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have you read novels with multiple points of view? If so, what was your take on it?

  1. Have not read any

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  2. Yes; loved it

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  3. Yes; didn't care for it

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  4. Yes; it made the story confusing or hard to follow

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  1. jessilynnc
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    jessilynnc New Member

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    POV limbo

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jessilynnc, Jun 19, 2015.

    Okay, I recently asked for some advice on where to start off in a novel. now I'm in POV hell. I have written my first chapter in both first person and in third. My problem is that different chapters go better in different points of view. This is my question:

    The first few chapters center around the main character before she is actually born. Is it still appropriate to tell the story from her point of view? And if not, how might I handle the fact that third person is so impersonal when it's important to the story for the later chapters to be in first?
     
  2. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Does she die? If so, you could write it from her POV as an omniscient narrator. Or you could write it from stories she's heard.

    I've read books in multiple POV's, but they're usually divided into parts, which makes it nice and clear.
     
  3. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    That would be tricky, but I suppose it could be done. How do you 'center' around a non-existent character?
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If the story starts before the character is born, is she a conscious unborn being, or is someone telling us about her parents or something else?

    If you are telling us about the things that led up to her birth either she's a conscious unborn entity or she is telling us something in past tense. Past tense can still be first person, but the person cannot head hop.

    These details are needed first before advice can be offered.
     
  5. jessilynnc
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    jessilynnc New Member

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    no-name: no, she lives.. so are you suggesting that I maybe do like 'Part one' where those first few chapters are done in third, and a 'Part 2' where it's in her POV?
    Stacy: that is exactly my problem. I was rereading the first chapter thinking to myself- can I really put her opinion of a situation she wasn't alive for at the time? Because the way I have it, it's all current, and yet not. ugh can't even explain it. Have you ever looked at one of those old historical photos where it's like 'such and such HAPPENED in the early nineteen hundreds' and then there's a smaller section of that same photo blown up and it was like 'oh look, that guy IS doing so and so'
     
  6. jessilynnc
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    jessilynnc New Member

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    GingerCoffee: currently I have it where she is telling the story of her parents as though she were there and it gradually flows from that past to her current life
     
  7. Stacy C
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    Stacy C Banned

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    Um, no. So the first chapter is flashback from the MC's point of view looking back? If not, it seems she couldn't know enough to comment and I'd guess you should abandon that part and write the whole thing in first person. Full disclosure: I'm a huge fan of first person.

    When you meet the forum requirements, you might post part of the first chapter and a little of the next, so we'll know exactly what you're talking about.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think I've ever seen this in a published work - not within the same chapter. I've seen novels written in both 1st and 3rd person (Hemingway's To Have and Have Not), multiple 1st person POVs (Michener's The Novel) and multiple 3rd person POVs (Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels). Multiple 3rd POVs can be done with different POVs in the same chapter. But when you have a mix of 1st and 3rd or multiple 1sts, my experience is that you need a new chapter to introduce each 1st person POV, because each one has to be markedly different from the others.

    Unless there is some kind of mystical aspect to the work that would explain the kind of thing that @GingerCoffee mentioned, I would say no. But I think your problem might be in the belief that 3rd person is "so impersonal". 3rd person limited can accomplish pretty much anything that 1st person can.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. jessilynnc
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    jessilynnc New Member

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    hi again Ed, I meant that I wrote two versions of the first chapter; one in first and one in third. I was trying to see how each one felt as I read it.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    Then she'd be telling it in first person past tense, unless she head hops into her parent's minds. If you show any direct thoughts of the parents, you need third person. But if the character stayed out of her parent's heads it would be fine. You would then be switching to first person present tense. That makes it tense you are changing not POV.

    If you go from third person to first person it might be more tricky. I think I'd stay in third person if you started that way, like @EdFromNY suggests, third person limited.

    You could switch from past tense to present tense. Do it with a chapter change and make it clear the story telling about the parents is over and the present starts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
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  11. EdFromNY
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    Sorry, my mistake.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    Or another option, go with first person, either one of the parents, telling the earlier part of the story. Then switch to first person main character.

    You can use first person POV for more than one characters in a book. It's better if you keep them separate by different chapters, but third person omniscient does a similar thing.

    Explained here
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your poll needs "Yes; I can tolerate it" or "Yes; it made no difference." I've read some, they were OK, but I wouldn't say "I loved it" in the sense that I actually loved that aspect of the work.
     
    Aaron DC and jessilynnc like this.

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