1. frigocc

    frigocc Active Member

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    "Dueling Narrators?"

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by frigocc, Mar 15, 2019.

    So I've gone back and forth with my writing between first-person and third-person omniscient. I love how in character I can get with first-person, truly having my novel read as if my main character wrote it, but I also love third-person omniscient, where I imagine someone like Jim Broadbent narrating.

    Has anyone mixed the two? Where the majority of the time, you're in third-person omniscient, but, occasionally, the main character will chime in (probably denoted by italics), and correct the narrator, or tell that part in his own way.
     
  2. Reece

    Reece Active Member

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    I think it could work, particularly for your story. The narrator could be pointing out all the ways the MC is fucking up while the MC is convinced he is being awesome. I picture the narrator more like morgan freeman.
     
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  3. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

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    I've never written or read a book with dueling narrators, but that sounds like a very interesting experiment! If done well, I imagine it could be a refreshing and interesting read. I'd say go with it.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Sure, it can work. I've read books switching between first person and third person narrators (more than just two), and at least one that even threw a second person narrator into the mix. Give it a try and see how you like the end result.
     
  5. frigocc

    frigocc Active Member

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    I just have to figure out how often I want to have a first person interjection.

    The only example I might think of is the Stranger Than Fiction movie. I believe it does this, but haven't seen it in years.
     
  6. Elven Candy

    Elven Candy Pay no attention to the foot in my mouth Supporter Contributor

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    I imagine that's a difficult balance to achieve. Good luck to you! Who knows, maybe you'll start a new way of writing books ;).
     
  7. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    While not a written example, here you go.
     
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  8. frigocc

    frigocc Active Member

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    Lol, funniest scene I've seen in a while.
     
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  9. frigocc

    frigocc Active Member

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    Though, even though that was INCREDIBLY entertaining, I'd want it a lot less. Just an occasional interjection here and there. And only with the main character. But again, loved that.
     
  10. jannert

    jannert Super Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That is hilarious.

    And maybe an answer to the OP's question! :)
     
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  11. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    A great example would be The Girl on the Train. Three unreliable narrators.
     
  12. Flummi

    Flummi Member

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    That sounds good. I know of narrations using both the first person and the third perspective, this allows to show things to the reader that the protagonist doesn't see/know - as he/she has a narrowed perspective. The reader wants to point out "look, look here!", that's another way to bring tension into the storyline.
     
  13. Radrook

    Radrook Banned Contributor

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    You mean like this:

    Err, excuse me gentle reader, but everything that the omniscient viewpoint narrator has just said about me is a boldfaced lie! First I didn't steal that gun as he says I did. It was planted in my car by the police! Second, I did not leap through the kitchen window in order to escape arrest, I calmly opened the door and offered no resistance. Third, I didn't have a fight with my cellmate as soon as I was placed in the cell-the cell was empty except for me. God's honest truth!

    LOL!
     
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Selling fiction is hard enough. I would advise against it. I think it's better to focus on telling a good story with clarity. That is if you're planning to try and sell your work. I'm not saying you can't do it. You can do whatever you want. But if I was an editor at a publishing house something like this would have to be exceptional. I've seen it done once out of every book I read. The whole book was in first person with one chapter in third. It was handled in a very clean way. And this book was by an established writer. It's not something I would do with a first book. It's too easy to mess up and that could mess everything up. Isn't focusing on the story enough?
     
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  15. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    The only book I've read (that I recall, anyway) that had significant change in POV was Roadside Picnic.

    When the change would happen, it'd be a little jarring for about a paragraph, until I'd settled into what was happening and continued on.

    Of course, this wasn't done for the effect that you're describing. But it's easy enough for me to imagine, and certainly possible.
     
  16. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Interesting you should bring this up. I've got a idea for a coming-of-age novel where the protagonist expresses herself in first person in her diary, then after a certain point, an omniscient narrator takes over and describes what really happened. The idea being that there are certain things the MC would never write down, even though the journal is for her eyes only.

    No telling if the approach would be a success. It's just encouraging that I'm not the only one exploring the idea.
     
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  17. WingedClover

    WingedClover Member

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    I know in the Death Note novel (yes there is a novel) that the narrator is Mello and he's trying different ways to tell the story of the case to show off how smart he is.

    If you mean actually dueling narrators, the only thing I can think of is Sherlock Holmes battling Moriarty in the Game of Shadows movie.
     

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