1. concon
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    concon New Member

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    Question on POV

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by concon, Jan 6, 2011.

    My main character, Matthew, is a 14 year old boy who has lost his mother in a car accident. This is a mystery novel for teens. Matthew blames his dad for the accident, even though it's really not his fault. There are several issues going on here with Matthew and his dad. Although I would like to tell the story primarily from Matthew's POV, I believe his dad has some things to contribute as well.

    Question is: In changing POV's, would it be acceptable to use Matthew's dad's view only 2 or 3 times during the story?
     
  2. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why wouldn't it be? It's your story. Do what you want with it. If you then don't think it's effective, change it, edit it, work it until it damn well is effective.

    One thing you'll need to be is prepared to take risks and experiment, especially with your style. Don't be afraid to rejig things if needs be. Chances are some experiments will work while others don't, but if you don't give it a go you'll not find it out. You won't stretch your abilities and test your limits as a writer. Don't be so timid; give it a go and see.
     
  3. Pallas
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    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes as Dante explains, you have to write it and see how well the shift melds. My current work shifts POV quite a few times from protag to antog to supporting characters; all in effort to show the different views of the same story. Good luck.
     
  4. Willowgreen
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    Willowgreen Member

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    Matthew's dad will certainly be an elemental part of your story, as a father is in the life of a 14 year old boy. So it would be a good thing to slot him in here and there. Think back to the place your own father took in your young life, a 14 year olds life tends to revolve around his friends, who become his mentors and 'family', but there is still a place for his father now and then. good luck with the tale..
    :D
     
  5. J_Jammer
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    J_Jammer Banned

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    Read other stories that have similar POV changes.

    Understand how they do it.

    The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan deals with three different POVs. Three Characters and they each have a chapter one after the other. Sometimes they take two chapters.

    However you do it be sure that it's not jarring and that the reader understands you're switching POV. He titled his chapters with their names.
     
  6. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    I absolutely love writing/reading novels where the POV changes! It makes it so interesting!
    if you choose to go this way with your novel I have a suggestion, listen if you like, discard if you don't:
    Maybe not explain that you are changing POVs. For example at the beginning of certain chapters have a two-three paragraph in itacilized type completely unexplained but its from his POV. Then go ahead and type your chapter maybe having the dad say something word-for-word that is in the beginning.
    Am I making sense at all?
    here:
    Chapter 1:
    "He kept blaming me, he just wouldn't stop. I was tired of it, I was sick of it..."

    [Chapter one section from MC (Matt right?) POV] [In dialouge with Matt] "I am so tired of this, Matt, so sick of it..." [Continue on with chapter]

    if you insert it this way its different, kind of exciting and will sort of jog the reader's memory and make them pay more attention to the writing.

    Just a thought, once again. It might not have made ANY sense but let me know and I'll explain it in a more clear-ish way.

    food for thought...
     
  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I am assuming by POV you mean viewpoint. POVs are broadly first person, second person, and third person.

    I am assuming you are asking if you can change the viewpoint between Matthew and his father in a novel. Of course you can, but it'll be more difficult to do so if you are writing in first person POV (using "I"). If you are writing in third person POV (using "he/she/name") it is lot more easier. You'll find many novels doing that. The only thing to keep in mind is that the viewpoint change shouldn't happen within a sentence or a paragraph (That's a NO NO). The best is to keep a scene within a viewpoint, and for even more clarity you can keep each chapter within a viewpoint.

    I hope this clears things up for you.
     
  8. D.T.Roberts
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    D.T.Roberts Senior Member

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    As Manav pointed out, don't change POV between characters in the same scene. If your MC is in the scene, it should be his POV. But, if there is a scene that includes the father and not the boy, by all means, do it from dad's POV. However, if they are both in the scene, it should be from the boy's POV since he is the MC. It would become confusing for the reader if you switch to dad's POV when the boy is present.
     
  9. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I don't think this is necessarily true. I mean there are stories told from a sidekick's (minor character's) viewpoint. Think Sherlock Holmes, he is the MC but most of the viewpoint is mostly from his sidekick Watson. So, if your MC is present in a scene it doesn't necessarily have to be from his viewpoint.
     
  10. D.T.Roberts
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    D.T.Roberts Senior Member

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    Don't confuse 'Main Character' with 'Protagonist'. They aren't always the same character. For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird, the main character (viewpoint character) is Scout, the young daughter of Aticus Finch. Aticus is the protagonist, but Scout is the central or "Main" character in the story because it is told from her perspective. We see the story through her eyes.
     
