glanced over Tom’s shoulder. The street was deserted. All of her neighbors had already gone out of town for Christmas, well except for John, he hated family events, sort of, but there was that time with the hot dogs on Mom's patio.
    Now it's Fifi contemplating John but not in direct thought and not quite in 3rd person narration.

    It's one thing that Fifi knows the neighbors are gone and even that she knows John didn't go. But once you start adding in more and more personal details, no matter you leave "I" out, combined with more general third person elsewhere, it reads like you are changing into 1st person.

    I appreciate the difference though, so thanks for the discussion. It is more clear to me now what deep 3rd person is, even though I don't think just leaving 'I' out is all one needs to do to call it 3rd person.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It did to me to, that's why I made up my own example.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't care for it when it reads too much like switching to 1st person. I think, why not just write in first person?

    Reading the blog discussions I get the part about getting rid of even more tags and filters. But then you have transitions back to 3rd that pull you out of the story because you get pulled out of the character's head.
     
  18. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Um.. to an extent you are right. I have even wondered about it myself.

    - I think it has to do with the narrative distance the reader is in for, for the whole storyline. If you are writing in third - even in close third - you CAN give the reader a bit of distance to the character. You only have to switch to a more distant way of writing third.
    - In contrast, when you are writing in first, that is not possible. You and the reader have no choice but to stay close to the character. I only can play with active/passive to get a bit of distance.

    Staying in close POV for a whole long story intense. So I value the possibility to play with narrative distance, to impart ie. shock or anger. It is not a question of what is 'better', but what tools you have at your hands. And of course, what feels right for this particular character :)

    And disclaimer: I am no expert and I am not a celebrity so I don't have a right to an opinion :D
     
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  19. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sure you have a right to an opinion. Not to your own facts, of course, but how cut and dried is all this, anyway?
     
  20. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe it is, but some newbies may not know it - and I am not saying the participants in this thread up till now are newbies ;)
     
  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bolding mine - I think maybe you should rewrite this as not quite in what I think of as 3rd person narration. Because, seriously, what is there about that line that suggests person at all? It could be part of a first person narrative, a second person, or a third person. I accept that there's something about the line as you've written it that's jarring, but I think you're mis-identifying the cause of the jar.

    I think possibly, based on this example and my reading of @Tenderiser's work, you're getting confused based on narrative voice. The casual style that is clearly in the voice of the narrator twigs to you as a hallmark of first person, and I agree, it often is. But there are lots of books being written in third person with a narrative voice based on the POV character. And often in deep third, the voice will shift around a little, more formal for some portions, then sliding into character voice for other portions. In the example you've made up, it's not so much a slide as a jump, and I think that's why it doesn't read well.

    So, fair enough if you don't like that kind of sliding. And, yes, it's often seen in deep third POV. But it's not the "third person" part that I think you should be focusing on. Deep third POV is still third person.
     
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  22. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree. It's the ability to slide from one depth to another that makes writing in third useful. Some authors can slide all the way from 'omniscient' into 'deep' in just a few sentences, no jarring or disruption. I tend to play around at the deeper levels (as I think @Tenderiser does), sliding from really deep (using the character's own voice as the narrative voice) to just close (sticking to one character, but with a bit of distance in terms of voice). But there's a story I want to tell that will require a slide to omniscient, and I'm building up my courage to give it a try!
     
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  23. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well it's subjective, in that a novel can "read like" anything to one person and they can't be incorrect, but there is no first person anything in my novel! The only characteristic of first person narration is the use of "I", "me" and "we" instead of "she" and "they", and there's none of that in my narration.

    So far, fifteen people have read that novel (I've been very blessed with betas) and you're the only one who thought it was a mixed POV. Not to mention all the people who read my first novel, including agents, which was also in a deep 3rd POV.

    First, second or third has absolutely no bearing on the closeness of the narrative or how voice-y it is. I think this is the part you keep missing. I think you must have somehow only read fairly distant 3rd novels, and deep 1st novels, and so mine was a surprise to you--so again, you're not wrong, in that it might have read oddly to you, but there is really no POV switching and my POV style really isn't rare or "new fangled".

    I do feel a bit defensive here, even though I do know you enjoyed the novel, because to me switching POV unintentionally is a rookie mistake, and I know I haven't committed it.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
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  24. Lost72
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    I don't fully understand where gingercoffee is confused, but I do know that tenderiser is using something called free indirect style, and it certainly isn't new-fangled. It's been around for years.
    Emma Darwin's blog is a good resource.
    Just as an aside, I agree with the couple of other people who say that tenderiser's excerpt doesn't read in particularly deep pov. But that isn't a bad thing.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    As long as you do the same, not quite in what I think of as 1st person narration.

    Yes it's my opinion.
     

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