1. AltonReed
    Offline

    AltonReed Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Greater London

    Different view points?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AltonReed, Apr 23, 2011.

    In my story, the first couple of chapters are seen from the MC's pov, but when we meet his friend we see it from hers.

    Basicaly, one paragraph is from his view, seeing all his opinions and thoughts and then suddenly we see it from hers.

    Is that too drastic a change?
     
  2. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    It's hard to judge without seeing it, but I'd have to lean towards yes. I'm not a fan of perspective hopping, and from one paragraph to the next (presumably without even a chapter or section break?) seems very sudden. The problem really is the reader getting confused by the jump.

    Is the story first or third person?
     
  3. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    You could get away with it if it wasn't from one paragraph to the other - just have a chapter/scene change when you want to make the switch. Maybe even re-tell the last 5 minutes of events from her point of view to give a greater sense of the change, since seeing the same thing from different eyes is a sure way to let the reader know it's someone new.
     
  4. AltonReed
    Offline

    AltonReed Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Greater London
    It's third person.

    This is pretty much how it's changed to a different view point.

    'What do you know?' He asked urgently. He knew that the saftey of his family could depend on it.

    Lisa didn't know much at all, just the confusing conversation she heard in the bar.

    So the rest of the story follows Lisa, but before hand we saw it from 'his' view.
     
  5. dnsralg
    Offline

    dnsralg Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    New York
    I would continue writing and once some time passes, you can look at it with fresh eyes. You may even think of something you can use in its place!
     
  6. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Judging from this clip, I'd say it looks awkward to me. It's not clear whether the POV has actually changed. For example, you could flesh out Lisa's sentence so that it reads something like: "Lisa didn't know much at all, judging by what she told him about the confusing conversation in the bar." Then the reader would know it was his judgment that Lisa didn't know much, rather than a statement of absolute fact.

    I would actually prefer it this way, because then the reader is still left wondering what Lisa actually knows. It's an extra bit of tension. You can also accomplish the same thing with dialogue:

    'What do you know?' He asked urgently. He knew that the safety of his family could depend on it.

    'I only know what I heard in the bar,' she replied. 'I'm not even sure what they were talking about. Sorry.'

    You can also make it so that Lisa didn't get all the conversation - the band was too loud, she'd had too much to drink, some guy was hitting on her and wouldn't go away - or that she is afraid to get too involved, Anything that would make the reader question whether she's really told him all she knows. That way, the reader really wants to know what the story is. As written, not only is the POV change awkward, the tension is released too soon.
     
  7. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I do quite a bit of POV hopping in one of my stories, written in first person. It works *for me* but I don't know if it's going to work for others. It's only between two characters, a male and a female, and I think I make it quite clear whose thoughts you're "hearing", but I could be completely wrong on that.

    I'll be going back to it when I'm done and if it needs a rewrite I'll do one. Hopping in third seems more awkward to me, personally.
     
  8. dnsralg
    Offline

    dnsralg Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    New York
    I think op is planning on following "Lisa," not the male.
     
  9. Annûniel
    Offline

    Annûniel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Ye Old Dominion, USA
    Changing POVs within a scene is very tricky. I think more people attempt it than they should, but that is just me. I for one would not recommend that you do this, although you can give it a shot and show it to someone else to see what they think. If you want to use more than one POV, then switch them at chapter or scene breaks. If you can tell the scene exclusively from one POV (even if more than one of your 'POVers' is there), then maybe you're ready to try to start switching them.
     
  10. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    It seemed to me that the idea was to follow first one POV and then the other. And that's fine. All I'm saying is that it works better if you leave a little tension with the male character before making the switch.

    A great novel that thrives on multiple POVs is E.M. Forster's "A Passage to India". It takes three major viewpoints - English, Hindu and Islamic - and shows each one's attitudes and misconceptions regarding the others. But to make it work, it is important that the reader have no confusion as to which POV is speaking at the time.
     
  11. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,684
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I can see that working quite well. I find that when I write in the first person, I try to think everything about the story within the POV of the MC. So, it would be a challenge to do that switching POVs. But I can also see that being very rewarding and great fun as well.

    I'm curious - how do you feel writing in 1st person from the POV of the male character? How do you get into the mindset?

    Taylor Caldwell once wrote "Dialogues With The Devil", which begins with a letter from Satan to God and becomes a series of letters between Satan and Michael the Archangel. POV switches in the extreme.

    In another post nearby, I mentioned "A Passage to India". I think Forster did it as well as anyone possibly could and it's not awkward at all. Tom Clancy also does it in a number of his novels (a little too much for my taste, actually, but it works).
     
  12. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I've done a first person POV hopping story as well - have one half from one partner and the other from the other. Have written an epilogue/final chapter in third person, trying to turn it into just dialogue so it doesn't matter.

    To OP think priority is you make it not confusing and it is clear who the POV is - the issue with POV is when it is confusing for the reader.
     
  13. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I made several posts about this in this thread

    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=40546

    I'm just too lazy to retype it all, lol. I hope you understand. I think my responses start on page 3?

    I'll have to look into that.


    I am doing it in third, in my other book, but because the switch is female-female and it is in third, I personally think it gets much more muddled and messy to try to do it on the fly without chapter breaks this way. It would be a confusing mess, I think.
     
  14. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,098
    Likes Received:
    5,311
    Location:
    California, US
    The only thing that matters is whether you do it well or not. If you do, then you can feel free to jump perspective all you want. I've read plenty of good books that change POV during a new paragraph, with no break in the text.
     
  15. tcol4417
    Offline

    tcol4417 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Sydney, AU
    Plenty of books change viewpoints as a short "aside" kind of thing.

    It happens in the first (maybe second?) chapter of Northern Lights (Philip Pullman), several of Terry Pratchett's books as well as Emily Rodda's Rowan series, Tad William's Otherland Quartet, George R R Martin's entire franchise and others.

    It doesn't have to happen often, as long as you make it clear that the shift in perspective is a minor bit of info for the reader and maintain that the MC has no clue.
     
  16. AltonReed
    Offline

    AltonReed Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Greater London
    Okay, I did think it was a bit jarring. I'm not pleased atall with my first draft, I'm considering starting again, need to set the scene more. What I'll do is tell it from Lisa's POV entirely starting off in the Bar and The Male Character will explain what would have been in the story originally as the story goes on.

    Going to require a big rewrite, but that is to be expected if I want to write a proper story. Thanks for all you're opinions!
     

Share This Page