1. JeffD
    Offline

    JeffD Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1

    Writing Points of View

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JeffD, Apr 28, 2011.

    If there is another thread on this please direct me to it. I did a couple of searches and couldn't find anything on it to satisfy what I want.

    How do you write your point of view? What do you think of certain points of view??

    I'm having trouble with mine, because the main character in my story is brand new to his world and brand new to his life as well. A sort of Adam-like person. At first I was writing pure first person, that made everything feel so redundant though, describing a deer's appearance put me over the edge. I wanted it to feel real and consistent but that just irritated me and I'm sure it would irritate the reader as well. Any suggestions and examples as to what you think I should do??

    I've been reading this forum for a couple months now, just never posted anything, but many of you have great experience and have shared advice to others. Thank you for helping out in advance.
     
  2. Youniquee
    Offline

    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Under your bed.
    I write in the 3rd person limited, meaning it's only from one characters eyes. They can't know what the other character thinks or feels, they only observe the actions. In my narrative, depending on the character I try to make it sound like the characters voice (Eg. One of my characters usually doesn't use words like They're, or We'll, only certain times when I think it flows better)

    As for your question, I had to describe a deer as well! You don't need to go into detail, be kinda vague because everyone knows how a deer looks like. Mention it's odd horns and maybe the designs on the coat. Mainly focus of the characters confusion of the odd animal/object he encounters.

    For example: Warning, bad example ahead due to it being from the first draft of my story xD

    Something like that. I don't know if described the deer properly, but as you see, I didn't go into detail.
    Since the character is to this world, describe only the things that he wouldn't have seen before at all in his world. Is this new world Earth?
    Another thing about first person, is that don't ramble. Only add the characters thoughts when it's needed. I realised this with POV too and I've stopped adding some much inter monologues.

    I hope this helped.
     
  3. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    I think there have been several threads about POV, but if they're not answering your questions I guess we'll try again :D I'm not really sure what the question is though? I am in the middle of two novels at the moment. One is written in first person POV from a wolf's perspective and the other novel is being written in third person with a female (human) MC.

    I don't have any particular love or distaste for any POV, it's how you do it. I think any POV can work if you do it well.

    I think maybe I don't understand what you're asking?
     
  4. JeffD
    Offline

    JeffD Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you very much.

    Youniquee: Haha, that's pretty funny that you had to describe a deer as well. So would you even mention the word deer later? I want the audience to know what it is with as little detailing support as possible, yet still be true to the point of view.

    I know what you mean, for some reason I type very proper sometimes then read it and think to myself that no normal person would speak that way.

    The main character is in the same position as Adam was, newly created, no experience, yet has the intelligence of an average adult and perhaps even more intelligent.

    I'm finding it a fun little challenge to find the perfect balance of vivid and vague. I hope your book writing goes well, may Anieli have a great adventure or find the love of his life or both.

    You helped very much, thank you.

    Trish: Yes I know there were many discussions, but I got kind of picky on the details and wanted to start my own. I hope you don't mind haha.

    So the wolf in your story is an actual wolf or a werewolf??

    That's good that you have no preference on POV, so you have a non biased opinion as to which is preferable for this situation.

    Let me set up this question, I have a newly formed creation, he is human, no experience, yet is just as intelligent as you and i. He's discovering things out for the first time, so before you say that the deer has horns, you have to say that there are protrusions from the animals head. The first time he sees an animal, it's not like him or his wife, so he has to describe that it isn't like him or his wife but it moves and breathes like they do.

    Literally everything is new to him, but he is smart enough to know that this is different from that and he should name it so it can be categorized.

    I'm thinking that this would get annoying to over analyze every single thing as long as he has the time to, because even though it's common to us it is brand new to him and is interesting.

    So my question is, would that get annoying and how should I go about avoiding it? Should I go omniscient or limited? What would be your advice? First or third would be a personal choice. Whatever other help you can offer would be welcomed as well. Thank you :)
     
  5. Youniquee
    Offline

    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Under your bed.
    I'm back~ xD
    I didn't mention a deer later, because 'deer' isn't in Anieli's vocab..so it wouldn't make sense :p
    Describe what the characters sees, like maybe the big stuff that will make the reader know what you're talking about like...the deer example~ Deers have 4 legs, maybe he could mention they have an extra pair of legs, that is another hint at the reader what it might be.

