Tags:
  1. ObsidianVale

    ObsidianVale New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ontario

    A matter of perspective

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ObsidianVale, Jul 28, 2009.

    Ok so i have written the frist chapter of my story recently and it's in 3rd person narrative. I have been very happy with this until i read a story recently and it was in 1st person narrative and i liked it. I liked what it did for the story. So now im thinking of rewriting the first chapter in 1st person POV.

    so my question is which do you prefer? what do you find are the Pro's and Con's to using 1st or 3rd person narrative.
     
  2. architectus

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,795
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    I enjoy stories written in both, but I do love a good first person. My favorite novel is written in first person, but my next favorite is written in third person.

    I don't like present tense, though.
     
  3. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    36,168
    Likes Received:
    2,820
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    First person perspective is less flexible than third person, and requires more expertise to do well. It's only advantage is that it locks the POV to that one perspective in both obhective and subjective ways. You can also do that with third person, but revising subjective observations may seem more natural in first person. This makes it a frequent choice for mysteries, in which the protagonist revises his or her view of the overall picture based on the accumulation of clues.

    However, in most cases third person is a more flexible POV. You can more naturally detach it to other third person POVs in the story to view the scenes from different perspectives than with first person. Third person can be every bit as intimate as first person, focusing in even on the thoughts of the current POV character.

    I would recommend sticking with third person unless you have a strong, specific reason for locking youirself into a first person POV.

    Multiple first person POVs in the same story are usually a bad idea, although I have seen successful and effectivce use of two first person POVs.
     
  4. marcusl

    marcusl New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Imagine if I started a story with something like:

    The male students stared at Mary as she exited through the school gate. Mary loved having their attention.

    Is this considered bad, because the first sentence starts with the male students, while the second revolves around Mary? Would this be considered a sudden perspective change? I haven't explored the male students' thoughts, though. So, if I started a story like this, could I still say that the tale unfolds from Mary's perspective?

    Thank you.
     
  5. witch wyzwurd

    witch wyzwurd New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    349
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Racine, Wisconsin
    Both sentences are narrative. There's no perspection change.

    The following would be bad to start with:

    The male students stared at Mary as she exited through the school gate. I loved having their attention.

    or

    We stared at Mary as she exited through the school gate. I loved having their attention.

    You're thinking of whose brain is being focused on. The male students stared (meaning information went through their eyes). Mary loved (Mary's emotions). If you wrote a story with your rules, then every sentence would have to be:

    Mary did this or that
    Mary went here or there
    etc...

    Nothing could ever be done to Mary. We would only be able to see it from her eyes, which would limit the narration. Might as well make it first person then: I did this or I did that or I went here or I went there.
     
  6. DragonGrim

    DragonGrim New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Iowa
    Actually, you’re on the right track to understanding how to write well.

    That’s what a narrator does --- describes what the characters in the story are doing.
     
  7. architectus

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,795
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    Everything in those two sentences are information Mary would know. She would know the students are staring at her. She would know she liked the attention.

    If you previousLY said Mary's back was turned to thte students, and suddenly she knows they are staring at her, I have to wonder if she has eyes in the back of her head, or if she has super senses.

    But if you wrote: Mary turned her back to the students. She had a feeling all their eyes were focused on her, which she didn't mind because she liked the attention.

    That is fine. The following is not fine.

    Mary ran into her classroom, late again. Two classes down, Bob drew on his homework assignment.

    Though Bob's thoughts aren't shared, how could Mary (the POV) character know what Bob was doing?

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Beaumont Hardy

    Beaumont Hardy New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, marcusl. The narrator in your example is omniscient--all-seeing and all-knowing. This kind of narration is common and works very well in fiction. If you told the story from the first-person point of view (from Mary's point of view, for example), you could only describe what Mary sees or what she thinks. The omniscient narrator allows the reader to see into all of the characters' heads or to see what they are all doing. (With an omniscient narrator, you could even add a sentence like, "The male students loved knowing that Mary enjoyed their attention.")
     
  9. J.P.Clyde

    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    979
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Underground
    Well I kind of added a one sided comment to something for a friend on the novel section. Either way it made me think, how ones thoughts change perspective of how we write.

    I am talking about the different thinking types:

    -Audio Thinkers
    -Textual Thinkers
    -Conceptual Thinkers
    -Visual Thinkers

    How do all these different types of thinkers, write? And how does it affect writing?
     
  10. Renee J

    Renee J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    220
    Location:
    Reston, VA
    Is an audio thinker one who thinks out loud?

