1. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Sep 24, 2009
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    Alabama, USA

    Changing POV without being jarring or forced.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Link the Writer, May 20, 2012.

    I'm finally getting around to writing that sci-fi I always talked about, and what I have now is a POV from the perspective of one of the two pilots of the Santarnica (the ship) as he's preparing the ship to descend to a Scotia Galactic Naval Base.

    My idea as of now is to use William (the pilot) as a way to introduce to the reader the world they're entering. We learn what he's doing, what year this story is set, and, in general, what the Earth is like (ie, they're in the Scottish Empire, etc.)

    The problem is, while he does show up again and is one of the central figures of the story, he's not the main POV. That belongs to my main protagonist, Captain Helen Chert of the Santarnica. Plus, readers may expect that HE is the protagonist, since at least half a chapter centers around him, not Helen, so when we finally get into her shoes, they might not like it and end up missing William as they would know more about him than her.

    A solution could be that I just have him talk about her a bit, or maybe she actually shows up and talks to them.

  2. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    Why don't you use Helen to work with William and reveal all that background info by dialogue? It'd make it more interesting besides. Like Helen could make a comment, I dunno, "It's not like this back home!" and William replies, "Yeh I much prefer the pink sofas we have in the Scottish Empire rather than these!"

    Not pink sofas but I couldn't be bothered to think of a better example. It'd be better exposition either way.

    Make Helen very likeable - make her do something significant or intriguing. What you need is to develop immediate interest in her. In my novel, my protag comes in only after several important scenes and I basically link my previous important scenes to him. Also, the way I introduced him - the protag - was by having him save the girl whose POV I was starting with lol. First time I tried and still in first draft so can't say if it works, but it's an option!
  3. killbill

    killbill Member

    Feb 27, 2012
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    where the mind is without fear...
    I think the readers will understand why his POV was used, unless he is saving one or two girls during his voyage :) But I agree with Mckk, Helen and William working together exchanging dialogues will be far more interesting. In the second option, you can do away with William's POV and start right away with Helen's.
  4. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Enter your new POV at the beginning of a scene, or better yet, at the beginning of a chapter. Make sure the reader knows it's a changed POV through context before you bring the old POV character into the scene.

    Don't try to pass the POV like a baton in a relay race. Unless you are a master or the art, you will probably fumble it.
  5. AmyHolt

    AmyHolt New Member

    Jun 22, 2011
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    Warsaw, IN
    Start the story from the main POV, the one you will use most. If once in a while you switch that's fine but I think your right that the reader would grow fond of which ever charcters POV you start with so start with with the POV that you will use most.

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