1. Arannir

    Arannir Active Member

    Sep 16, 2013
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    United Kingdom

    Multiple 1st Person Narratives

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Arannir, Jun 17, 2014.

    Good day,
    I was wondering if it would be viable to have several, in this case three, 1st person narratives in a single novel. I have seen this done before in a book but I believe it may confuse the readership. The idea mainly popped into my head when thinking about the goings on in the world, so I thought of using three protagonists instead of one. Their stories would be loosely entwined with meetings between the characters, due to their status, taking place but mainly following their own plotline.

    These characters are-

    An Wood Elven prince seeking help and revenge after his homeland's destruction.

    A female Human, daughter of an imperial advisor, empowered into isolation.

    An Orcish warlord who is in the midst of war.

    To combat this I believe having the insignia of the character's family above their chapter (tree for the elf, lion for the human, an axe for the Orc). Any ideas/criticisms are welcome.
  2. EllBeEss

    EllBeEss Senior Member

    Aug 24, 2013
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    It can work if done well and each character has a distinctive narrative voice so the reader can quickly pick up shifts in the point of view. While some indication of which character is which may be useful personally, I like having the name rather than a picture or anything, if the story is good I don't want to be paying attention to pictures and I won't. The question you need to ask isn't who the characters are but how there stories tie together. The characters meeting occasionally and living in the same world may not be enough to make three distinctive plot lines into one story.
  3. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA
    Kevin Hearne has adopted this in his Iron Druid Chronicles.

    He was strictly first person POV with one character for the first 5 novels, 2 novellas and several short stories.

    In the 6th novel, for obvious reasons in the plot, he used a 2nd first person POV.

    In the 7th novel, just released today, he used 3 POVs (first person). One even is written in first person present tense (which doesn't work for me...but that's just me). And of course, I've not finished the novel. Only about 1/5 of the way through, and only to the 2nd POV having made a 2nd appearance, but I knew about this from reading reviews of it before it was released.

    He uses a picture at the beginning of each chapter to represent the POV/character, to help keep things straight for the reader, as was suggested in the OP. Chapter titles could also be used, as well as simply using context and structure to orient the reader.
  4. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    It won't confuse readers if you're a good writer. Revisit some of the books that do this. That's the best way to learn these sorts of things.
    TWErvin2 likes this.

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