1. seawolf
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    seawolf New Member

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    Question on use of First Person POV

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by seawolf, Jul 19, 2011.

    Hi, Apologies if this has been asked and answered before, but a search on "First Person" brought back 10000 hits. In the interests of expediency, I was wondering if someone could answer a quick question.

    Is it technically incorrect to write a novel in first person, if the character telling the story dies at the end?

    I'm thinking no, but I'm not 100% sure.
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Yes, if that's what you want. This will bring the reader more closer to the character, and when they die, it will probably affect the reader a lot.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The only thing you have to work out is how the narrator could tell the story if (s)he's dead. The best example of doing this well, IMO, is Edgar Allan Poe's story, "MS Found In a Bottle".
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It can work just fine, as long as you can make it clear that the MC is dying and then just stop the narration. Don't write "I died" in first person haha. :)
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    For this very reason, I dislike first person novels where the narrator dies at the end. One of the only ways it can work logically is if it is the 'starting in 3rd person then going into 1st person someone finding a diary while sorting out possessions of person who's recently died' mystery type of (rather done-to-death) scenario.
     
  6. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's no issue about technically correct or not, the issue is whether you can find a way of pulling it off. In Lovely Bones the narrator dies at the beginning.
     
  7. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's always first person present. That's why I sort of like this style of first person. The chance that the MC can die at any moment while talking to you is always there. In theory.
     
  8. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    In which case you can leave the fact that they die just implied -- something I plan to do in something I am working on at the moment.
     
  9. seawolf
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    seawolf New Member

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    Thanks for all your replies.

    I tried to change what I had already written from first to third POV but it just didn't feel right, so I've reverted back to the original perspective. I thought long and hard about how I could make it work; going through that process has, I believe, given me a far better ending than that I had intended.:)
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Workarounds are always possible... I went through really elaborate loops to work out a system that I could have a first person narrator who dies, though I'm not sure what to do with the story... It feels too long to do at once, but the character goes through so much development that starting it as a series makes me hesitant to start with 3rd person, yet if I did write it as I've been thinking I might, the third person conclusion would feel so tacked on... Unless I just really emphasised before she dies that her friend was ready to tell her story for her. Hmm.

    In short, it's annoying. :p
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The charcater can be narrating from the afterlife. You, the author, need not believe in an afterlife to use this approach. You only need to suspend your readers' disbelief.
     
  12. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Your narrator doesn't necessarily have to be in some kind of afterlife to narrate after being killed. The assumption of realism in narrative is really quite limiting; once you realise that there's really nothing realistic at all about narrative fiction, it's easier to conceive of formal devices and narrative POVs that will liberate you from the stifling confines of 'realistic' story-telling. There's a lot of (fairly advanced) literary theory around different non-realist conceptions of the narrator, and if that's the sort of thing you're interested in, I'd recommend taking a look at some.
     

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