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  1. demented-tiger
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    demented-tiger Member

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    point of view

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by demented-tiger, Jul 7, 2010.

    I'm running into some major issues with a fantasy novel I am working on, and I was wondering if any of you could help me. I have two main characters: a boy and a girl. The boy was the original character I was working on, and his character is more developed. He considers himself a normal human boy who lives in a large city - like New York around 1910 - with his mother. He has at least two close friends: a neighbor girl living nearby who is quite an accomplished fighter and follows him about like a shadow, and another girl who possesses psionic powers and is like a surrogate elder sister. Over the course of the story, the boy learns he and his mother are descended from a great hero-king, and that his mother is actually the ruling queen and he is the crown prince and next in line for the throne. However, the power of the throne has been greatly reduced (or eliminated, depending on what I decide) no thanks to a democratic revolution. He also learns his neighbor girl is descended from a long line of warriors who have served as personal bodyguards, valets, and confidants to the Royal Family, and that she is his personal body guard.
    The second character, the girl, is more your typical peasant farm kid you'd find in any fantasy story, growing up in the country. She's less developed. She considers herself a normal girl with a normal family. Her closest friend is her elder brother. The girl later learns she was adopted after being found abandoned by an unknown parent.
    The problem is: I don't know from whose viewpoint I should tell my story from - the girl's or the boy's. Both are important characters. As the story progresses, they must meet up with each other. You see, there is an ancient (and cryptic) prophecy interpreted as saying only a member of the Royal Family can defeat the forces of evil, but that he will be targeted by the champion of the goddess of Evil and Darkness. Only one who has been chosen as the champion of the goddess of Good and Light can protect him.
    While the boy has a better background - two baddass girls (a fighter and a psion) at his back and being the presumed subject of the aforementioned prophecy - the girl has a better potential for an adventure. Her personality is perfect: brash and bold, yet hot tempered and impatient. The boy, on the other hand, while street-smart and courageous, is levelheaded and calm to the point of seeming timid (similar to Bilbo Baggins). I can't seem to justify him having any adventures without someone dragging him out his front door. He'd be more likely to use modern means to address his challenges such as the police or transportation networks. The girl, on the other hand, would jump at the chance to do things her own way, **** the modern world. As a peasant, the girl would also be more inclined to believe legends and prophecies, while the boy would be more skeptical and cautious due to his access to educated city folk (kind of like rural Southern Bible-thumpers and urban Northern agnostic intellectuals in the US in the early 1900s).
    To further complicate things, I want to introduce a third main character who will play an important role in the battle between good and evil. She is a swords-woman who personally knew the boy's hero-king ancestor. She was under a spell that sealed her away in for a thousand years. She also knows of the prophecy and believes she is the champion of the goddess of Good and Light. She's also a source of mild comic relief as she is released from her spell into a world whose values, geopolitics, and technology has vastly changed from her own time.
    Again, I don't know who should wake her. Currently, I'm planning to have the girl stumble upon the swords-woman's prison. In this way, she could learn about the prophecy and meet up with the boy. However, I would prefer to have the boy wake the swords-woman since she knows his ancestor and believes she is his protector. I could even have their personalities clash. However, I do not know not know how to get the boy to get to the swords-woman's prison in the first place.
    An alternative approach would be to blend the girl and the swords-woman into one character, but that still begs the question as to how to get the boy out from his comfortable city into the open countryside away from his modern comforts.
    Could you please help me?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Nope. Really can't. Your choice will determine what story you tell.

    There is no right answer that anyone else can give you. You, as the writer, have to decide what story you will write.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's too hard to read such tiny type... same goes for anything in a solid block like that... i'm sure you'll get more responses if you up the pt size and insert line spaces where indents have been lost in posting...
     
  4. Arvik
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    Arvik Member

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    Try it from both POVs, and see what works. As for how to get the boy from "his comfortable city," you need to think of a compelling reason for him to leave. What would he want so badly he'd be willing to leave his "creature comforts" to obtain it? Or maybe, what does he fear so much he'd be driven to flee it?

    The only way you can really answer either question is just to try. If it doesn't work, you haven't lost anything. Good luck!
     
  5. eiran
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    eiran New Member

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    You could always actually tell it from both POVs. That way the reader gets emotional intimacy with both of the main characters - like stay in one character's head for one or more chapters then switch when the story benefits from the other POV. It could work in either first or third person.
     
  6. demented-tiger
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    demented-tiger Member

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    I know having the point of view shifting from character to character would be the easist thing to do, but I wanted to avoid that in this story. For some reason, I just can't figure out a smooth way to transition between characters. I guess I could combine the swordswoman with the girl, but that still begs the question of how to get the boy out of his comfort zone.
     
  7. Peregrin
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    Peregrin Member

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    Have you considered simply writing two complete versions of the story from both points of view? Not only would you work out the kinks you're having, your characters might take off in new and unexpected ways. You might, for example, solve the problem with the male character by simply changing his personality. Like Cogito has said so many times it's your story.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I second the idea of using multiple POVs. Sounds like you're set against that, but it might be the best approach with what you're doing, with three characters you feel important enough to maybe be viewpoint characters.

    You don't really have to have much of a transition between characters - just switch at a chapter break ala George R. R. Martin.
     

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