1. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    Pov

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cshell, Jun 9, 2011.

    I'm new to the forums and don't want to post a question in the wrong section.

    Where would one post a quetion regarding Point of View changes in a novel?
     
  2. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    Why right here, but that are a good amount threads to that question, to save you some time two answers
    "Write what you want"
    "Don't kid your self on your own skills"
    in other words write what you want but be sure you can write it
     
  3. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    Thanks, I'll toss it out here.

    Let's say the novel will be 40 chapters.
    Third person limited POV.

    Chapter one from a murder victim (Not sure if that's okay, either).
    The rest of the 39 chapters are mostly from the protaganist, on the hunt for the killer.
    A few (small few) may be from a minor character or love interest of Protag.
    But I want to do one chapter from the killer's POV. Around chapter 5. Herein lies the question. The reader doesn't know who the killer is. To make it more difficult, I don't even want to reveal the sex of the killer (so soon in the novel).

    So no, "He did this" or "She did that" or "He took the severed finger from the pan" or "She licked the blood from the plate."

    No he's, no she's. Are there tricks? Or is this a no - no in general?
     
  4. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    Okay first those quotes are creepy and I really almost threw up

    As for what chapters, sorry to say it depends on your writing skills
    a good writer can make it work, I how ever could not

    Anyways as for the killers time, judging form your quotes its not "his view" its third person focused on him if not then sorry I'm just going by the quotes (i say him as general not meaning he is a guy)
    "the figure took the severed finger from the pan" "The killer licked the blood from the plate"
    etc use something about s\he like that would be my first try
     
  5. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    So more of an omni third person? I know asking "Can I do that?" is wrong, but... is it "acceptable" to have 99% of a novel in limited third person, then do one chapter in the middle in "omni"?
     
  6. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    I dotn consider "the showdow" or "the figure" Omni, Omni IMO would mean you know who the person is .
    but to answer your question
    Eh it can work there is no reason it can't, it really depends on how you write it however
    there is no "set rule" against it but some publishers might not like it

    Form off the top of my head I'd say you would need a reason for it to happen
     
  7. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    The Figure.... the shadow....

    Thank you. I need to rethink that chapter now....

    This may work.

    The "figure" could lick the severed finger. Or the "shadow" could nibble like a chipmunk at the fingernail of the severed finger....
     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Not sure how you'd be able to pull off a third person without pronouns. I guess you could use passive constructions for everything "a severed finger was taken from the pan" "blood was licked from the plate" but I'd read like, zero pages of such prose.

    The problem isn't POV, but that you seem to be trying to be overly clever and tricky as a writer. Smart writers realize the more they tell a story that feels natural and right, that removes the writer trying to use tricks and gimmicks, the better a story is.

    Withholding detail doesn't create suspense or drama. It's a gimmick, little more. True suspense and mystery, especially in a limited POV, isn't about what the writer withholds or how a writer manipulates information. Far from it, true suspense and mystery is by creating the sense of real, authentic, genuine suspense and mystery.

    Mystery: a police detective is searching for a killer and doesn't know the sex of the killer.

    Contrived gimmicky crap: a writer is telling a reader about a killer, but doesn't want to reveal the sex of the killer, so is awkwardly avoiding it.

    Good drama can have a police detective searching for a killer, not knowing the sex, even when the reader does.

    Why? Because good writing exists through the experiences of characters, not through the control or manipulation of information by the writer that is external from the characters. And good, dramatic mystery and suspense won't rely on some trick/gimmick where the sex isn't revealed, as it's not about information.

    My mentor would say 'stop trying to be cute, it's not about you, it's about the story,' and it seems to apply in this instance. Cut the crap, stop trying to be cute and put one over on the reader when it doesn't even matter, and worry more about telling good stories.

    Meaning, if you're not going to track the character development and perspectives of minor characters through an entire novel, thus making them major, why (besides just a 'oooooooooh, the killer is scary' sort of gimmick) are secondary characters even brought into the story, when it's not there story (and it's not if they're only being given bit roles and being used by the writer to make some point they may not even want to make).

    Writing should always be about what you need to do to tell the story the best, with respect and attention to the character(s) whose story is being told. The second you start worrying about what you can do as a writer in relation to manipulating or impressing the reader, you're already on the wrong track, imo, as characters are being forsaken and being used for an agenda that is beyond them, and what's a story without characters?

