1. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Would a retrospective viewpoint be better?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Heather, Jul 24, 2011.

    I am currently working on a novel and am about to begin writing it, but I am unsure of which POV to use. I am much more comfortable writing in third person, so I was initially going to do that.

    However, the novel(s) are very politically based, and the narrator starts off as being 13, but my target audience is adults/late teens as, obviously, very few children are interested in politics and I am going to cover some quite dark content. To make it more applicable to adults, I was wondering if perhaps a first-person retrospective view-point would be better.

    Would you be more likely to read something about a child if it has been written from an adult retrospective viewpoint, or would it still not make any difference? Thoughts are much appreciated.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I prefer a sense of immediacy. A restrospective point of view necessarily possesses an emotional distance from the events. I'd be more inclined to use a close third person POV, with the narrative voice maturing with the character.

    That isn't the only possible approach, even presuming you hold to one dominent POV, but it's among the most straightforward and natural.
     
  3. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Thanks for your feedback :)

    See this is the debate. Because I am writing for an adult audience, would it be more appealing to write the novel(s) as though it is a politcal biography of sorts, with her looking back on it. Yes, there will be the questions raised about reliability/emotional attachment, but my narrator will be able to talk about things which happened to her at 13 in a more mature way than a 13 year-old would be able to.

    My origional intention was to have it written in third person, mainly following my MC. However, because it is about a dictatorship and a rebel groups attempts to overthrow it, I was going to have section about two other characters (one who is eventually going to get a government position, and another who is a teacher in an important school). Do you not think though, considering the MCs intiall age, many adults would be discouraged from reading?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think readers will be turned off by seeing early events through the gauzy filter of adolescence, as long as you stick to strong stolrytelling principles. Keep the reader involved and a little off balance. Always raise more questions in the begining than you answer. Develop conflict and suspense. Give the readers reasons to stick with the story.
     
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  5. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Ok then, thanks for your comments :)
     
  6. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    A common advice is to simply write a few chapters in each POV to see which one you prefer.

    Personally, I don't like kids as the main characters, but that's mostly because I have read very few adult books with children as the main characters. That said, Stephen King did a great job with It and Children of the Corn. Sure the children in CotC are villains, but that makes it even better. I mean you have children as the villains, and it's still scary as hell sometimes. That's pretty cool. (technically he only wrote CotC as a short story, so I'm thinking more about the movie. But still, it's a great story.)

    So anyway, I think your goal should be to write the best story ever. If you love it, others will love it too.
     
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  7. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the advice - I've started writing it in third-person and I think I'm going to see how it goes.

    I'm hopeing that, even though it is from the perspective of a child, she is witnessing some very adult things, and (even though she may not initially realise it) is part of a dangerous era of politics/repression - so hopefully that will make adults more likely to read it even though the MC is a child.

    I guess I'll try write it and see what comes out :p
     
  8. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    One thing to keep in mind is that she's just a kid. I've seen far too often people forgetting about that and treating the kid like an adult. But just because she sees adult things, she's still a kid. ;)
     
  9. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Yea, I'm gunna try and bear that in mind. I also have to keep reminding myself that I was/am much more interested in politics and things than most other 13-18 year olds are :p

    I like the idea that she will see/experience things which are much more important than she realises at the time, because she is just a child, but the reader will hopefully get the significance.
     
  10. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you can do both of those, I think the story can be really good. :)
     
  11. heather_ashcraft
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    heather_ashcraft Member

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    odd how im working o nthe same sort of politically charged story

    me personally?i prefer a sort of first person point of veiw that jumps from character to character at times depending on the scene,or zooms off to a third person point of veiw,but always returns to the main character

    i beleive the first person veiwpoint jumping from character to character is good in smaller interactions where there are only afew major characters on-the-idea-front at once..then when larger perspectives are necciscary,try zooming off to a sort of third person point of veiw,case in point? battles between factions involving major characters...

    be flexible,you need not a monopolar point of veiw

    think of it like a camera on a videogame,you switch to first person to get better intimate detail on events when its a small amount of characters onscreen at once,then when things get more intense and widescreen,you zoom the camera out to get a better veiw and maintain a thourough flow of events that allows you to continue on
     
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  12. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Thanks for your feeback, Heather, I'll bare that in mind while I'm writing - varying it a bit may come in useful for some scenes later on, especially as I want to show how the events happening are affecting a large number of the population.
    Thanks :)
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nearly all Rumer Godden's novels were written with a young adolescent as the MC, from the kid's POV, and it didn't stop her portraying the full range of 'adult' emotions. Also look at Atonement which has a teenage POV at the start, and then the protagonist matures. Seeing things from the young protagonist's POV can give an even more intense feel.
     
  14. heather_ashcraft
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    heather_ashcraft Member

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    ah yes,i beleive protagonist POV should be the main center of the thing..it allows people to have a nice little focal point that solidifys the experience in there minds

    though in some cases its very important to be flexible as i previously stated..

    but also sometimes depending on the book,it can be entirely told from one person`s POV and still work great

    just find what works best for you
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    "To Kill A Mockingbird" was written from a child's POV, but as an adult looking back. Seemed to work out okay. I think it comes down to what you're most comfortable working with.
     
  16. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Yea, this is what I was debating doing to get the experiences of when she was a child, but her adult view on it.

    Thanks for the comments guys, I'ver started writing the first few chapters in third person so I'm going to see how that turns out. If it's sounding too much like a children's novels I think I'll change to first person POV and see if it helps
    :)
     

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