1. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Two Sided Tale: How?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lilix morgan, Mar 22, 2009.

    So this idea (another potential book) I've been toying with between revision of the first couple chapters of my first book has been playing with me recently. I know I'm going to write it, that's plainfully obvious, and I've got the outline along with a couple of the characters down pat and ready to roll.

    The problem is there are certain parts of the story that the MC just isn't in, but it needs to be told to keep the plot moving nicely and clue the reader in to what's coming for the MC. After thinking about it for a bit, I think I've chosen to have the MV's (main villian) point of view play out as the other person to tell the tale. There's just a few problems with this.

    One: Telling the story from the MC is alright, hell, everyone does it. Telling it from the MC and the MV? Would that potentially ruin the story? If you read a story like that, would it bother you to know into the head of the loony against the hero, or would you like to see into the head, maybe even feel or agree with the villian for once? Maybe I should try for a different point of view, like the MC's friend or someone on the same side as the MC?

    Two: I'm afraid of the possibility of the two sounding the same. It's probably nothing to worry about in severity, because no one's ever complained anbout my characters sounding the same, but I still worry.

    Three: The writing style! Should I have them both tell the tale from first person, have one do first while the other does third, or both do third? Does this add or take away from the story? I have so much going on in my mind with it that it's beginning to stress me out and I almost don't want to try and write it. I know some people say you should just write it as it comes to you in this case, then put it into the proper POV as you see fit, but that usually makes it even harder for me because I feel if I don't write it in the right format the first time, it flops and I get depressed.

    Anyone who can offer advice or personal experience to any of this would be of a huge help. :]
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One: "Everyone" does it because it works. Where a single point of view is too limited, and an omniswcient point of view is too impersonal and unfocused, a couple distinct POVs is an excellent compromise.

    Two: That is indeed the challenge. If both POVs narrate with the author's voice, they tend to blend together for the reader. The answer, which does require a bit more skill, is character-driven narration - narrating in the voice of the current POV character.

    Three: Most writers can't pull off multiple first person POVs successfully. I'd recommend third person instead. Even a single first person POV is not usually as good a choice as the same story told from that same character's POV in thord person.

    But there is always a probabilty of failure. Don't get so depressed that you fear to try different approaches - it's how you learn.
     
  3. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Okay. I've only read two series ever that's done multiple POVs, so I was a little nervous about writing it due to the thought that not many people do it and it might not be well recieved.


    So, do you mean I should just really listen the voice, their quirks and differences and write them to help tell the two apart? I mean, obviously writing one who says every seven words 'I'm the hero!' and 'I'm the villian!' won't do, but maybe using different word choice or accents, even taking different views of the same scene, could help tell them apart?

    Alright, this is where I usually get a little nervous, more so than usual. I've written in third person before, being a many member of RPGs left and right. I've been writing in third person since 7th-8th grade when I started playing in my first RPG ever, called ReQuiem vicTus. Back then, it was relatively easy to write out everything they saw from their eyes, but with hes and shes instead of mes and mys. But anytime I try to write in third person now, it just sounds... monotone, boring, like reading the morning paper with nothing but the word bailout all over the pages in the same, small font. Do you know anything that could help me in writing in third person by any chance? Maybe just practice?

    I'll try. Thanks for the advice, though, it did help.
     
  4. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    First: CALM DOWN! There is really no reason to stress, as this has been done many times before and in probably myriad ways.
    The first and most obvious way to do this is in a third-person view written in a semi-first-person perspective.

    Example:

    Then he did blah blah blah. Now, I must digress for a moment and take you far away, to another side of the planet, where so-and-so is doing so and so.

    The other way is to do a third-person without ANY first-person narrative at all.

    Example:

    Then blah blah blah did such and such. Thirty miles away on an island five miles southwest of South City, an evil maniac was hatching plans to do something undoubtedly diabolical.

    The other way is to write your first-person character, then switch to third with the villain:

    I did such and such to bring about a result that would do something regarding my life.
    Chapter 2:

    A wisp of smoke rose through the air and curled into a growing billow of smoke. Two fingers scissored around the cigar and drew it away in order for the man to speak, "Blankety blank," said Dr. Mean.

    Chapter 3:

    So anyway, I was blah blah blah.


    The other way is to do first-person in both. This could be easier or worse, depending on how different your protagonist and your baddy are:

    So I blah blah blah.

    Chapter 2:

    I slammed my hand on the mahogany desk, causing a clatter as the sundry items were rattled by the vibrations. Ushered forward, my minion stood at an unbelievably rigid salute which made even my back hurt.
    "At ease, fool. This is not a military base, this is an EVIL LAIR!"


    The very last could be a bit confusing, and I don't know how awkward, but if the writing is good then I am certain that it would work out in the end.

    My personal favorite with THIS setup is probably the first, but thinking about it, the first-person first-person setup would be VERY interesting!
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't recommend switching between a first person perspective for one character and third person for another. Unless you are very skillful, that kind of transition will be very obtrusive.

    Your best bet for viewpoint transitions is on chapter boundaries. You can also do it on scene boundries, but switching viewpoints within the same scene is usually a bad idea.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Almost every third person book I've read by Dean Koontz he tells the story from the MC's POV and the MV's POV. It works nicely.

    Obviously the MV doesn't get near as much time, and his/her chapters are much shorter.

    I chose to tell my sci-fi Agija of Agukas this way. I just finished the first draft, yay.
     
  7. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    -nods- Dean Koontz. I've heard of the name before. Never read any of their books, but my friend does. I'll ask to borrow one and see how they do it.

    Thanks for the help architectus! You too, Atari and Cogito!
     
  8. traffic101
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    traffic101 Member

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    Hi, I think telling a story from several different viewpoints is great. Especially with a villian. Look at authors like Dean Koontz, he often switches the point of view and leaves it up to the reader to figure out. As long as the story ties together, go for it.

    You can even have a point of view of someone dying...anything goes.
     
  9. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I read this and I have to admit I was very amused and a bit irked, but that's only because I absolutely *cannot* write in third person p.o.v. I've tried for years to write in 3rd person because people always told me this but every time I write a story in 3rd person, I get told it's too bland, too boring, too uninvolved in the characters. I'm just a first person pov type of writer- it's the writing I have done and always will do the best. And honestly pov is a *choice.* The same story rewritten in 3rd person that was originally in first person isn't necessarily going to be better- especially if you're a better first p.o.v. writer than a third person p.o.v. writer.

    Now, I will agree to the point that it is best to write in 3rd person until you are confident enough about your abilities to write in first person because first person is *harder* than 3rd person to write well (if you consider yourself a beginning writer, that is). It took me about five years or so to master first person p.ov. writing because it is harder, but my 3rd person always sucked and I hated the way it sounded to me. Not to mention the negative reviews I got on anything I wrote in 3rd person.

    If I were to write a story from two perspectives, I'd do it in first person, switching from chapter to chapter from the MC to the MV (I think that's how you wanted to do your story) but you did mention the problem that will occur- what if the two start to sound too similar to one another?

    My advice then, honestly, is to start from just the MC's point of view, write that out completely and then go back and add in the MV's point of view. That way it's like writing two different novels and you aren't going to get the voices as easily confused.
     

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