1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Wavering Point Of View

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Nov 15, 2012.

    I’m writing my novel in the third person. But I’m having some issues on how
    to slant the scenes - My mc is a fish out of water type. The public sees
    him as one thing and he sees them as another. ( For example say he was a yankee northerner
    during the civil war in the south )
    He has several friendships in his new world - but can I switch in a scene to
    how they view him - for instance use a derogatory name, not really in their thoughts but just in the tone of the sentence say - he slapped the dirty yank, and then switch back to the mc?
     
  2. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    As you are writing in the third person I'm not sure you need to speak of him in a derogatory way unless you are switching into the first person of for example the person who slaps him. If your staying in the third person you should just have to find a way at some point in the story of explaining how the others around him think of him.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I strongly recommend sticking like Velcro to ONE point of view per scene, regardless of first or third person narration.
     
  4. FictionAsVeneer
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    FictionAsVeneer Member

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    The way I'm personally going about my story is remaining in a third person which narrates based on a character's adaptations of the world around them. For example, if one of my characters was a baby, I'd narrate the story in a third person narrative that would best describe how a baby thinks and reactions. For example: "She stared up at the strangers smiling down on her. Her eyes winced as a bright light from the infinite blue blinded her attempts to capture glance of the people holding her snug." I've always found it interesting to read and write bias narratives that are true to the character's perspective. No style is the correct style.

    To go from first person to third person would be difficult for the audience to follow, but I have read a book that accomplished it. It's a book called House of Leaves, I do believe. Look into it if you got the time.
     
  5. BritInFrance
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    BritInFrance Active Member

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    What about your MC - does he have any insight on how others see him? Most people can read other peoples expressions and tone of voice and make judgements on what they think of them (even if it is wildly inaccurate). This way your MC reacts to how other people act and refects internally on what it means. "He could read their expressions, they all thought he was just a dirty yank."

    As a reader to get jerked out of one persons head into another disrupts the flow. Some writers can manage it, but many others make a mess of it.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    what about third person omniscient? Wouldn't that solve your problem? What if you gave your narrator an opinion? That's what the book Perfume had - the narrator clearly had an opinion about the MC, though the narrator was not a character - just the voice of the book.

    Why don't you simply slip in the derogatory names in the dialogue? They make a joke, snigger a bit - this happens even between friends. Even my closest friends have made fun of my surname before, and in front of me mocked my culture and language by jumping around and pretending they were Chinese, or making gibberish noises claiming it sounds like Chinese and then laughing like frigging idiots, the ignorant fools - yes such memories still anger me (and I grew up in England and these people see me as basically English, and I STILL get this). But it happens - it's called prejudice/racism. It would only be realistic to have this in your novel I think.

    But no I wouldn't switch in third person limited, because it would sound like you MC thinks of himself as a dirty yank.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with Cog on this. I would use other scenes to show other characters' views of your mc.
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks for all the advice guys! I'm going with Cog -
    I've been researching this technique in a few novels I've got and I get it.
    Now, I'm going through my outline and tentatively deciding on which character
    will slant each scene - it's actually helping because I can now have it both ways -
    The sympathy doesn't just ride on the mc. And it's not just his story to tell.
     
  9. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    Its funny. Some people say to stay in one POV, others don't seem to mind. In fantasy, its common practice to shift POV by ending the section but staying in the same chapter. Its helpful when trying to fill in different aspects of a story that the MC can't give you. Say a meeting in a room the MC isn't in, or trying to tell both sides of a battle where one side gives you a reason for the attack (a perceived insult) while the other side gives you their spin.

    I've found it helpful to keep the story flowing, however I do not shift POV's between the characters in the same section, scene, or part. If I start with the MC as the POV, I end it with his POV. I do shift to a new scene to get other points of view and more information, but only one person can speak first person at a time.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    This is what I was doing - shifting in a scene. Was? er - last night I was working on my novel and the issue still cropped up, I was like ahhh! stop doing it.
    lol. I think I've read too much junk fiction. It's amazing what vintage junk fiction allowed and still got published!
     

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