1. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    Help me with Narrative Perspective?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ice Queen, Mar 3, 2011.

    Well, really my problem is that I'm at the moment going for the whole Omniscient narrator thing; and I have a question for you guys. I don't want to remain detatched form my characters, I want to be able to get inside their heads- and the point is that I have a few MCs; I want to be able to show each of their inner thoughts when they are in a scene together. Not all of them mind you, just enough so that you can get the different flavours of each character! Here's an example; a warm-up scene I did which isn't intended to actually be in the novel.

    I just want to know if you think that the style works or not; I've read somewhere that if you use too many points of view the flow can be disruptive and confusing. What do you think. Does it work? Not work? Why? D:

    SCENE:
    ~~~~~Swinging her legs over the edge of the arching glass bridge, Avery gazed down into the sparkling stream below her feet. The water was a deep azure, and the frantic little fish that swam there glittered like jewels. It was hard to believe that she was really in Zion, the most beautiful and prosperous city in the world, after dreaming about it all these years. The domes and steel arches of the city rose around her like a breathtaking palace- all gilded with the warm sunlight.
    “It’s beautiful” she breathed, closing her quicksilver eyes to the soft wind stroking her face. “If there is truly a Paradise on earth, it must be Zion”
    Her companion smiled down at her, his thick blonde hair shining as much as the glass bridge. Marten could tell that she genuinely believed what she was saying, and he felt a sudden fondness for her child-like innocence. Avery could be forgiven for thinking the City a Paradise, having grown up in the harsh desert to the South. He felt that she might think differently if she’d grown up in Zion as he had. The steel arches and glass domes to him were not gilded in honeyed childhood dreams- they were cold, sharp and grey. Indifferent buildings that rose arrogantly into the sky as if to mock nature; “We are still here” the buildings said. “We are still strong; you cannot beat us". ~~~~~
     
  2. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^No, actually this was really good, Ice Queen. Very good. If you want to learn some tricks to writing in Omniscient -- try to find some books. Guardians of Ga'Hoole were written in omniscient at times. Kathryn Lasky did a very good job keeping the POVs of all her characters separate but also in unision in scenes.

    Keep Writing :D
     
  3. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that's a good handling of omniscient narrator, serial POV. The danger with that approach is that it can be confusing whose the POV is, but you avoid that danger just fine, keeping it clear at all times.
     
  4. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, if you want to do an omniscient viewpoint with multiple characters, I'd make it so that each chapter was dedicated to one character's viewpoint so that it's less disruptive and confusing. You don't necessarily need inner thoughts to show their character.

    But read fiction with omniscient viewpoints so you get an idea of how writers do it.
     
  5. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was a good scene in that it kept me flowing to the next line with apt description. The issue that can quickly become burdensome to the reader is if you continue on single thought or object and expound it too much. I see a bit of this with the actual quotes of the steel structures or what the character may think they say. I think prior to this point you have adequately covered his feelings about them. Overall, very nice prose, and not too different from what I am trying for.
     
  6. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Just be very careful and aware. It can be done well.

    One trap is to have one character know what the other is thinking. If they can tell, pull back from the mind of the character and rely on outside clues.

    You don't need to be in both heads at once, or either head at times. Keep track of how often you shift between viewpoints.
     
  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Just wanted to remind you (because I think you already know it) that if you are going to switch viewpoints, establish that pattern with the first couple of pages. This will make the readers understand how things are set up, and will help them settle in. Remember, POV is like a contract with the readers about how they are going to see, hear, feel, and think in the story. They will feel cheated and distrust the writer if the writer (intentionally or unintentionally) let them think it's going to be a single viewpoint and then later start switching viewpoints
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    That can work if the narrative is 1st person and the viewpoint switches are at major breaks. Possibly in 3rd person too, but I can't think of any examples there.
     
  9. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys! I'm glad you guys don't think I'm doing anything drastically wrong. I find it usually quite easy to write in that 3rd person Omniscient style; but I don't like to limit myself to one character. In response to Manav's point though- Yeah, I've written the first draft of the 1st chapter in the sort of style I used for that little scene, and I intend on keeping it up whenever the characters are together. There's only 3 characters whose internal thoughts I intend to show, so apart from when such characters are alone and doing significant story scenes by themselves it will be like so.

    Only thing I'm much worried about at this stage is when all 3 characters are together, it might be a little more difficult then XD
     
  10. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^ How so? Just a bit difficult to keep them straight you mean? I think you could def pull it off, especially with your sample above. That was good.

    Just really work on your characters. Find out who they are. This will help you create distinct POVs while writing in omniscient.

    If you need help with defining your characters more -- go to the Character Development Clinic member, Mallory, created. It's a good place to sort your characteristic details out.
     

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