    Don't think your readers are dumb ;D they have imagination and even with a few hints, the imagination will fill the rest. It won't be exactly what you imagined when writing it, but as long as you got the point across. He doesn't need to analyse everything different he sees, maybe the huge things like cars. The POV is up to you, whatever works well with your story. But I personally find Limited fun to write. If you have a lot of characters, omniscient would be easier.

    And Thank you, I hope you do well on your writing as well ^^
    I hoped that helped...and I didn't just repeat myself xD
     
  6. Trish
    Offline

    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,986
    Likes Received:
    224
    Location:
    New York
    The wolf in my story is an actual wolf, no werewolves for me :p I don't know really which would be best in your situation. Maybe if you focus more on the wonder of discovering new things, his amazement, it won't feel so bogged down? My wolf sees things and she uses normal english words for them, not because those are likely to be in any animals head, but because I don't want to get bogged down. Now humans she calls "Two-Legs" because those are foreign to her. But I haven't begun her story at the very beginning of wolf existence so I only describe those things that are foreign to her differently, to more firmly show the reader that they are foreign. If that makes sense. Also I think interspersing emotions for how he feels about what he is seeing helps to make it less daunting. Example:

    That's an excerpt from the wolf story and though she is describing something (granted that one has a name) in detail, her reactions are in there, and I think that helps make it work.
     
  7. popsicledeath
    Offline

    popsicledeath Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    71
    What's the story about? If the story is about an Adam-like character who describes everything he sees for the duration of the manuscript, then that's not going to be interesting no matter what the pov or styling, because that's not a story.

    It might be a situation where you'll be best to employ an omniscient narrator at first, to establish the situation and premise, and then transition that into a limited pov. That way, the reader understands the situation, and it doesn't take a ton of pages of the MC bumbling around for us to piece together he's new to the world, not just retarded or an alien, or something.

    Also keep in mind if you're writing in scenes, you can 'skip' a lot of stuff. Instead of having the character bumble around for a dozen pages, describing a deer, then a bee, then a tree, etc, you can just open with one short scene to establish the situation.

    Then, end the scene and open with another at a point further along where the character knows more stuff, and is more functional, so we aren't just spending tons of time having the same basic idea of 'character doesn't understand what an object is so it's described ad naseum until the reader gets it' repeated over and over.

    We don't need every moment of a character's existence on the page. Use scenes to depict the important moments, that give us an idea of what's going on in general, without needing to get every moment. Meaning, a new relationships wouldn't be page after page documenting every day of the relationship, but maybe a scene where they first meet, then a scene where they first kiss, maybe their first fight, etc, and if written well we understand what has happened in context and subtext.

    It's going to be a tough thing to write if a character doesn't know things, and there isn't any way for them to learn, as then a tree isn't a tree, but whatever the character calls it. So, you've either got to have a story of gibberish, or with a glossary for literally every word, or you have to be potentially disingenuous with the pov (meaning, if you're in a limited pov, the character won't know the name for tree, so you shouldn't use that name).

    My advice is to do like Trish's example, and use a bit of a hybrid POV, where you're staying limited to the character to build empathy, but also are technically omni in that you're naming and referring to things that the character hasn't named. It's a tough balancing act, though, and hard to pull off without having the story end up distant due to the very fact that the reader will be distant, and we'll not exclusively be a part of the character's story/experiences, but be forced to just watch them (instead of be them). You'll have to have really tight, exact prose and an extremely interesting premise to pull off a pov with this structural disconnect and distance required for the pov.

    It's why so many stories like this have some sort of event/gimmick/device that gets everyone at least on the same language, like the universal translator in Star Trek (or my favorite is the little repair-bot that injects the human alien with translator microbes in Farscape). You might consider some gimmick like this, just to make the story about a naive, inexperience character, instead of one having to painstakingly describe even the most basic things in his environment for the sake of the reader's basic comprehension.

    Whether that's finding books, or drinking from a fountain of knowledge or having a vision or a mentor shows up, if it's not too gimmicky or unbelievable, a reader will appreciate it. Then the story can be about something other than a character clumsily and painstakingly describing every little thing for hundreds of pages.
     
