1. Mishka_Shaw
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    Mishka_Shaw New Member

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    What is the best way to handle rapid multiple perspectives?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mishka_Shaw, Aug 25, 2013.

    Hello

    This is quite a hard thing for me to describe so apologies if it does not make sense.
    All the books I read typically revolve around one main character and are usually 3rd person narratives with occasional 1st person inner-thoughts. Now this is all well and good but I was wondering how I would handle two or more main characters and their own perspectives/inner thoughts in rapid succession.

    I guess an example of what I am referring to would be if you had an Oceans 11 scenario where multiple characters are all performing important parts of a plan simultaneously and you wanted to have the 3rd person narrative switch between the different people as the plan goes off.

    Cheesy example:
    Steven pulled back on the throttle as his plane began to plummet, the engines no longer responding to his commands.
    "John the virus is infecting the main engines, I'm loosing power in all systems!"
    Pressing forward in his chair John began scanning the system for anomalies. It had only been five minutes since the Russian signal corrupted their systems and already it had taken out most of the fleets capabilities.
    "Steven hold on in there we almost have it resolved, Sarah have you isolated the signal yet?"
    "Almost there, just a few more metres until I reach the antennae!" shouted Sarah, her voice barely heard over the harsh blizzard engulfing the relay station.
    She grabbed the last ice encrusted rung of the ladder and pulled herself up onto the towers roof.
    "John, we have a problem!"

    Now in this terrible example we have three different perspectives in quick succession. Although it somewhat works I have noticed that it does cause confusion if used extensively as the reader ends up having trouble identifying each persons perspective unless you mention their name explicitly.

    Does anyone have a good way of handling something like this or is it better to just have a single main character and relegate the others to being in their perspective rather than having their own?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The best answer is, "Don't do it." Very few authors can pull it off without losing the reader in the confusion. Stick to one POV per scene. It you ARE that exceedingly rare author with the instincts to make quick POV shifts work, you will figure it out someday, And you still could be wrong. :)

    Frank Herbert is one of those rare authors, although in my opinion even he falls down occasionally in the attempt. His son, trying to write in his father's style, makes a total mess of it.
     
  3. sanath123
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    sanath123 Banned

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    It Depends upon our time only what time to use for multiple Perspective. As we should have our own Confidence & strength.

    3D Rendering
     
  4. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Same here. If you absolutely have to juggle perspectives, I would recommend delineating different characters' segments with something like a line of 5-10 dashes or asterisks.

    Uh, what?
     
  5. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Yeah it's probably not a good idea. I've seen it done well a few times though. You'd need to fortify strong visual queues and character voices for each POV before actually switching between them. You could probably handle 2 POVs if you're careful but anymore than that would be tedious.

    What simspon said is best though, split the POVs into segments instead of intertwining them. But then you couldn't write a scene like in your example.
     
  6. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I've only split POV's once and that was only for once chapter where my MC's partner was telling a chapter length story about her past. When I did it, I made it very clear the POV was shifting at the beginning and end of the chapter before moving on.
     

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