1. Michael00002

    Michael00002 New Member

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    Is there Authorial Voice in Extreme, 3rd-person deep POV?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Michael00002, May 22, 2018.

    Hi,
    This is driving me crazy, so any help and thoughts would be appreciated.

    I'm writing my story in third-person. I guess it would be called deep-pov. Basically I'm trying to convey the story as if the Character IS the Narrator. So everything is experienced as if through the character.

    So my question is: Where is the author's voice in all this? Mine.

    If I truly commit to this extremely close 3rd person pov--and was completely successful with it--would there ideally be NO authorial voice? Or maybe they one and the same?

    Taking this logic further, if I wrote another book with the same narration style but wildly different characters, would this new book completely feel like a different author wrote it?

    I'm asking because I have a few things as an author I want to convey through my voice--some fun quips and whatnot--but I feel I can't squeeze them in when committing absolutely to this narration style.

    I feel like I'm gaining a very experiential storytelling style but losing anything that could be achieved with authorial voice. And basically want to get the best of both worlds, if possible.

    Thanks again.
     
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would say that if you are writing in "deep" 3rd person limited, then no, your voice as the author has no business there. That would be narrative intrusion of the truly intrusive variety, and at the depth you say you wish to write the POV, it would be the most jarring.

    The story I am currently writing is revolving 3rd person limited. Each chapter is a different character focus. It's certainly not easy to remain off the page - me, the writer - but I'm trying very hard.

    Others will surely have other things to say. All of this is only ever opinion.
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll I said I write, didn't say good. :P Supporter Contributor

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    Third POV limited, that is what you are talking about.
    Bit like first, but written in third style.

    You are also talking about 'voice', and it all depends.
    Usually you find your voice as you write. And as you
    improve so will your voice. Though voice does not mean
    your literal thoughts and ideas, but your style and such.

    Series should have the same type of narration style to keep things
    consistent with the story line and continuity.

    Hope this helps a smidgen, and good luck with your works. :superagree:
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I agree with @Wreybies that if you're writing in deep third the only authorial voice you can use is that of your character (since your character doesn't exist, your character's voice is your voice, but you're filtering it through the characterization).

    So if your character isn't the sort who would make clever quips, you shouldn't be making clever quips if you're writing deep third. Sorry!

    But there is a technique (especially used in third) where authors zoom in and out of depth. JK Rowling uses it well in the first HP book (and may use it elsewhere-I only read the first one). She starts in omniscient third and gives us a bird's-eye-view of the setting, then zooms in to Harry and stays with him for the rest of the chapter, but gives us more omniscient later on as needed. I don't think she goes all the way to deep, but I don't see why it couldn't be done. For my taste I think the more distant bits should be at natural breaks in the story (new scenes or chapters) to avoid jarring readers, but that should be workable.

    Have a look at HP, play with it a bit... I think there's potential!
     
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  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    This depends on the author, and I don't think either way is good or bad: just different. BayView's characters don't all sound the same but there's an overarching style that's hers. If you gave me five books and asked me which was written by her, I'm sure I could identify it pretty quickly (the same is probably true of Wrey and Cave Troll but I'm not familiar enough with their work to bet my money on it yet. :D) On the other side, how many guessed that Robert Galbraith was J K Rowling? Who would've guessed The Casual Vacancy was hers if she'd used another secret pseudonym? There's a very distinctive 'voice' in Harry Potter but it's not Rowling's voice, because it doesn't appear in her other books (IMO). Clearly, this hasn't hampered her writing career.

    I think what you need to be careful of is breaking POV and authorial intrusion. But I wouldn't worry too much about what your author voice is or how distinctive it is.
     
  6. Michael00002

    Michael00002 New Member

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    You all are so awesome. Such well thought out replies. This really helps a ton. Voice and POV are interesting and sometimes complicated subjects. I really appreciate it!
     