    I think I'm a conceptual thinker. I have to rewrite over and over to get everything down. It develops as I rewrite.
     
  11. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,157
    Likes Received:
    1,030
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    huh?

    i've never heard of a division in thinking/thinkers... who decides what kind a person is?... and how?
     
  12. Bryan Romer

    Bryan Romer Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    889
    Likes Received:
    387
    Apart from not seeing a mental ticker tape of text scrolling through my mind, I and most people would likely do all of them at one point or another.
     
  13. stevesh

    stevesh Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    966
    Likes Received:
    651
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan USA
    I wonder if J.P. meant type of memory. I have a very visual memory. If we're introduced, I'll likely forget your name by the end of the party, but I'll remember every detail of what you looked like for months.
     
  14. J.P.Clyde

    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    979
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Underground
    I meant thinking.

    Such as for examples. We have two people needing directions to a location:

    -My friend, he thinks in pictures. He says he can construct the map in his mind and the way the road works. He thinks on the relations on objects and streets

    -Where as another friend of mine remembers the words for the directions, she says she sees words in her minds as they form

    That's thinking
     
  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,345
    Likes Received:
    13,069
    I've read that there are two major ways of forming mental models for complex concepts. The majority of the population uses one way; the majority of computer programmers use the other way. Thus explaining why so many people can't use their computers.
     
  16. grimmsistr

    grimmsistr Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    land of Andersen's fairytales
    You are talking about the theories of the different learning styles or Howard Gardner's theory of the seven different intelligences right?

    These are theories that have been talked about alot in the danish educational system for a while and I Work in the preeschool system so Ive learned a bit about them.

    three examples of Garners intelligences are: the Visual - the kinestetic/bodily - the musical/auditory

    Where a Visual thinking person might learn and think best by using images and be very aware of their visual surroundings a Auditive thinking person might learn and think best by hearing or even reading Words and a Kinestetic might learn and think best by activily doing the thing he or she reads about.

    Its an interesting question you ask. How does that change the perspective and perhaps style of the writer if he/she is one or the other of those types of "intelligence personalities"?

    I for instance consider myself a Visual learner and I think it does affect my writing in the way that I tend to discribe the scenery and how my characters look a lot and sometimes to the extent that readers tell my Im being too "info dumpy" :)
     
    Renee J likes this.
  17. Feral Inferno

    Feral Inferno Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    I was always a bit critical of my own work. Always wondering if it was any good. I've never had my work critiqued before, so I didn't know how good it was.

    When reading over my own story I always read it from my perspective; the writer's perspective. You, more or less, already know what's gonna happen and who your characters are. I don't know how to explain it... I just couldn't read it like I would someone else's story.

    A bit off topic but still related, I started reading a universally acclaimed fanfic (Fallout: Equestria), and, what do you know, reading really does improve your writing. I love the story and started writing mine better.

    But, there was still the problem of my reading perspective. I didn't know how much better my writing was. Until recently, I had forced myself into a reader's mindset: I had no idea what was going to happen, I didn't know who the characters were, I barely knew the setting. I read what I had written with a reader's perspective and found out... it was pretty good.

    This occurrence, which I hope I can duplicate in the future, certainly made me more confident in my writing.

    I know, I could have just given it to someone close to read and get feedback, but I'm not ready for that stage yet. Besides, the only people I'd be willing to let read my story at this time are my immediate family members, and I know they're not gonna be honest with me.

    I realize that I may have been rambling, but I just wanted to share an epiphany I had. Thank you for sticking with it (if you did). I could have probably made this into a blog.

    And, a question I guess I could ask: Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you ever had an epiphany about your own writing?
     
  18. jonahmann

    jonahmann Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2014
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    44
    Location:
    Australia
    You do cheat when reading your own work. Sometimes taking a long break from it will help.

    Maybe try joining a writer's group and ask them if they want to read your work.
     
  19. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Supporter Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,686
    Likes Received:
    3,168
    Location:
    Boston
    Yes, getting others to read your work would be great. There's no substitute for having actual potential readers read your work and offer some feedback.
     
  20. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    5,106
    Likes Received:
    3,167
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I don't think it's possible to completely separate yourself from your writing and come at it purely as a reader might. That's why it's a good idea to have someone else read it. But that's not always a foolproof method, either, because, as a good friend of mine recently pointed out, writers who critique other writers may be more interested in what's wrong than what's right, and you need to know both. A good beta-reader - that is, one who understands what you're trying to do and focuses on how you're doing with that - is worth his/her weight in gold.

