1. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Point of View

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MarchOfMephisto, Dec 11, 2008.

    I'm sorry if this is in the wrong area.

    I don't know what/whose point of view to write from.
    I have my main character, but I want him to be mysterious and I don't know how to do that when I'm doing it from his point of view.

    Can anybody give me some tips?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, this is a well trod area in the forum, 1st vs 3rd person POV.

    Many restrictions with 1st person. You can only talk about the things this one person knows.

    3rd person is easier, allows you to speak from many different points of knowledge (if you choose 3rd omniscient)
     
  3. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I would say third person..it allows you more freedom to work also...plus you can show everyone's thoughts more specifically too...
     
  4. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    It's easy to make a character mysterious even when writing from their persepective. Just don't bring it up. Maybe you're character doesn't think about his various secrets because he doesn't want to. You can write from the villains pov without even revealing his master plan if you like! If you don't want something in there don't write it.

    of course I think this works best with 3rd person pov, as 1st person I find I tend to get more thought intensive and introverted with my chosen character.
     
  5. El902
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    El902 Member

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    I've never been able to get a handle on 1st person. I either get too into their heads and stray away from the scene, or the exact opposite. It's pretty difficult to balance, but if you have a good grip on it, you could try.

    Maybe you should write out a few scenes using each POV, and then see which one best portrays what you're going for. Also consider which one felt more natural and easy. If you force a talent on yourself that you don't have, you'll most likely be mulling through the book and eventually end up not enjoying it.

    El
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would recommend that anyone who is still testing the waters in their writing stick to third person.

    With respect to your original question, maybe this blog entry will be helpful: What's Your Point (of View)?
     
  7. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that third person is probably what you should go for. The fact that you're asking this question shows that you're probably not completely comfortable with choosing a POV. If that's the case, go with 3rd, as it allows you more freedom. (i.e. you can shift to another character's POV if you don't like the one you've been writing in.)

    As someone who often writes in 1st person, I can tell you that the "mysterious" thing isn't hard to pull off either way. As Lord of Hats said, the readers only know what you (a.k.a the narrator) tell them. Even if you're in the head of this mysterious MC, he can still keep his past a secret. When in doubt, throw in a few supporting characters who ask about his past and get nil. That usually puts it in perspective.
     
  8. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I read a book in which it was written in first person and in past tense from "A much older and wiser [main character] telling his story". It worked out well.

    Does that make any sense?
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No one here is suggesting that third person is the only workable point of view. However, it is the most natural form of naration, and the easiest to do well because of the flexibility AnonyMouse mentioned.

    Your first person, several years removed, is almost a hybrid of first and third. The POV character observes himself from the outside, as a different person, irrespective of the grammatical voice.

    Make sure you distinguish between grammatical voice and narrative voice. Narrative voice is the POV from which the story is told. That does not, however mean that every sentence will be written in that grammatical voice. A character written from a third person past tense POV (and that past tense may be a matter of minutes or even fractions of a second) can discuss what he will do tomorrow, compare the situation with something his grandfather told him about, and think literal thoughts (in first person present tense) about the idiot who coninually yammers at him. The individual sentences, therefore will vary in person and tense, even as the narrative voice remains firmly nailed to moments in the future and centimeters distance from the MC.
     
  10. mobious109
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    mobious109 Member

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    If your not sure about first person then don't do it. Third person is a fairly easy way to hide info without having huge holes in the story. Just be careful not to turn it into a stage direction sheet with little to no insight in the characters thoughts which is where I assume you are trying to be and at the same time not be.
     
  11. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    It depends on what type of third person. In limited third person you only have one POV character. In multiple third person you use more than one POV character, but you only write on at a time per scene or chapter. Omnipresent is the only option that lets you jump around characters head on the fly and is the most difficult (and distances the reader most) to write.



    I don't see how choosing any version of third person verse first person will help him keep his POV more mysterious. If you withhold information from the reader about the POV, and the POV character knew this all along and then you spring it on them at the end, that is cheating them. They will know it too.

    March
    Perhaps you can use the method of unreliable character? Or you might want to consider telling the story from another POV if you want this character. Can I ask you what you mean by mysterious?
     
  12. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Nobody knows about his past - they've heard rumours and have based their opinion of him on these rumours. Whenever he is asked a question he never answers. I don't want the characters to find out all about him at once, he is very distant and doesn't get close to anyone therefore nobody knows anything about him.

    Thank you for all your help everyone :)
     
  13. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    In that case just tell the readers he is secretive about his past. If it is in first person have him tell us why he secret about his past.
     
  14. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Ok, thank you :)
     

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