    And it's not 'wrong' or 'bad' to have one chapter omni when the rest is limited. The question is whether it's necessary to tell the story, on behalf of your MC, or if it's just a gimmick that you, the write, think would be cool. Sometimes these things overlap, but often the writer just can't give up center stage and doesn't realize the less writer in a story, the better. If I'm reading something like that, where suddenly there's one chapter vaguely from the presumed killer's POV, I'm putting the book down, personally, as the story most likely just stopped being about what it was about, and instead is now more about the writer.

    Kinda like how a good story is often ruined in hollywood when it becomes about how awesome Michael Bay thinks explosions are! Did you NEED a 10 minute montage of explosions to tell the story? No, at which point it's no longer about the characters, and I'm reminded there's a direct who probably put them in because the special effects department needs something to do, etc, yawn, no thanks.

    The shadow licked the bloody finger? The shadow nibbled the finger like a chipmunk?

    No thanks. That's not something I'd read, unless it was intentionally parody. Then again, I read pretty widely, but it has to be 'good', and I'd be hard pressed to find a non-parody novel with such a chapter.
     
  9. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    There was a lot of good information in there. Thank you very much.

    the reason I am hiding the identity of the killer's sex is not for "gimmick" or "cute". It becuase of the the main suspects (red herring) is a female. If I start at the beginning saying "He this" and "he that", wouldn't the reader then dismiss that read herring?

    Or should I eliminate that red herring for the sake of story?
     
  10. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    Um....

    1. Thank you for the opinion.
    2. You're not "every reader" so whether you'd read or not is not crucial.
    3. Those aren't actual lines in the novel, just a funny way of tossing out an example. Simple as that. a touch of color on an internet forum.
    4. Relax a touch.
     
  11. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I wouldn't dismiss popsicledeath's comment. It's a very valid point - you've come up with a way to tell the story, that will be forced (you've got to admit it isn't natural otherwise you wouldn't be having so much trouble), and not the story first.

    Writing novels is about telling stories, usually grand and epic ones that takes a lot of time, effort and sheer word count ot tell.

    Try writing a few short scenes in this experiemental pov. Is it bringing anything new the writing? Ask people to read it over... is it more infuriating that mysterious?

    Experiementation is always a good thing! As long as it's followed up my rigourous evaluation.

    Good Luck, but don't take critisism that hard - most of the people on here will just give you up front honest advice and won't sugar coat it. They make sure you get the point. They've taken as much as they give.
     
  12. cshell
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    cshell New Member

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    Thanks!
     
  13. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think what you're trying to do is perfectly doable, cshell. It's just tricky to find the right word choices so you don't reveal the killer's gender, and the text doesn't become awkward or repetitive.
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Nothing wrong with creating one suspect character who isn't really the killer. That's done rather often, I would think. However, if (as I suspect) the killer is a man, then having the prime suspect be female does create some challenges.
    The most obvious solution to my mind is to describe what police (or witnesses) find of the murder, rather than the murder itself. That way, you can also construct how the woman comes to be the prime suspect. I agree with Popsicledeath - trying to describe the killer's actions without using any personal pronouns would result in awkward and stilted prose that would not attract the reader. But don't despair. It just means you may have to make some other choices in how you construct the narrative.

    My own view is that describing the result of the murder rather than the murder itself puts the reader in the position of trying to solve the mystery. And that's where you want them.

    EDIT: Also, if you describe the police discovery of the murder rather than the murder itself, you can have the police describe their notions of what might have happened as "it looks like he attacked from..." or "he must have stabbed from the left..." without giving anything away, because use of the male personal pronoun in describing an unknown perpetrator is common. That way, when you lead the reader to believe that the perp was female, they'll think that's the twist (if they're looking for one at all).
     
  15. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    Sorry to the OP as I have nothing to add in regards to the thread but I would like to thank popsicledeath for this ^^

    I was just starting to think like that in regards to manipulating the reader and it limited me. It was just what I needed to hear or should I say read :p now my barrier has been lifted and my character is back in control. Even if the reader might know who he is, it won't alter the suspense I'm after. So thank you :)
     

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