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  7. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed, and even in published works, it's easy to compare and contrast levels of success and fidelity as regards sticking to the POV. I've been reading The Expanse novels and also A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) rather concurrently. Both sets of books are written in the same revolving 3rd person limited style, chapter by chapter, character by character. The Expanse novels are much more successful as regards separating the narrative tone and style for each character. They all think differently, and their respective narrative reflects this. The series fails, though, in clearly distinct dialogue. The entire cast is all witty and snarky to a somewhat monotone degree. A Song of Ice and Fire does a much better job of capturing distinct dialogue between characters, but falls short as regards having the narrative for each chapter genuinely reflect different people, modes of thought, things they notice and care about. The narrative is what's monotone in those books. So, even when published, no one is perfect. ;)
     
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  8. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    You have three voices: MC, narrator, author. Most people will use authorial voice as a synonym for narrator. Even a lot of webpages explaining authorial voice do this, but you have to realize that they're not really the same. The voice of the narrator moves in different directions depending on narrative distance. The authorial voice never goes away. It's why the reader can still tell that the work is yours. It's like the fingerprints at a crime scene. You can try to hide it, but good luck, because I can't think of any author who ever has (though some are better at it than others). You try to disguise your narration (narrative voice) as the MC, but you're still there (authorial voice). Let's say you read "A Casual Vacancy" and "Harry Potter," you can find elements of Rowling in both even though she's using different narrative voices. You can argue she's using different authorial voices, and she kind of is (authors can have different flavors of that voice), but there's always some giveaway naming the author.

    In 1st person, the narrator basically is the MC. In deep-third, the narrator is also very close. They don't perfectly overlap, but you can get it so close that they seem to. Even in these, you still have elements like simple dialog tags, setting elements, and such that belong to the narrator. It's the narrator that you want to eliminate in your deep-POV piece. Or I should say transform. . . You want him/her to be the MC. Think of the narrator as the avatar of the author, who has the job of relating the characters/world/plot.

    To kind of illustrate this, think of a story like Flowers for Algernon, which I suppose everyone read in grade school. Since it's told as epistolary log entries, the narrator starts off overlapping the MC and you can see the narrator change with the MC. It's a neat trick in keeping the two aligned as the MC becomes a genius. (I hate the ending for this story. It's perfect, but it depresses me so much. God, I need a drink.) But in all of this, you can still tell that it's Keyes doing the writing and not, let's say, Hemingway or Borges. That's because of the authorial voice.

    Adding more confusion is that "authorial intrusion" is basically talking about the narrator. Unless you're Twain. He would do literal authorial intrusions. "As Dear Reader knows . . . {some quote about lawyers}."

    So I would say, yes, the voice you're talking about should become the MC. Just don't call it authorial voice. Call it the narrator. If the authorial voice is overwhelming, then it can make the different chapters' narrative voices seem very similar, like what Wreybies is saying. I always see Asimov, genius that he is, as failing at this. Basically, every single character is him. They all sound like they have killer sideburns and horn rimmed glasses. So if you're switching voices, be aware of that.
     
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  9. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I disagree that "authorial intrusion" is talking about the narrator. I think authorial intrusion is when the author has screwed up and we're hearing in the author's voice, not the narrator's voice. So when, for example, we read a passage from a female (het) POV that lingers on the breasts of another female, that's the male author intruding rather than the narrator. Can you give an example of a time when authorial intrusion would be talking about the narrator?
     
  10. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    I get what you're saying and can't disagree. It's a good point.

    What I see as an interruption usually shows up as inner dialog. Let's see . . . I'll make a stupid one . . .

    Inside the mailbox was a notice from the IRS. So scary!

    Which to me is the equivalent of an applause light for a studio audience. I see it all the time. (Inner dialog is harder than it looks, I think.) You also get a lot of characters laughing and smiling when they say something amusing, which is the same basic intrusion. I think that happens even more often. The characters' actions are the authors hopes for what he/she hopes the reader feels, almost telegraphing what their reaction should be, like a vaudeville. That's the author working through the narrator, pretending to be the MC's thoughts, no less. But in the end it boils down to the author spelling out what the reaction of the reader should be. The author is somewhere they shouldn't be.

    But, I don't disagree with what you're saying. That's an authorial intrusion too. I think you're looking at an intrusion of the author's personal attitudes and I'm looking at an intrusion of their story shaping.
     
