1. jintoku
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    jintoku New Member

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    Narrator's I, in Third Person Limited POV

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by jintoku, May 30, 2016.

    So I have two aspects of my POV development that I am in doubt of. It is ultimately crucial that I use the third person POV throughout my writings as the perspective and little details of all my characters are important to the story line and I do not want to stick with the perspective of one main character. However,

    1) Limited Third Person POV: Is it necessary to indicate a change in POV with an end of a chapter or something. For example, one of my other crucial character get separated from the main character. When the narrator is describing the actions, perspective and emotions of the main character, is it reasonable to jump to the other character's perspective with a "meanwhile" or something. Is that switching to omniscient POV all of a sudden?

    2) Narrator's I: I understand that using an "I" outside of dialogue in a third person can be tricky. However, is it reasonable to convey the emotions and cynicism of the narrator with an I, even though, the narrator is not a character in the plot.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    1 - It's usually considered a good idea to show changes in POV with SOME clear boundary - a scene change, a new chapter, or whatever. If you're changing geographic locations and characters as well, as it sounds like you are, this will probably happen naturally as you establish the new scene. You certainly wouldn't hope from one group of characters in one place right into another group in another place without a line or two to establish that you've moved, right? So that should be enough to establish the new POV as well. I'd personally prefer a scene break (a few extra lines or a specialized symbol in a printed book, but possibly just a # or ### in your MS), but I expect there are authors who wouldn't.

    2 - If you've established a consistent, distinctive external narrator, I think "I" would make sense. The story is being told in third person, but there are passages of it in which the narrator takes over. I've read it done, although I can't think of an example right now - seems like maybe it would be more in older works, classics? But I can't actually guarantee which of them would have used "I" rather than just having passages with a clear narrative voice. Tom Jones, maybe? Was there a Poe work where there was a collection of murderers or something, telling stories of their best accomplishments?... so the "I" portion was like a framework for the other stories?

    I wouldn't be comfortable with it if it were just blended into the narrative, though - I'd want it set off somehow. Like, I'd be fine with:

    Gather round, children, and I'll tell you a tale. A tale with monsters, and princes and battles. A tale my mother told me when I was your age, and a tale I hope you'll tell your own children. A tale that starts, as many do, with a brave but innocent child.

    And this child, named Betty, wasn't only brave--she was strong, too. A strong body--stronger than any of the girls in her town, and a good number of the boys--and a strong mind, running through all the lessons taught in the little school house before she was old enough to reach the top of the teacher's lectern.

    But Betty had flaws. One of them was pride. Understandable, but still--dangerous.

    One bright spring morning, she was wrestling a sheep into line for shearing when a shadow fell over her and she looked up to see a man on a horse. The silhouette of a man, at least, tall and dark and carrying something that looked like a spear. For the first time in far too long, fear stirred in her belly, and she didn't like it. Her irritation made her bold. Bolder than she should have been.
    Whoops. Got a little carried away there--I wonder what Betty's going to get up to?!?

    Anyway, I'd be fine with something like that, where the "I" portion is set off. I'm not sure there'd be a point to it--I'm not a big fan of framing devices that don't serve a purpose. But if there's a point to it, I think it'd be good.
     
  3. jintoku
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    jintoku New Member

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    Thank you for the explanation. Appreciate it. I am mostly interested in dystopian literature, am trying to implement a structure where the narrator (likely an omniscient higher being) voices on the evil/pettiness/ignorance of its inhabitants. Sample sentence would: "The rules of paradise were never nice. I knew it, because I composed it, and to Alan I cautioned. But, the nebula that is his mind, and the naivity of youth, he stumbled to the deepest abyss. I warned, but I failed and thus the boy woke up in despair and terror [switch to third person POV]. Maybe I'll even transition the narrator to a character later.
     

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