1. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    switching POV and narrative person?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ettina, May 22, 2012.

    I've got this one story, which for reasons I'm not going to get into right now, has to be in 1st person from a certain character's perspective. But I have an idea for an opener to the story which would be in 3rd person limited from the mother of the MC's perspective. Would it be too jarring to have the very first scene be in 3rd person limited for one character, then have a time-skip and change to 1st person perspective of another character?

    Basically, the opener will be when the kid is a preschooler and his mother is noticing that he seems strange and describing this to another mother. Then I'll switch to the kid in school around grade 2 or 3.
     
  2. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    Should be fine, so long as it's a one-time switch. Flitting between 1st and 3rd person throughout the story is bad practice, but using it as a one-off for the intro is perfectly acceptable IMO.
     
  3. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    Yeah I agree with Tobias. Especially if it is serving as the first-chapter in the story. It would be weird if it happened like half-way through, but I think you can take a bit more liberty with things when it's the first-chapter. I mean, it could even be a prologue of sorts.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Perspective switching can work well, but you walk a bit of a knife edge with it and run the risk of losing your readership to the disorientation. I'd loosely agree with Tobias James, but I'd also add that you should have a think about whether the initial third person part is actually necessary. Does the reader need to see the "strangeness" at this part? Could it not be adequately shown through the body of the story itself, or exposition later on? The beginning is arguably the most important part of a story, as you need to hook the reader and persuade them not to put the book down and find something else.
     
  5. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    What is it about this story that you want to reveal to the reader that can't be accomplished in first person? "I saw my mom and another mom talking with one another from across the room. I've seen those stares before from people, and in almost all cases it lead to someone asking me what's wrong with me? Mother took me to the doctor once and he didn't know what to make of it. I was just different in a noticeable way that had I no control over. I hadn't even noticed it before because I've never really been around kids my own age until just now, when I started preschool. Blah Blah Blah."

    I think you can accomplish it in first person. But if you can't because you want the reader to know something that the MC doesn't, then write it all in third person.
     

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