1. Deyvion
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    Deyvion New Member

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    Who get's to tell their story? Narrator problem

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Deyvion, Feb 21, 2013.

    Hi!

    I have been struggling with deciding on a story. However, after talking to some friends and family, I have started thinking about writing a story based on real life (mine included). Now to the problem, it is supposed to be based around 4 different people and how their lives come to intertwine. How should I do with the narration? Since I am 'one of the characters', and I am, obviously very 'all-knowing' of the others, I would like to write in first-person for ALL four characters. Sort of four independent stories coming together.

    Would that work? What do you think?

    The only book I have read that I can remember changing narration is Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Myers. But that was 2, I want 4. Can it work? I have confidence in the story itself since I can honestly say it has a lot of build up, conflicts, climax, and aftermath... so the story itself can work. I just worry about the narration.

    Comments?
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps you should read more. If "Breaking Dawn" was the only book with multiple viewpoints that you read, than there is an absolute wealth of literature out there which you haven't read yet. And reading is the best school for aspiring writers.

    To answer your question - most literature has multiple viewpoints. 4 is not unusual nor typical, and can be successful, if the story is good and well written. The same goes for any proposed style or structure.
     
  3. mickaneso
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    mickaneso Member

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    Writing more viewpoints will always be more difficult, but if it's done right then it'll most likely make your story better. It's best to start small, right now I'm still sort of a beginner, so the max viewpoints I write in the story right now are two. The more skilled a writer you are the larger a project you can handle. I'd say go for it if you feel you're ready, but sometimes these things end up as being lessons and learning experiences for new writers rather than their best work.

    Your idea of writing the four first person viewpoints would work of course. It's been done in many great novels before and it'll be done by many greats in the future.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    POV is not the same as narration. Tom Clancy routinely writes using multiple points of view, but nearly all of it is written in 3rd person limited. You just have to be clear when shifting viewpoints that you give the reader sufficient clues to follow along. This also has the advantage of allowing you to describe things that the character of you would not necessarily know.

    OTOH, there have been lots of novel approaches to narration, such as Harper Lee's view-of-a-child of the events of "To Kill A Mockingbird" or Taylor Caldwell's debating spirits in "Dialogues With The Devil."
     
  5. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    George R R Martin writes from the viewpoint of a more than a dozen different characters throughout his A Song of Ice and Fire series. There the chapters are simply named "Tyrion", "Cercei", "Eddard", or the name of any other characters that particular chapter is about. This seems to work very well, and his narrative also changes slightly depending on the characters. The chapters from the point of view of childrens will have the world seem more simple and black and white, while in other, the world seems more cruel and unforgiving. I reccomend reading it as part of learning how to narrate from different viewpoints.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Selecting the POV for a scene, or for an entire story, takes experience. The initial instinct is to choose the person in the center of the action, but often a better choice is someone on the sidelines. The sideline observer may be better equipped to see the larger picture, and may be able to be more objective. Also, the person on the sidelines doesn't have firsthand knowledge of what the central character is thinking, so he or she will describe what can be perceived instead (showing).

    Switching POVs risks confusing the reader, so it's often (but not always) best to minimize th number of POV transitions.
     
  7. Malkhalifa
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    Malkhalifa Member

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    What about a narrator that has all the cards and knows what everyone is thinking?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's an omniscient POV. It can be done, but it tends to be the least interesting POV.
     

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