1. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Switching point of views?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by picklzzz, Dec 2, 2011.

    Hi all. I have a story I wrote awhile back that I like and am thinking of resurrecting. The problem is, the story is told in third person limited for one character, then the main story is told third person limited for another character, then back to the first. I am having trouble getting what I want to get across just from one person's point of view. Is it correct or appropriate to do this in a short story? The story is about 5000 words long. My creative writing teacher for the class where I wrote this story said I am not supposed to swith POV at all in a short story. I disagreed at the time, but now I'm wondering if she was right.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Three POV changes in 5000 words might be too much, but could be done. I'd try to picture how it the story could be told from one POV, possibly two and see how it would look. If there is no way to do it without 3 POV changes, go ahead and do it. Use clear scene breaks and try to do it as smoothly as you can.
     
  3. iamnotaweed
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    iamnotaweed New Member

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    I find multiple POV's very interesting. I think seeing all the different characters through each of their eyes separately allows for a neat perspective. I guess the only thing would be 5000 words might be too little to explore it in enough depth. Good luck!
     
  4. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Of course you aren't supposed to change POV in a short story. That doesn't mean it can't be done but you'd have to do it right. If you are questioning it then maybe you need to have some writer friends read it and give you feedback.
     
  5. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Is that a RULE, or a GUIDELINE? There's an awful lot of writers and writing teachers who will recite long lists of rules, to have those rules broken by other writers and writing teachers. Not much is set in stone. If it's necessary for the story to have multiple POVs, then write it that way. If you can avoid multiple POVs in a short story, try it, but don't let your creativity be fettered by 'rules'.
     
  6. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the wonderful advice. Many of the novels I read either switch POV or they focus in each chapter on a different person and you can read one person's thoughts at a time. However, my teacher had told me in a short story, it is different. I didn't believe her at the time, and I hadn't read a lot of short stories. I'm noticing now as I'm reading more that it usually is in one point of view. I guess the first part of a story I'm returning to is describing in detail a particular character. Then, she joins three others. I want to get into a conflict among two others without her being present. Her late arrival is part of the conflict, so I can't exactly have her there. So, I would think I would have to switch to these other two, but the POV is in one of their frames of reference. Then, in the final two scenes, it's back to the original character. I cannot figure out how to just make it all in her POV. If I cut the other two and their argument, it ruins the essence of the story. Also, the conflict of the main character with one of these side characters. Hope it isn't too confusing. I'm just not sure how to make it all in her viewpoint. I'll think about it more, but if you have any advice and understood what I was saying, it would be helpful!

    By the way, I wrote this story before taking that class, and when I presented it to my teacher, she said it wasn't good because of this change of viewpoint. I scratched it then, but I discovered it recently and really like it. I'd like to fix it up.
     
  7. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    You could try third-person omniscient or third-person objective points of view.
     

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