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  11. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Making sure your own voice is present in your story is probably the least important thing for a writer to worry about. You're telling a good one and hopefully one that sells and gets people talking. Who are you? It probably doesn't matter too much. That's never the key ingredient for writing a good story.
     
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  12. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Wish I had something to add, but I'm just happy when I write something that sounds kind of good.
     
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  13. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    In your 'scary' example above, that would only be author intrusion if the character finding the envelope isn't bothered by it. In other words, it's the author who finds IRS notices scary, not the person who gets the notice. Otherwise, it's just your character's unvoiced thought, isn't it? You're not intruding your own view, you're showing us the character's viewpoint.

    If you're really worried about author intrusion, just try to make sure you're not stepping outside the story to tell the reader what things mean, or tell them how they should be thinking or feeling. Stay in the POV of your character. Whatever THEY are thinking is not author intrusion.
     
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  14. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I wouldn't see either of those examples as authorial intrusion, but it sounds like your issue with them is more that they 'tell' instead of 'show?' If the IRS example was more like this...

    Inside the mailbox was a notice from the IRS. Mick hadn't been that scared since his wife discovered how to check the internet browsing history on their PC.
    ...it's more obviously in Mick's voice, and I assume (?) you wouldn't call it authorial intrusion. But it serves the same function of telling us that he's scared.
     
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  15. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I wonder if you can go to far with it. In the last thing I wrote, I asked some rhetorical questions in the exposition as if they were character thoughts:

    That's not a real line, but it illustrated the example.

    Anyway, one of my betareaders really hated that shit, so I nixed a couple where they weren't necessary / didn't sound as good.
     
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  16. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    It's all a matter of interpretation. It _is_ the character speaking (thinking), and I can't argue there, but when it's done so deliberately and adds nothing, it feels like the author lacks confidence in the sentence and is trying to force a reaction. I'm not arguing against inner dialog, just certain cases where it feels very artificial. Then it sounds like a laugh track, which to me is the author appearing where they shouldn't.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2018
  17. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think that's clearly a thought from your character, not the author. (The author probably knows where they're coming from!) However, if you'd said "He shouldn't be getting attacked so often. He's a good man." THAT would have been author intrusion.
     
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  18. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Why? I've been re-reading Ruth Rendell's Thirteen Steps Down in which there's similar self-pitying from the POV character. It's not authorial intrusion. I don't have the book with me but it's like:

    He didn't deserve this kind of stress when he hadn't done anything wrong. It had all gone downhill since that woman had forced him to kill her.

    That's not Ruth Rendell giving her opinion - it's very clear that the murder was not justified - that's Mix saying he's a good man and doesn't deserve what's happening to him.
     
  19. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, yeah, of course. If it's clear it's the character's thought and not the author's, of course that's not authorial intrusion. I didn't intend for the tone of my example to be self-pitying, but of course that's how it comes across without context, eh? I guess my example could use some work! :oops: Where is @ChickenFreak? She's the best example-generator I know of.
     
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  20. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    No, your example was fine; it's me that confused things. :D If there was a narrator separate from the POV character (i.e. NOT deep POV) then it wouldn't be self-pitying, and that's how I think you intended it. In deep POV it would be the character thinking he didn't deserve what was happening, which would likely be self-pitying (context depending).

    I think people in this thread are a) using different definitions of authorial intrusion, which does have an established meaning and/or b) not talking about deep POV as per the OP. I don't think anybody is wrong, just talking at cross-purposes and in different contexts.
     
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  21. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. These examples are too short for much context to creep in. Either that, or I'm not all that good at coming up with unambiguous examples. Dang.
     
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  22. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I have a feeling if any two of you were given the outline of a scene and a character sheet for a character, and asked to write it in deep third, what was produced would sound very different.
     
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  23. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Of course it would - we all have our own styles. But you could still identify, objectively, whether it was deep third or not.
     
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  24. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, the conversation might have moved on without me. I just mean that the difference between how two people write the exact same scene is the author's voice.
     
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  25. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Ohh, gotcha.
     
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