1. TyroScribe
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    TyroScribe Member

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    Which POV Would You Choose?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TyroScribe, Aug 12, 2009.

    Hi, I'm TyroScribe. I'm in the extremely early phases of writing my first book series. I've been struggling to decide which point of view to write the series in.

    In order to help, I'll give a brief summary on the series plot. Basically, it's about three separate families with a person in one of the families acting as the main character. The other two families have their own conflicts that play into the main character's conflicts and agenda.

    Since my book will have 15-20 chapters in it, I wanted to reserve 5 of those chapters for a 3rd person omniscient POV and then cover the rest with first person. Would this be good idea? I'd welcome any advice or opinions that anyone has. Thanks! :)
     
  2. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    A few questions for you:

    Why would you want to start out in omniscient?

    Why would you want to write in first person?

    Why can't the story be told in third person limited from start to finish?
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I'd advise third person all the way, not because its intrinsically better, but because its clearly the easiest way to deal with this kind of structure. It will enable to you move down into the level of a single character's thoughts, or right out to a position where you can explore the entire history of a family/place if need be, all smoothly.

    There are plenty of existing threads about the general differences between first and third person perspectives, but in your case, I think third the whole way would work best. And certainly don't limit yourself with an arbitrary number of chapters before you even begin...
     
  4. TyroScribe
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    TyroScribe Member

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    Why would you want to start out in omniscient?

    I don't actually. I'd like to start the first few chapters in first person and have the third person narrative scattered around in 5 non-consecutive chapters throughout the book. However I am beginning to think this isn't a good option.

    Why would you want to write in first person?

    I want the reader to develop a strong emotional connection with the core character. The core character is a very imperfect person and I think first person could convey that sense well.

    Why can't the story be told in third person limited from start to finish?

    I'm open to doing it that way, I just think that third person omniscient might provide more entertaining content for the reader since they are able to participate in different "theaters" (the families).

    Thank you for posting Kas! I look forward to reading the rest of your advice. :)

    Arron, thanks for your advice as well. How do both of you view the third person omniscient view for my plot's structure?
     
  5. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Switching to omniscient could work, but it also could be a challenge to write the transition. What would you be covering in those chapers? Always make sure that whatever you're writing is essential to the story in some way. Otherwise it's just fluff.

    If you need to switch from the main character to reveal something important, you might consider switching characters, and keep the entire thing TPL. If all of your characters are well developed, it shouldn't be too difficult to change skins for a few chapters. It can be really fun, too, if some of your minor characters are especially interesting. If you play your cards right, the reader should be looking forward to getting to know those characters better, and seeing events through their eyes.

    I would definitely recommend third person limited as opposed to first. You can probably get just as intimate with TPL, and you can even show your character's voice in the narrative. You can describe his/her thoughts and feelings just as well. Pretend you're writing first person and replace the I with name/he/she. For most basic purposes, there's little difference beyond the superficial.

    There are various reasons why first person is more difficult to write well, and you could just search for the relevant threads to find out more. . . I think we have that debate at least once a month here.;)

    But here's something to consider. . Some people have a strong aversion to FP, and some won't even read it. But nobody hates third person that way. Also, publishers are known to cringe at first person submissions from new authors. Unless you have a great reason to do otherwise, it makes sense to give readers and publishers what they want.

    One more thought: If your character is seriously flawed/emotional, first person could actually be a disaster. I think it might be very difficult to write this in a way that wouldn't irritate your readers. With TPL you can tone it down a bit when necessary, or show/describe as much as you want. I think TPL gives you more control. In first person, you're completely confined to your character's head space, and that can be frustrating.
     
  6. TyroScribe
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    TyroScribe Member

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    Thanks a lot Kas! The reasoning you presented makes so much sense. I didn't consider how restrictive first person can be and in this particular plot I have in mind, I need a lot of flexibility. :)
     
  7. Kingt2
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    Kingt2 New Member

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    Personally, I think it would be rather strange to switch from 1st to 3rd...

    First person stories are good for those which we follow the main character around and, though things are going on elsewhere, we only know that which the main character knows.

    Which makes third person nice for stories like yours because we can go from family one to family two to family three, etc with the same apparent narrator. If you start out with "I did..." and I saw..." we are hearing the story from the narrators perspective. If all of a sudden we start hearing about things that the main character neither heard nor saw, we begin to feel like a new narrator has come into the story; a strange transition indeed.

    I also agree with Kas, since you are writing as the character in FP, you have to write it with that person's personality. It has to be the character telling the story.

    Good luck
     
  8. TyroScribe
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    TyroScribe Member

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    Thanks King. I think I'll write the story in the style that J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series. It seems like it might work if done correctly and it's in third person.

    I appreciate everyone's input. You've helped me sort this mess out big time haha. :p

    Of course, I'd welcome more input if anyone has tips on how to write in third person.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'd recommend third person limited, particulary to anyone who has to ask. :)

    You should probably avoid third omniscient. Almost every story is more interesting from a more restricted point of view, particularly a POV associated with a character.

    This may help: What's Your Point (of View)?
     
  10. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Omniscience also poses interesting problems in explaining the way a narrator functions. If, as omniscience implies, the narrator knows everything, then how do you explain the way they tell a story? Are they deliberately misleading the reader? For what purpose? What is their motive? etc etc etc
     
  11. TyroScribe
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    TyroScribe Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. :cool:
     

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