1. WritingGuru
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    WritingGuru New Member

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    What book do you find more interesting: written in active or passive voice?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by WritingGuru, Mar 10, 2010.

    Hello there, I have several questions for you :)

    1) What book do you find more interesting: written in active or passive voice? I mean when you read book and the writer say "Then I went to the park and found..." or when writer say "Then he went to the park and found..."?

    2) Also I'm interested do you think it would be interesting to read book divided to 4 parts and when each part is telling from the separate character point of view?

    3) If I tell the story about myself, but the events and space are more or less changed, can I use the names of my real friends and places (restaurants, concerts) of that time? Or the may send me to court for this? Imagine it is a story about my love and ex boyfriends and I want to tell a beautiful story about our love?
     
  2. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    1. These two examples are first (I) person and third (he) person. They are both in active voice. I prefer reading third person.

    2. It's been done and can work if you do it well.

    3. If you write anything libelous about someone who is recognizable from the writing, it can be actionable, regardless of whether you change the names.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    even if what you write is not 'libelous' they can still sue you for 'invasion of privacy' if you don't have their signed consent beforehand...
     
  4. da_ardvark
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    da_ardvark Member

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    Even changing the names will not get you off the hook in some cases. Truman Capote had suit filed against him for "Breakfast at Tiffany’s". I wish we had a simple rule that if you lose in a law suit, you had to pay the winner's law fees. This would all but eliminate the so called frivolous law suit.

    Off soap box, breathing slowly and deliberately through nose....

    Dennis
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Judges can levy a substantial fine for a frivolous lawsuit. I rather hope a judge does so if that ridiculous lawsuit Lindsey Lohan is filing against e*trade ever makes it to court.
     
  6. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    This could mean 4 viewpoint characters but the scenes are different in each part of the book or 4 viewpoint characters re-living the same set of scenes, each giving us a different perspective.
     
  7. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I heard about that I was disgusted. Mostly because it sounds like she is just trying to get attention and make herself seem like some big victim. Much like that Judge awhile back and his stupid pants.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The woman in white by Wilkie Collins is a good and simple example of a novel told in multiple POV, although these are very clearly divided into sections. It's a very readable and interesting classic, considered to be one of the first mystery novels. You might like to check it out.
     
  9. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Active voice of course, but as pointed out already, your examples are not passive vs active.

    I like both third person and first person.

    BTW, passive sentences do have their place. It's just a place that is not visited often.
     
  10. BBWalter
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    BBWalter Member

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    Yes, I was wondering if this was the same scenes with 4 different POV or different scenes from 4 POV?

    George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series has different POV's for each chapter, and it is wonderful done! (As a matter of fact, I began reading more fantasy because of that interesting angle.)

    Also, I have written several short stories of the same scene from separate POV. My Beta Readers were all very confused. But that could be because I didn't do it well. :eek: Naaaaah, not me! :p

    B
     
  11. MsMyth71
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    MsMyth71 Senior Member

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    I was just going to mention Martin. He's wonderful at the multi POV deal. They're all so unique and different. Makes for great reading. (and fast reading)

    Though Martin recycles the POVs throughout the story. He returns to POV's, though he doesn't retell the same scene through another character's eyes. He might mention it in passing from that character's POV--briefly--but he usually carries on the story seamlessly (until the POVs are so separated that they no longer overlap).

    Oh, btw, BB, since you have read more fantasy because of Martin's stories, have you found any that are really awesome? I find that most fantasy I read doesn't live up to Martin's work. :(
     
  12. NewBee
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    NewBee Senior Member

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    Should a story written in many POVs have one main character? Maybe a really stupid question. But I'll never know for sure if I don't ask. I'm working on a story now from dif POVs and I don't have one main character. I've decided to leave it for the reader... Is this ok?
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^ My opinion is that you need to have one strong central story, although not necessarily only one main character. It depends a bit on length--in a novel of only 75,000-80,000 words IMO one main protagonist vs antagonist with maybe 2-3 fully defined supporting characters is enough...although in addition to length, the number of central characters/POV depends on the complexity of your plot and the conventions of the genre you choose.

    I wouldn't say you can leave it up to the reader to decide who is the most important character. It's up to you to define a main character as such, and to set up the central plot...the reader can left to interpret e.g. some motives of the characters, but you still guide him/her...you can't leave everything shrouded in mystery, it just becomes a confusing mess (unless you are a literary genius).
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you trying to pull off a 'rashomon' type story, where a single event is being told about by each of the participants?

    other than that, i can't get what you mean by there not being one main character... and if that is what you have, then each of those pov characters ARE a 'main character'...
     
  15. NewBee
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    NewBee Senior Member

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    Far from a literary genius here. Thanks so, SO much for taking the time to help me out. I have a much better understanding now.
     
  16. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Depends on the story. Some are really good in 1st person, but some can only work in 3rd. Depends on the story, like I said. :)
     
  17. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    These are POV's, not tones of voice.

    I prefer to read third-person ("And then he....") but writing is easier in first-person ("And then I....").
     

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