  8. Velox
    Offline

    Velox Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Messages:
    137
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    POVs...they're an interesting writing tool, and I like first, second, and third person. What it just comes down to is how it's written. My least favorite is second person, but only because that's also the one that's harder to write and what people usually do not do as well in [it can also seem to get repetitive sometimes, as often your only pronoun is "you"]. I'm also not sure if I'd like a whole book in second person, as I've only read short stories using that POV.

    I really like first person, but again it has to be well done, because you also have to have a very good and interesting character or it can get boring. A perfect example of this would be Jim Butcher and his Dresden files. Those books are absolutely fantastic and would not be half as good if they were written in third person. And that's because in first person you get more characterization, which is a biggy for me and something I always look for/enjoy in a book. Which is what makes the Dresden Files so awesome, because Harry Dresden is such an amusing, interesting, and overall awesome character.

    Third person is most likely my favorite because I am more easily satisfied with third person. It's also nice because you have more characters and more intricate plots to deal with [and while I admit that that is one of the great things about first person; how it's focused on one character/one plot, I do enjoy having more as well].

    The one I usually write in is third person. I always try to give a lot of the characters' thoughts, as I do love characterization. It's easier and also is quicker to write. However, I do love writing in first person. It just takes longer for me and is harder because I like to go so in depth with the character, and so usually with that it becomes less of an action story and more focused on emotions. But it is definitely really fun to just imagine myself as the character, imagine myself in the story, doing what the character would be doing, and then putting it on paper [obviously that's done with third person, too, but not so extensively].

    I've only written one thing in second person, and it was probably less than five hundred words. It was just a little opening few paragraphs to a collection of stories I wrote for another site. I may try writing an actual second-person short story some time, but who knows.

    ---

    Now advice:

    With your story, I would recommend doing first person if you can. It looks like you're trying to focus on this character, and first person is awesome for that. Again, though, it can be harder and more tedious to write it, as you really have to know your character better than you know yourself, and be able to know how he would act no matter what came at him. So with the deer thing for example, if YOU were Adam, what would you see in it? What would you think about it? For something like this, I would definitely focus on emotions and feelings. The amount of description is just up to you. If your whole story is going to have a lot of description [like Tolkien], then I would try to describe it in-depth. Which also depends on the character when you're writing in first person. Is he someone that would look at the small details of things, or just in general? For example, would he see that it's brown, medium-sized with horns, or would he see its four legs, its exact shade, its different colors if it has any, it's eye color, it's nose color, the size of it's antlers, the expression on its face, the way it stands, what it's looking at, what it's doing, etc.?

    I can totally relate to your irritation, though. Sometimes it can be very stressful and irritating to write a story. My advice? Push through it. Sometimes your writing will suck, and sometimes it will seem like a six year old can write better than you, but I really suggest just trying to push through and write, no matter how bad it may seem. Because then you'll just end up like me and you'll stop writing for long periods of time and you'll always be longing to get back into it but you won't want to because you'll have this state of mind where you think your writing won't be good, or it'll be too stressful/etc. to write. Because eventually your writing will get better [sometimes it just depends on moods -- there's always times when you feel like writing, and you write well, and then times when you don't feel like writing and write horrible, or even when you want to but you still write horrible =P], and then you can always go back and fix it. But I think the most important thing is just finishing a story. I have so many stories [too many to count] that I've started but never finished, and I wished I would, because sometimes I'll feel like going back and fixing something instead of writing something new, but I won't have anything to fix.

    Also, I would try to write not for the reader, but first and foremost for yourself. Maybe it's just me, but I actually enjoy stories that would focus on small details, but it also depends on how it's written. It can be good or bad, and it depends on you. But, as I said above, I would try to write it, and then come back and fix it later if you need to.

    So yeah, in short: You need to figure out what your character would do, and if you feel like you know your character enough, go for first person -- especially if your story only has one character and its focus is on him and his thoughts.
     
  9. JeffD
    Offline

    JeffD Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1
    Wow, this was all great advice. I thank you all for helping out, I'm glad that I posted this thread here.

    Sorry about my delayed posting. I'm in Afghanistan right now fighting the good fight, haha, and I get distracted out here quite often with many different things. Being out here is a main reason for why I am writing actually. Writing a book about hope and faith keeps me going strong out here. Don't worry though, I'm good at finishing things I start and once I return home to America I will have much more free time to finish writing and editing this book.

    Everything was a great help, I have a better picture now of what I must do. I'll try to participate in these forums more often. Have a wonderful day everyone!
     

Share This Page