  11. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    ^ Hmm I see your point. Cheers! But now what I am thinking is-- can we have two or more MCs in a story? What happens then?

    btw, good signature line.
     
  12. D.T.Roberts
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    D.T.Roberts Senior Member

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    There are some stories that do just that, where there are multiple MCs in their own individual stories that eventually come together into the 'BIG PICTURE'. Have you seen the movie 'CRASH'?
     
  13. Rise2theTop
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    Rise2theTop New Member

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    Hi!

    I'm new here, but not shy. :)

    I love seeing others input on this subject.

    I have two MC's in my current WIP and while I don't shift POV within a paragraph, I do switch back and forth within a scene or chapter. Some call this POV shifts, some call it head hopping, some call it wrong maybe because it takes too much thinking?
    I am clear on who is doing the thinking at every change and that is the key. Plus, both my MC's are men, so this can be a tricky balance issue that I do struggle with from time to time, but usually win in the end! I am a tenacious thing when I wanna be! LOL Oh, did I mention I write a lot of my work in DPOV? Yeah...so the challenge is tri-fold.


    I know, I know...purists hate this, but man it makes for interesting fast paced reading.

    I love a good hearty discussion on this subject. I'd be interested to know how others perceive this option.

    Thanks for your time.
    Rise :D
     
  14. Tiger Shark
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    Tiger Shark Member

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    I has a similar problem. I started writing my story in the third person. The flow was terrible and I couldn't stick with it. I was told that writing in the first person was a bad idea but to try it anyway. I did and it flowed like water from a waterfall. My character is 11 and has a whole family contributing. I'm trying something different in that I am devoting one or two chapters to each character's POV. Its just an experiment but you might try it too. If it comes out like crap then so be it. At least you took the risk. It might be amazing.
     
  15. Julz
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    Julz New Member

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    The replies have been good.
    I would only add that sometimes in doing this you can have your readers get ahead of the characters. This leads to lame catchup time where your characters need to get the information that you already have.

    J
     
  16. Julz
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    Julz New Member

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    btw: If you read "Halting State" by Charles Stross - He wrote this book in the 2nd person!
    it was wierd to start, but he did it well.

    eg: You stare at the woman before you not hearing what she is saying....
     
  17. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    To the original poster: I did this exact type of thing and it made a whole lot of editing work for me. Well, I guess in the end it did add something to my story, but... the LONG way around, when it didn't have to be.

    I wrote a YA historical from the POV of a fifteen-year-old boy during WWII. I thought I'd put in some stuff from his mom's POV about her own war experiences, to foreshadow what was coming for him, etc. My editor made me take it all out because it was jarring to the reader and it weirds out teens to be told what their parents (or their protag's parents, apparently) are thinking. I really fought her on this but finally understood she was right.

    And I think she's right in your case too. The whole thing for your protag is not knowing--not knowing what really happened, or what his dad is really thinking or feeling. It's such a fundamental teen experience--as teens we just had no idea what the world was really like, what our parents' true feelings and motivations were, we just had our notions about this stuff and then the painful experience of finding out where they were wrong... And your reader shares that experience with your protag, and also, I assume, the experience of finding out a little more as time goes on. I don't think it works, for a teen reader, to short-circuit that experience so that the reader knows so much more than the protag does.

    So, I'd say, the father has a huge role in the book, but through the eyes of his son, only.
     
  18. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    Concon, in writing there is no such thing as "undone". If you do something that is against everything you've ever seen in books, it just means that it's your own personal signature, your own unique style, or at least the unique style of the story.

    Let me tell you a story: A long time ago a friend of mine read me a story he was writing. I told him he should change the style of writing, and gave him two options. One of them was telling the story from the eyes of the protagonist alone, in first person, and the other option was to describe it from the points of view of different characters, in third person.
    See, what my friend did, he had one guy who told the story from first person point of view, and then had the character of the guy's girlfriend from a third person, and other people also from a third person.

    So, I told him it's undone, and urged him to rewrite it. Then, a few years later, I started reading a guy named Harlan Coben, who has some awesome plotlines. Coben's style, incidently, is identical to the style my friend has. It didn't ruin the story one bit. I just objected to it because it's "undone". Well, I was wrong. Go have your own personal signature as an author, and don't listen to those who tell you what's "undone", unless it totally screws with the story.
     
  19. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Yes, do it :D
     

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