1. DoctorNovel
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    DoctorNovel Member

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    When writing a novel could you do first person narrative and author narrative?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DoctorNovel, Oct 2, 2012.

    More specifically, when writing a novel could you - yourself narrate the story
    and in some parts of the story could the protagonist narrate the story (in his or her own perspective?) simultaneously?
    have you seen this done in books or films ?

    I italicized the authors narrative while I left the protagonists narrative in plain text.
    By the way there is dialogue as well in the story

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think what you are asking is whether you can have first person and third person narrative in the same story. And the answer is yes. My usual example of this is James Michener's "The Novel", which is broken down into four sections, the first of which is done in 1st person while the others are in 3rd person. Since the third person narrative in that case refer to the character whose section was in first person (a writer named Lukas Yoder), the narrative is clearly not from that character's perspective.

    The key is to have a reasonable motive for doing so. What are you trying to achieve in having two different narrators? In "The Novel", Michener broke his story into four parts, each from a different perspective of the publishing industry - the author, the agent, the editor and the critic. Since the perspective of the author was the one he knew best, it is safe to assume that he wanted to personalize that a bit more, or at least set it apart, and hence wrote that part in first person. He could just as easily have writte it in 3rd person, and from the same perspective as the objective narrator of the other three sections.

    Do not italicize the author's narrative. All should be in plain text. Use other writing cues - separate chapters, for example - to alert the reader of the change in perspective.

    Good luck.
     
  3. DoctorNovel
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    DoctorNovel Member

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    Hmm.. that makes sense thanks! However, this might be a bit of a challenge. I might have to rewrite my first chapter then?

    My goal was to have the reader enter the mind of the protagonist so they could experience his perspective as he dictates his views on what is happening during the course of the story.
    I wanted (me) the third person narrator to kind of narrate the scenery of the environment, the expressions of the characters, and kind of paint a picture of the story while the story is progressing. I thought this method would have been beneficial to the reader so he/she could get a sense of what's going on.
     
  4. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Of course you can do both first and third person in one novel. James Pattorson sometimes does that in one of his books.

    In one of my novels, I start with first person, then sometimes I switch to third when my main character is not present in a scene. I tried to write in muiltple first person view of the characters. but it didn't work out well for me. All my characters sound the same. So I stuck with one character, and wrote in third person on the other characters in my own words.
     
  5. DoctorNovel
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    DoctorNovel Member

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    Yeah that's very similar to what I am doing MilesTro.
    Thanks for the additional advice!
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There are many things you can do, and a much smaller set that are good ideas.

    I won't say what you are doing is ALWAYS a bad idea, But it;s difficult to manage without it being intrusive.

    You want the reader immersed in the story. That kind of transition is like occasionally dashing the reader with ice water. Sure, the reader can adjust quickly and even learn to ignore it, but for what reason would you do such a thing in the first place? To be different?
     
  7. DoctorNovel
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    DoctorNovel Member

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    I thought it was much easier for me writing the story. I wanted the reader to have an idea what the protagonist was thinking despite all the events that surround the story (it's extremely imperative for the reader to know what he is thinking!) In addition - I wanted the reader not to be lost.. since this is a fiction story - entirely made up - I needed the reader to somehow have an idea what the environment is like and what is going on... so they are continuously on track progressing through the story.
    I would like to post a chapter in the novels section so I could have further feedback regarding this concern
    Thanks again.
     
  8. serowden
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    I wrote a response but deleted. In short, I often have encountered this in my own works from the past and have second guessed it, but I think it works if you separate where first and third (limited or not) changes by passages. I'm not so sure it's a good idea to blend first and third in the same passage in most situations -- but in different passages, no problem at all.
     
  9. A. G. Lucchesi
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    A. G. Lucchesi New Member

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    Yes, you definitely can! Just remember that it is YOUR novel, and whatever works for you and for the novel itself then do it.
     

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