1. TFlanagan
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    TFlanagan New Member

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    POV question

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TFlanagan, Nov 21, 2010.

    Hi, I'm attempting to write my first major work and had a question about choosing my POV.

    Is it possible to switch back and forth from a 1st person view to a 3rd person limited. I basically want to be in 1st person with the main character, a man searching for his son and be in 3rd person with the son. Can this work or would it get overly confusing?

    I'm getting back into writing after not having written much creatively since college, so needless to say, I am rusty. Any help is appreciated.
     
  2. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    Yes, it can work. Ellen Kushner did this in her book The Privilege of the Sword. Just make sure you have a physical break when you switch POV.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Of course it is possible. But it may not be a good idea. I'd say that if you have to ask, you shouldn't do it. Get more comfortable with both POVs separately, until you know you can make the transition without it slapping the reader upside his or her head.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It could work why not try it. If it doesn't you can always change it.
     
  5. rpgnerdette
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    rpgnerdette New Member

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    It could work, just be careful how you separate the two different parts.
    Ideas:
    Have a break in the novel, each switch begins a new chapter.
    Have a change in writing, when with the father it is educated, understandable, when with the child, make it seem like it is coming from the childs mind/thoughts.
    Some cheesier novels will use words like meanwhile, elsewhere, and on the other side of town, to indicate a movement from one character or plot to another.


    Whatever you choose to do, try reading it to yourself in your head... imagine yourself reading this novel as if it were written by someone else, what do you like about it, what do you want to change.
    What do you like about other point of view changes in novels? What makes you enjoy reading them?
     
  6. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree. To me it doesn't sound like a good idea but if nobody ever took any risks, nothing fun would ever get done.
     
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  7. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Perhaps make it the father telling the story in the future, thus he uses third person when talking about his son.
     
  8. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    Of course it can be done, you just have to make sure that there are clear switches between the two. I know in My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, each chapter is a different character's point of view and she says their name there after the chapter number, so that's always a way of going about it. But I would definitely say start switching POVs at the beginning of a new chapter and not during them because if you're not sure how to go about doing it, then it would probably turn out confusing for your reader.
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It can be done, but the way you describe it sounds like it could get very muddled. I've used first person in the first chapter and then switched to third person the rest of the way. The first chapter served as something of a personal statement by one of the characters, who was looking back over his life with some serious regrets and trying to make amends, but I also wanted to describe the other main character in detail, and her history. I think it worked well. But I would never have switched multiple times.
     
  10. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    ^This. Get to know how one point of view works, then work with the other. Then, try melding them together. If you don’t know how to work with one, then it may seem too choppy and may even discourage you from trying it again! Plenty of practice.

    Also remember that POV, along with their potential shifts, can cause subtle changes in tone and pacing, as well as a few other areas that I may have forgotten; be careful to keep a weather eye on these other aspects.
     
  11. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    Yes, sounds great as long as you do not change from first person into third with the same character.
     

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