1. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between

    POV question, 3rd person AND 1st person

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lifeline, Feb 10, 2016.

    I am asking the community now because I am stumped.

    I had originally planned for my next story to use close 3rd person. As I do in my current one. But .. I just had to start writing the first scene of this new one (my character was insistent), and I found myself writing 'me'. 1st person.

    But I have not only this one POV, the others are also important! So my question is, can I mix 3rd person close (for the others) and 1st person (for this one)?? Would the reader understand? Or is that too confusing?

    So far I have planned 4 POV's, all more or less equally important. My two MC's are among them. And one of them insists just now to speak in 1st person. I would not consider writing for all of them in 1st person, that would certainly be 'a little' too confusing ;)

    So, any advice? I am about 100 words into the first scene just now. Thanks a lot in advance!
     
  2. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Yes, you can mix first person and third person. Will the reader understand or will it be too confusing? It depends on your skill at accomplishing the task.

    As for a 'character insisting'? You're the author. You're the character's creator and voice. If you believe the story will best be relayed to the reader via first person, with a mixture of thirds...why not try it. If it's not the best way to relay the story to the reader, stick with third person POV.

    See if you can find some examples of multiple POVs with first person and third that have been published. It might give you insight in to how to best accomplish the task. Study how those authors managed it, then apply what you learned to your own story and writing style.

    Kevin Hearn, in several of his Iron Druid Chronicles books, uses two and three first person POV characters. In my opinion, it's not a smooth of a storyline when done that way, but that's my opinion. He's a best seller and really a great fantasy author.

    Whatever direction you decide, wishing you the greatest success.
     
    EdFromNY and Lifeline like this.
  3. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    Thank you for this tip, I will certainly check it out! I have never done it before, but writing certainly is a learning experience. I know that I could force another way to 'speak', but *shrug* as you said, why not just try it? If that is the way this particular voice wants to come out?

    I will see if I can make it work, and it is a comfort that others have done it before ;)
     
  4. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,936
    Likes Received:
    5,473
    I find myself wondering if your close third person is more "different" from first person than it really needs to be. Quite often, first person can be mechanically shifted to close third.

    Perhaps you could put this character into a situation that you won't actually put in the book, write a short scene, and put it in the Review Room to discuss how it could be converted to third without losing its voice?
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  5. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    I am not yet sure how it will work out. It is the very first time I've written 1st person, and I will write a few scenes, also from the other POV's to see how they mix. Or not. I am quite sure it will be easy to convert into 3rd person, at least from a technical standpoint.

    As of this moment I am 600 words into the first scene, about one half finished with it. I feel comfortable talking in this way, but it may not mix well with the others. I may take the offer and put something in the workroom, when I have a gut-feeling that it doesn't mix well and has to be converted, but first I want to try it out.
     
  6. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    How about:

    Character A in 1st person POV
    Character B in Close 3rd person
    Character C in Close 3rd person, present tense
    Character D...I've run out...
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  7. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    How about Character D is omnipresence 3rd person? :D
    I get your drift.
     
  8. kateamedeo
    Offline

    kateamedeo Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    Have you read Atwood's 'The Year of the Flood'? She's using third and first persons in the trilogy. It kind of helps the reader understand which character is speaking in each chapter. So, definitely, it's doable :) I think you should try writing that character's PoV in first person and see how that blends in with the rest of PoVs.
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  9. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    No, I have not. But I will now, thanks :)
     
  10. United
    Offline

    United Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2014
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    10
    Yes, of course you can mix point of views. But you have to be very good at it for the story to be a truly cohesive narrative. The most important part in this endeavor is transitioning from POV to POV; you must be clear to the reader you are switching POV (and simple page markings or chapter transitions isn't simply the answer). Your prose indicating your transitions will be key in writing a story like this.
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  11. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    I have so far written 10k.
    ch1-POV1, ch2-POV3close, ch3-POV1.

    ch3 is close to finish, when it is done I will give all to my Alpha to look over. Hopefully the switching POV's will be clear. Lets see.
     
  12. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    Sorry, have to drag up this thread again. @United, if you are around I would dearly like to thank you for pointing me in the right direction! I think I have finally come to grips with how to do this (took me only a month but oh well *sigh*), but I kind of found my own way out of the twisted dark with no guidance. I think I do good but so far it is only me with my own opinion. Would love to see how published novels deal with it.

    If you (or anyone else) have any tips on published books where this is done skillfully, not only switches between chapters and POV's, but also switches between POV's from scene to scene (in one chapter), I would dearly love to find out how others do this. So far blogs about this are non-existent or at least I cannot find them.

    I don't use chapter-headers (or worse, scene-headers) to say 'MC1 speaking, Out on the Road' or 'MC2 speaking, Eating Lunch', so please don't point out novels where this is needed.

    Thanks a bunch!

    Example:
    ch1sc1: MC1 (1st POV)
    ch1sc2: MC1 (1st POV)
    ch1sc3: MC3 (3rd POV)
    ch1sc4: MC1 (1st POV)

    ch2sc1: MC2 (3rd POV) and so on and so on..
     
  13. IHaveNoName
    Offline

    IHaveNoName Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    157
    The book I'm reading right now - The Bone Tree, by Greg Iles - does 1st person present tense interspersed with close third-person past tense. It's part of a loose series (i.e., same characters/setting, a cohesive timeline), and I think he does the same thing for all of them (Natchez Burning, the prequel, definitely did, but the book before that was five years ago, so it's hard to recall). He usually saves the POV changes for new chapters, but there are plenty of times when he settles for a simple line break to switch from one character (I) to another (he/she).
     
    Lifeline likes this.
  14. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    Thanks a bunch! Will check it out :)

    So. Did read the Prologue and chapter first as provided by Amazon preview. I am not familiar with the series and that is a good thing as it gives me a fresh viewpoint. I do not know the characters, nor the location, nor indeed anything else.

    One thing I can learn from the beginning of ch1 is the way POV1st speaks in prose. It just is beautiful in this beginning, and gives a very 'unreal' feeling as if you are truly sitting there and watching the flames. Shock is very well described.

    However, the transition between POV's is not at all clear to me. I don't know who 'Me' is, I don't know where I am (apart that a house is burning to the ground and that there is a bad guy around with whom I had some fight with previously. Which I lost.). The previous character speaking in Prologue 3rdPOV is clear, but then it is much easier to give location/happenings in 3rd POV. Maybe most of that could have been easily explained when making the prose a bit longer/including other thoughts as well.

    Chapter break:
    The author makes a very sharp transition between locations and voice speaking - which is a good start on getting the reader to accept another POV. Such a clear break in narration (spoken interaction between characters) versus introspective shock is a way to transit I will surely incorporate into my arsenal.

    5c ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  15. IHaveNoName
    Offline

    IHaveNoName Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    157
    You should really read Natchez Burning first. The Bone Tree picks up right after NB (and I mean right after), so it would be confusing if you don't know what's happened. I don't want to spoil it in case you're going to read it. :)
     
  16. Lifeline
    Offline

    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    1,392
    Likes Received:
    1,545
    Location:
    UK - the place betwixt and between
    Hi there,

    that is the whole point - NOT to have prior information. I am writing a new thing, and my readers will not know anything. And anyways, I don't believe in writing stuff that readers have to first read other stuff to understand it.
    This is research man! I am not reading for enjoyment, but to learn the craft of writing. How to do it effectively.

    Of course, who says that I shouldn't enjoy it if it so happens that I do? ;)
     

Share This Page