1. Laser Sailor
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    Laser Sailor Member

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    Switching POV midscene

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Laser Sailor, Aug 7, 2010.

    I read Cog's article about POV and want to see if I've got it. Here's a little blurb of dialogue.

    Now am I switching between Zach in the first sentence and Thom in the second? Or am I remaining in an omniscient POV?

    If it needs a fix, how would you restructure this to include what the characters are saying as well as both character's observations?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You are peering into Zach's grey matter in the first paragraph, then hopping heads to bury your toes in Thom's cerbrum in the second.

    Choose a POV the scene will be written from. You may tap into that person's thoughts and feelings, but stick to observable behavior in all the other characters in the scene.

    Head-hopping leaves the reader adrift in the scene, with no clear POV to hang on to.
     
  3. Laser Sailor
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    Laser Sailor Member

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    I guess this is the best way I can do it then. Thanks for the quick reply.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Better, although you're still reading Thom's thoughts somewhat.
    Maybe Zach knows Thom well enough infer that Thom is worried, but it's still better to describe what can be directly observed. The observer isn't exactly Zach, but is perched on Zach's shoulder, and only able to peer into Zach's thoughts and emotions. If you can avoid intruding into Zach's thoughts more than absolutely necessary, even better.
     
  5. Laser Sailor
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    Laser Sailor Member

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    Click. Thanks got it now.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Re:

    “I mean I can’t talk about it.” Zach hoped to end the conversation quickly. He didn’t like being ordered to withhold information from his classmates, especially Thom, but orders were orders. He hoped Thom would catch the hint."

    I think that you're a little deeper in Zach's mind than you need to be here.

    You've shown us with Zach's words ("I mean I can't talk about it") that Zach wants to cut the conversation short.

    Then you tell us that fact ("...hoped to end the conversation...) and then you tell us again ("...hoped Thom would catch the hint.")

    Then you give us a detailed explanation for why he wants to cut it short ("...didn't like... orders were orders..."), but I'd guess that there's a scene elsewhere where we learn that he's been ordered to be quiet?

    So that's one "show" and two "tell", plus one detailed explanation, all for the same fact. I think you'd do better to trust that we'll pick up on Zach's words, and leave out the three other bits. If you want to show his regret that he can't tell, you could add more to his body language.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that thom bit would take it completely out of his head and leave only his actions to show the readers what he might be feeling...
     
  8. Laser Sailor
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    Laser Sailor Member

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    Thanks, thanks and thanks. This site is so great. I'm learning a lot from y'all. Please keep it up! I hope to contribute to you somehow.
     

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