1. angeleaf
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    angeleaf New Member

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    One MC or 4?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by angeleaf, Nov 15, 2013.

    Hi everyone,

    Apologies if this kind of thing has been done to death, I had a look but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for to answer my query.

    I have started writing my third novel in first person (this is my go-to POV.) My MC has a group of four close friends, and as the story has progressed, I've found myself unknowingly shifting between first and third person when starting new chapters in different documents. (I do a lot of my writing on the go and don't always have access to my master copy.) This, in conjunction with wanting to explore the other characters lives further, has lead me to think that maybe I should do a rewrite in third person omniscient, therefore opening myself up to be able to explore and develop the lives of the other characters, as they have really captured me and I've surprised myself as to how well they have developed throughout the process thus far.

    I'm unsure what to do, as I've written over 70,000 words and as you can imagine it will take me a fair amount of time to go back through and change it all into third person.

    If anyone else has gone through a similar thing, or if you want more info before offering an opinion on this, please let me know.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you :)
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Really, I think it will be difficult for folks to answer except in the broadest terms based on the information presented (realizing you've offered to provide more).

    It think the best thing for you to do is to sit back and determine what will be the most effective method to relay the story to the reader? One 1st person POV character, four 3rd person omniscient POV, or even four 3rd person limited POV. If you're comfortable writing the story in either of those manners, then go for what's best from a potential reader's perspective.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that there's not really enough information to answer, but I'm going to answer anyway, just based on my preference. :) I would suggest third person limited, shifting between POV characters. I dislike omniscient POV, and I dislike it even more when it's evenly distributed across characters. (For example, Hitchiker's Guide was omniscient, but the omniscient narrator was almost always focused on Arthur Dent.)
     
  4. L.T.
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    L.T. Member

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    I agree with switching to third person if you wish to delve deeper into the other characters. I had to do this with seventy written pages myself (switching from first person to third person), so understand the reluctance in doing so. If you think it would make your story better from a third person perspective, put in the hard work. It will be well worth it.
     
  5. Backbiter
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    Backbiter Contributing Member

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    One way to organized the point of view shifting between multiple characters of importance can be found in the Bartimaeus series of novels by Jonathan Shroud. Shroud shifts between the majority of the story being told by Bartimaeus in first person and some chapters focusing on other main characters and their endeavors (often interacting directly with Bartimaeus, even retelling a scene from their point of view instead of Bartimaeus narrating it), told in third person.

    I suppose this is a bit of me rambling, but I guess my point is that you can keep the majority of the story in first person and still hop over to third person when it's convenient to help explain certain things or delve deeper into another character.

    Hopefully this helped at least a little bit, good luck!
     
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  6. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Can you handle keeping up with 4 MC's? If your primary goal is to explore the lives of other characters more, then it is still possible to do that through interactions between your current main character and the other characters. The problem with shifting between POVs and verb tense are things that many new writers have trouble with, at least that I have seen, but it can easily be fixed by paying attention to what you are writing. It is easy to get lost in the flow when the words are just coming, but slowing it down just a bit helps in the long run.

    Alternatively, you do not HAVE to stick to just your current character. It is possible to "jump heads" if you properly set it up and make it clear that the POV has changed.
     
  7. Aurin
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    Aurin Member

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    If you want to write it from multiple MC POVs then I would change it all to third person. I think that even if you make it that you jump heads between the MCs, it may still be confusing swapping between POVs in first person.

    If you do change to third person, you could go omniscient POV or limited POV. Personally I prefer limited POV as you can get inside the heads of each character more. My novel has four MCs and all in third person limited POV, but at the beginning of each chapter I have the character's name rather than the chapter number, so the reader knows whose head we're inside.
     
  8. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @TWErvin2 that whatever the author can get to work best from a reader's perspective is what should be used.

    If it is done in a good way switching between MCs in first person should not be a problem. In Emily Diamand's books Flood Child and Flood and Fire she switches between two MCs without any causing any inconvenience for the reader.
    The books utilise something like your beginning each chapter with the character's name, namely that the background for the chapter header is either a cat or crossed knifes, but I personally don't find this detail necessary (and didn't even realise its function until the second time I read the books).
    (Note: As I said this was about 2 MCs and not 4, which might make things a bit more complicated.)


    Also, if done correctly (I'm not an expert in this at all) it is possible to give out just as much detail about other characters through a single first person narrator as it is from a third person perspective. You just need to keep in mind that all impressions will be the narrator's interpretation and thus not necessarily the truth.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Considering the fact that you're not sure about this, why not do a tester?

    Take one of the chapters you've already written in 1st person and change it to 3rd limited. (First person is already limited, so this will be easier than transferring to the omniscient POV.) See how it works out. If you like how it sounds, then go ahead and write the rest that POV mode.

    Don't be reluctant to change what you've already written. Unless you're extraordinarily talented, you'll need to heavily edit the thing once it's finished anyway, so this is a chance to do a bit of preliminary pruning and shaping as well as making this change.
     
  10. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tip: If you're just changing the third-person-limited with every chapter or so, instead of the first-person, then just including the character's name in their first sentence should do well enough for context, but if you're changing the first-person-limited every so often, then I'd recommend putting the narrator's name as a header over the actual writing.
     
  11. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    I really like the idea of the chapters having the name of the character whose pov it is. I was thinking along the same lines but I am still working on it.
     
  12. hvb
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    hvb Member

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    About changing what you've written, apart from the "kill you darlings", I found as a visual artist that, when I was a young artist, I would be reluctant to fix things, reasoning, it was a lot of work and no one would notice and really, I was a bit too lazy. When the piece was finished, every time I looked at it, I would think " well, I should have changed that" and I learned to keep working till I am totally happy with my art and can't find any other way to improve on it. That has worked well for my visual art and I am sure will work equally well with my writing.
    That doesn't mean I always thought it was perfect, but it was the best I could make it.
     
  13. angeleaf
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    angeleaf New Member

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    Thank you all so much for your responses. It seems like the vast majority of you prefer 3rd person limited, so I shall take jannert's advice and rewrite my first chapter and see how it goes!
     
  14. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    You can open the lives of the other charaters in 1st person by interacting and reacting to the MC. As if they have varying degrees of importance you could waste time and words. plus if they are equally as important what makes the MC the MC.
     
  15. maidahla
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    maidahla Active Member

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    I think it's all about what you're used to. If you're used to 1. pov, you might like it that way. I love trying my hand at third person but it sounds phony... Like you're trying to be omniscient , limited or otherwise. That's just how I write. I've heard from fellow writers that first person is challenging because they read third person more... I think if you need help choosing, don't waste your time trying your hand at both and then burning out from writer's cramp. Sometimes first person suits your mc's personality. Bear in mind that after the final edit, it's gonna look a whole lot different; you might just want to scrap your initial pov because it seems awkward or something. That's what happens to me.
    I think books that switch back and forth from first to third are really awkward and their characters tend to be shallow. It's kinda hopeless because you're either writing a full book or you're not. You're either writing a bunch of sketches with zero personality or staying consistent with speaking for many povs. It's weird and kind of cool if you want to do first person with many mc's. It's probably not going to be an asset for your story.
     

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