1. Adrian Whitefield
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    Adrian Whitefield New Member

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    Question about perspective!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Adrian Whitefield, Jan 4, 2011.

    Hi, Adrian here,

    I have a question, I'm working on a novel and I chose first person perspective because I just plain and simple like writing that way. But here is the tricky part,
    Can I change the character that has the perspective.
    Or is that something I shouldn't do,

    I have 2 characters,
    a daughter and a father and I want to change the perspective back and forth throughout the book.
    I can do without it but, It would hurt my original idea.

    Thx in advance
    -Adrian
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Short answer: yes. Yes you can, and it is in fact done all the time.

    But it is something that can lead to lazy story-telling, and if you fail to differentiate the two (or more) voices sufficiently, it can ruin a book. There are plenty of threads on this exact subject already though, so if you want to read a full discussion about it, try the search button.
     
  3. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    It all falls down to "if you can pull it off"
    Your main concern should be not making it confusing to the reader. If you feel it's necessary, then go ahead but it's going to be a challenging task if you're not an experienced writer.
    You always have the option of going third person, which would be a pretty good choice, knowing that you want to explore the minds of 2 people.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    One of the limitations of writing in the first person is that it makes it awkward to change the POV. When you change, are you contemplating staying with first person? I would think if you do, it would make it confusing to the reader; you would need to set some kind of obvious cue so that the reader would understand it is not the same person talking.

    Alternatively, you can write the second character's POV in third person. But you would either have to limit yourself to what the narrating character could have known or else make it as if another narrator has stepped in. In a novel that I have not yet completely finished, there are two major characters. The first chapter is written in the first person from one character's POV. He has a history with the other characters of which he regrets much, and he is sort of making his case that he's not that bad a guy. The rest of the novel tells the story, first as a flashback for the main characters and then into present day. So, that's another way you could handle it.

    But, as has been noted above, you would probably find it easiest to do it all in third person. And, yes, as aaron notes, there have been several discussions of this topic.
     
  5. Adrian Whitefield
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    Adrian Whitefield New Member

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    Thank you!
    I am going to continue with 1st perspective.
    Im already 8 pages in and have decided to go that way.
    But thanks for the enlightened answers ^^!
    THX!
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    In the end, you have to do what you feel most comfortable doing.

    When I first mentioned what I was doing (going from 1st person to 3rd) on this forum, Cogito argued strongly for writing the beginning segment in 3rd person limited. I went back and started to do exactly that, but I found that it lost the emotional power that I felt that writing it in 1st person provided. So, I decided to stick with it.

    Good luck.
     
  7. Ironwil
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    Ironwil Member

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    Just be careful with it. I've actually read a book where the main perspective was first person, but when it changed to another person, it was written in third person, which I found to be an overly distracting change in the middle of a story.

    I'm also writing a book that's taking the first person perspective, and at two points it will briefly change to another person. In the first instance my main character will be unconscious for some time, and the second is at the end, when the main character enters an altered state.

    I think that the point is not to bounce all over the place, skipping from person to person because you're trying to let the readers in on key information. Often this is a seductive lure, because you lose the omnipotent ability to dole out information to your readers that your main character doesn't directly experience when writing in the first person. Even so, it can be done in a better way, such as having interactions with other characters that had those experiences. Just realize that the information will almost always change from what you'd get from direct experience. Everyone has different views and interprets things in their own way, and second-hand information suffers from filtering through their opinions, prejudices, and misunderstandings. So, when the main character learns of things, they might well be presented in a garble that he/she must wade through and figure out, just like in real life.

    Often people take their erroneous conclusions and opinions and spread them around or take action with what they know (or think they know). This causes a lot of conflict and strife. Sometimes characters might keep the information to themselves or use it against the protagonist, but this adds a lot to a story in my opinion. It requires the reader to go through the experience of uncovering the truth from various lies and partial truths along with the character.
     
  8. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I wrote a book where each character alternates per chapter and it's first person. One of my goals was to show how everyone thinks they're right. Several of the characters didn't like each other but when read individually they had their own well thought out reasons for their actions.

    I enjoyed writing it and think the approach is educational.
     
  9. Agent Vatani
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    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    Ever read The Seekers By Erin Hunter? It has 3 beings of POV.
    She (lol) does it in chapter one chapter is one the next is another POV.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have written a book with two first person perspectives - what I have yet to decide is whether or not on rewrite to write them alternate chapters or one take one half of the story and one take the other.

    I still have to work out the last chapter and which perspective to take it from at present it works in third person.

    The Hardy Boys have a series of books told first person alternating perspectives and it depends on the individual writer but some of them work exceptionally well, the chapters are told from Franks perspective, then one from Joe's perspective. I have enjoyed reading them. Although struggle getting used to the making Aunt Gertrude, Aunt Trudy and her being so trendy.
     

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