1. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    Question on POV (third person)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GoldenGhost, Feb 13, 2013.

    Ok, so I have a story I've written in the third person past.

    The final scene concludes with my POV character, and his supporting character, dying.

    Since it's written in the past, it would be impossible for a POV character to tell an 'account' of the story and what happened since, well, he is dead, unless a witness watched him fall, and this scene is told through that witness, correct?

    Or can I simply write it as is:



    The man took aim, and Roger’s skin tensed and became cold, and the sound of his heartbeat faded from his ears, and the screams in the shop no longer felt real, like wailing ghosts, and all he could hear was the soft, faint ringing in his mind that was always there, always there, but never seemed to exist.

    Mom.

    Squeezing the trigger, the man said, “Remember me.”

    I’m sorry.

    The gun recoiled. The barrel flashed. Time stopped. Invisible hands of horror wrapped around Roger’s throat and damned him.

    The final shot, like the sound of judgment, fired.

    Darkness. THE END



    Or do I need to switch the tense of the entire story to present, so that the reader finishes with the death of the character, and the story ends through the eyes of that character?

    Is it possible to kill of a POV character in third person? Has this been done before?

    Am I making sense here?

    Something tells me the reader may be more immersed if it were in the present tense, but I have no experience writing in that tense, and it feels rather weird.
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It's done all the time. It's first person that would be awkward (best such treatment in my view was Poe's "MS Found In A Bottle").

    I think this is fine. It is a common misconception that people who are shot die immediately. You don't say where he is hit, so the reader can draw his own conclusions. And the way it's written, the story actually ends moments (presumably) before the character actually dies.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Third person is not first person. In first person, if your POV character dies, there can be no further narration, no further story, because there's nobody to tell it. In third person, though, the POV character is not the narrator. The POV character can die without the narration stopping. The effect would be as if the author took a step back, changing from close third person limited to third person omniscient. It would be similar to a movie in which the camera zooms out, taking more into the frame, the image changing from a close-up of the character to a panorama.

    I can't think of any examples of a writer doing this, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been done. Just write well, and it will work.
     
  4. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    Word.. for a second there, I got real scared I was going to have go through and tense switch everything.. not that I'm opposed to the work, it's just that I have no experience writing present tense narratives, and I'm trying to prepare this manuscript for a contest.

    Now, I feel better. Thank you.
     

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