    Comparing your writing to that of others is a good reality check, especially if you don't yet feel comfortable having your work critiqued by others. You don't want to be imitative, but you can usually see where your writing isn't working compared to someone else's.
     
  21. A.J. Pruitt

    A.J. Pruitt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    @ Feral Inferno; Your topic thread is a great discussion topic at a book club or a writers club. The discussion will go on indefinitely because of the fact that we are all individuals. This speaks for people who read and critique your work as well.

    When I was starting out as a hopeful writer many years ago, I would tear myself to shreds when I would get a response from someone who analyzed my writing. At times, during those early years, I was ready to give up on a career in writing. Fortunately, and I use that word in the strongest terms, I attended an English literature course at the University of British Columbia where William Messenger was our professor. He wrote (co-authored actually) the best ever selling and now Canadian writer’s bible, “The Canadian Writers Handbook”. He said that we must always remember that an amateur who critiques is an individual who reads, for the most part, on an emotional level. That is to say, will over look many grammatical and structural errors if the genre of the manuscript relates to their personal liking. An amateur analyzer will do the opposite if he or she does not connect with the genre of the manuscript. Others will criticize just for the sake of feeling they have to pick apart the author’s work to give themselves credibility.

    A person who has been a manuscript critique at a professional level for an extended length of time will have learned to read manuscripts with the mechanics of writing at the forefront of his or her mind. The genre of the manuscript means little to a bona-fide professional.

    If you are looking for a serious response to your writing, spend a few dollars to have your manuscript critiqued by a dedicated professional who will critique the mechanics of your writing.

    When you do receive the response from the professional, it is critical that you, read, analyze, and be willing to accept his or her critique as a genuine tool to better your writing skills. Never think their response to your writing is a personal slam against you, the author.
     
  22. Ex Leper

    Ex Leper Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    52
    So here's the problem: I can't decide from what perspective to write my story. Third person or first? I see the whole story laid out in front of me and two very different ways of telling it.

    The third person way is more conventional, dare I say forumlaic, but is easier to write. The key point for me is I can get a really exciting opening hook from this method, before calming down for the first act.

    The first person perspective is less conventional, the way I plan to use it, and therefore trickier to get right. My main problem with this is I would lose the exciting opening hook that the third person offers. But, this is my prefered method of writing my story.

    Let me go into more detail:

    THIRD PERSON

    Prologue - recount events from two years ago. Tense, exciting opening. Main character doesn't know about these events until the third act. In this version story opens with a ton of questions and no answers. A decent hook.

    First Act - slow build to second act.

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrator is clearly speaking to the reader from after the events of the book and is recounting the events. In recounting the events she recounts the account of another character. So, a narrative within a narrative within a narrative. Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Fits my story very well. Problem is it would be a very slow, possibly awkward hookless opening.

    Any body else encounter problems like this? What would you do?
     
  23. carsun1000

    carsun1000 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    33
    I know the feeling. It's really hard to decide sometimes which way to go. What I had done in the past was to write a full first chapter in both perspectives. I then read each one of them aloud and made a choice from that point. I went with the third person because I found it easier to "recount" as opposed to "being" the action. This worked for me. Not sure it would do wonders for others. But the perspective you find easiest to write is probably the way to go.
     
  24. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    2,464
    Likes Received:
    3,858
    Location:
    SC, USA
    There's actually a pretty recent thread over here that might have some posts you might fund useful.

    You could always do your prologue in third and then switch to first. Or, find some other hook in the 1p recounting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  25. mad_hatter

    mad_hatter Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2014
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    England
    I don't get what you're trying to do with your first person perspective. Is the narrator a character within the story? If not, and they're telling somebody else's story, then they are, essentially, you. And therefore, this middle-man (so to speak) becomes unnecessary.

    In third person, you will write: 'She walked into the house...' In first person, you will write: 'I walked into the house...'

    What you're talking about doing would end up looking more like: '"She walked in to the house," I told her.' You'll end up having a whole third-person story told within the dialogue of a first person character. It'd become even more confusing if there's dialogue in the story: '""No, thank you," she said, as she left the house," I told her.' If fact, reading the OP, you’re talking about a story within a story within a story. So, perhaps: '""The girl screamed at the monster, “Leave me alone!”” she said to the children,” I told her.’ Of course, you could do this, but I feel it would become incredibly difficult for your readers. You’d soon lose them. Can you think of any examples of something similar to what you’re thinking of?

    I could be completely misunderstanding what you’re planning to do here, so please correct me if I’m wrong.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice