1. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    POV/word preciseness

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Poziga, Dec 10, 2014.

    Hello. :)

    Currently I am a third person narrator, writing through POV of a 9-year old. Something like Rowling did with Harry Potter.
    Since I am writing through his POV I was just wondering if I can use in narration words that this 9-year old clearly doesn't know.

    Example: he hits in his wrist, can I use the specific name of the bone it hurts, of which it is of course clear that he doesn't know the name. The pain in Os Pisiforme, one of the wrist bones was...

    I know that if I wrote as a first person narrator, I should write the way he thinks, meaning I could use the words he knew. But since I am a thrid person narrator, I can tell the story in my words, I just show his thinking process right?

    Thanks for your help. :)
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends how 'close' your third person narration is. Omniscient 3rd is really flexible, allowing the narrator to know and explain everything about everybody. More common these days is close third, and since you mention writing through a certain character's POV, it sounds like you're writing in close third. In which case you shouldn't mention anything the character couldn't know, including the name of a bone.
     
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  3. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I am actually quite close, because the story is a psychological thriller, where this boy is being manipulated so I need to show the way he thinks. But the style is not completely objective. I write the way that I, as a narrator, sometimes interfere in the story with some remarks, or jokes...
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sounds like it could be a bit tricky. If you've got a distinctive narrator's voice, are you really in the character's POV?
     
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    And I've had my work criticized for "authorial intrusion" - even where I was in first person POV and the line was VERY much in character.
     
  6. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I am in child's POV, I can say that. Maybe I didn't express myself correctly. I never write his thoughts exactly like his thoughts, I narrate them. Here is one example.
    This is the way I write his thoughts.

    And these two would be a normal passages.
    As you can see, the style is rather simplistic.

    Yes, I think I expressed myself wrong. It's not that I am interfering in the story, it's more like that sometimes I narrate things in a different manner. I was thinking that sometimes the style is similar to King's, although that was not my intention at first. It just came along with the story...
     
  7. Ladybug of North
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    Ladybug of North Member

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    I would'nt. When books break POV that way, I get really annoyed and tend to put them down. But I'm the kind of reader who wants to be inside the characters heads. When you use words I don't even know myself, I don't believe it. Reading your last post only makes me feel stronger in this. I get the feeling I'm seeing things through his eyes, and it seems like a complicated word would be wrong for this character.
     
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  8. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    So you say the POV is good? You feel things that he does? What about the first quote? Projecting thoughts is ok, right, it's not really a narrator's voice, it's just not written literally as his thoughts (in italics...).
    So here, the name of the bone is too much, stands out too much of all other things?
     
  9. Ladybug of North
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    Ladybug of North Member

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    Radius bone would be better, I guess. English is not my first language, so I don't know if this is what a 9-year-old would call it. But yeah, it's nothing like Os Pisiforme. A general advice would be not to use any words that nine-year-olds might not know. Just to be sure. This may be hard if you don't have children, I myself would have big problems writing like this.
     
  10. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    I too am not native English speaker, so I actually don't have that big vocabulary with long words. So that's good if I have to write using words a nine year old would use. :)
    And I doubt he would say radius bone... I'l just write "one of the wrist bones".
     
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    The two bones of the forearm are the radius and the ulna - not the radius bone and the ulna bone.
     
  12. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Why mention the name of a bone at all? A nine-year-old would probably only say wrist bone.

    'The pain in his wrist made him think a bone was broken.'

    Do you need any more than that?
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I say take your reader into consideration as well. Is the story a medical story where the reader expects to come across terms internal to that industry? Because if not, then if the reader is a nurse or a doctor then Oh, neat, correct name for that bone, but if the reader is me then, Oh, look, words I don't know and I have to look up, but I won't because I can't be arsed.
     
  14. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hehe I understand. :)

    It's a mix of both what you said @Wreybies . The boy's mother has a serious medical condition, his mother is a scientist who's doing research about her condition. Father wants his son to succeed him, so eventually he starts teaching him about medicine.
    But at this point he doesn't know about bone names yet, so "wrist bones" it is then. :)

    Can I ask you what do you think of POV? I think it's good, but I'd like to hear more experienced opinion. :)
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Is the action in the story presumed to have taken place recently (in which case the narration should sound reasonably close to a nine-year-old) or is the narrator reflecting back over time (in which case the narrator can have a more mature voice). A good example of the latter is To Kill A Mockingbird, in which the narrator, Scout (aka Jean Louise Finch), was 6 years old at the time of the events of the story but the manner in which the story is told makes it clear that she is reflecting back from adulthood. If you're doing this, you need to make it clear in the narration. If not, you need to keep the language akin to that of a nine-year-old.

    I had to wrestle with this myself. My narrator is a 13-year-old boy, but as I wrote it, I assumed that he was reflecting back from adulthood and the narration was that of an adult. However, I never made that clear in the narration and a professional who reviewed my ms pointed out that certain turns of phrase that I used were very obviously not those of a 13-year-old. OTOH, when I went back and started to seed the narrative with hints that the narrator was now an adult, it disrupted the flow of the story as already written. So, I compromised. I eliminated the phrases that were clearly "too old" and replaced them with more generic phrases that could be a teen or an adult in his twenties.

    But you really can't compromise with a nine-year-old. Decision time! :D
     
  16. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well I am writing in present, so it's not an adult telling the story of his youth.
    Yeah, in the third part of the book he is already 14, so that will be a lot easier. Decision made, I will revise and check for adult words.I get it, if I was omniscient 3rd I could afford to use normal vocabulary.

    I'm not english native so I don't know if a child knows words like "vanity" "vicinity" "inadequate"...?
     
  17. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Do you want to mention the name to show off that you wikipediaed the wrist bones or do you want to educate the reader or do you want tell something about the character, like make the character appear somewhat different from your regular 9yo who might not even be able to tell if it's the bone that hurts?

    My word choice would depend on what I'd want, and the POV I've chosen. There's some flexibility, but I personally get distracted if the narrator interferes with some omniscient commentary when I've thought I'm in close third.

    Have you posted your story to the workshop? You could ask for crits for the POV there if you're interested in how your future audience might receive it. :)
     
  18. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Think about where s/he may have learned the words. Is it typical everyday speech? You can use corpus (corpuses, corpi?) to learn more about word contexts and how much they're used in everyday speech.

    I suggest you familiarize yourself with the specific vernacular that would make your characters more credible to the reader. It's not always necessary. I've heard 50 Shades happens in the US but contains lots of British expressions. It might take the reader out of the story, but in the end, it's your story, your call. Anything can work.
     
  19. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does this mean that the boy's mother is a scientist who is doing research into her own serious medical condition? Or is the person who is "his mother" a different person from "The boy's mother"? If the latter, you haven't mentioned who "he" is.
     
  20. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh shit sorry, I didn't even see this mistake. The scientist is the boy's father, not mother.
    The third option.


    Yes, but earlier version. I'll post newer version and write the specific info I'd like to receive. I'll post link here in case anyone is interested. :)

    Oh shit sorry, I didn't even see this mistake. The scientist is the boy's father, not mother.
     
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  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah. This resolves some puzzlement that I had with your earlier passage:

    Without further thinking he cast the mask on his bed and enthusiastically took general carver out of the wooden case. What would he name his soon to be friend? He thought about the painting hanging in master bedroom. Hart was on it. Hart could be a good name, same pronunciation as of noun heart. Ok, Mister Hart was the name then.​

    This didn't read as simplistic or childlike to me, but as if it were written by a non-native speaker. This confused me because the other samples, and your posts, didn't seem that way at all. I suspect that your otherwise excellent command of English is failing you when you try to make it simplistic/childlike.
     
  22. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you @ChickenFreak , I'm glad to see that my English is improving.

    However, I must confess I never thought about this childlike writing. I was more focused on POV, grammar, syntax...
    I will post later today in the workshop and I would appreciate it if some of you guys would give me a critique as to what kind of voice does the narrator have, if the language is too adult/childish at moments, what is the POV like...

    I wish I could write close 3rd with more adult voice, that would be great. :meh:
     
  23. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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  24. Shadowfax
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  25. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    :agreed:
     

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