1. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    Narrator intrusion, time omniscient ?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by GB reader, Apr 19, 2019.

    Probably wrong words to name it but...

    My very amateurish private investigator F tries to find information about L that has been murdered. She is talking to A, an old neighbour of L.

    F does not know anything about L returning to meet a man, she lies to see if she can get some info.

    This is written from third person perspective (F)


    *

    “There are those that say she came back to meet a man,” said F.


    Hopefully A will not ask who said it. But F needn't have worried about that.


    “There were many men around L,” said A.

    *
    (Italics for internal thoughts only to make things clear. I normally don't use italics.)

    In the sentence “But F needn't have worried about that.” the narrator can see into the future. Even if it's just a second.

    I write like this sometimes. But I am not sure I like it. It feels wrong. As if my narrator steps outside his domain. I probably do it to emphasize that F has no idea what to say if A asks “Who?”

    Enlighten me!
     
  2. Elven Candy

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

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    Are you writing this story in close third POV from F's viewpoint, or are you writing it in omniscient?

    Assuming you're writing it in close third from F's viewpoint, I'd just stick with this:
    “There are those that say she came back to meet a man,” said F.

    Hopefully A will not ask who said it.

    “There were many men around L,” said A.


    The story may not even need the thought interjection, so you may be able to simplify it further to:
    “There are those that say she came back to meet a man,” said F.

    “There were many men around L,” said A.


    If you're writing it
    from omniscient POV you have several options, but I'm not familiar enough with that POV to give a good suggestion.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I would just leave out
    That fact comes perfectly clear in the next line. The fact that she is worried, but doesn't need to be, is clear enough. You probably want to avoid spoon-feeding the reader.
     
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  4. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    I allways do close (varying) third.

    You both suggest getting rid of the narrator knowing what happens in the future.

    Probably I would have done it.
    Because i don't like it as it gives an omniscient (with respect to time) feeling.

    But I see jannerts point as well. It's not needed.

    I tried to find the other place where I thought I was doing the same thing but i couldn't find it. I probably have reformulated it.

    Still, I have seen myself doing it before, having the narrator say something about something that hasn't happend yet. Not more than a second or two before. Maybe these have all been the same, me overwriting, not trusting the reader (actually not trusting myself giving enaugh to the reader)

    Thank you both. I was so focused on the seeing into the future problem that i didn't see that I am probably overwriting when I need to say things about the future.
     
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  5. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I’ve been trying to cut these out of my writing. For lack of a better word, I’ve been calling them “telling summary sentences.”

    Rain fell. A shiver traveled down his spine. His clothes were soaked, and his breath condensed in the frigid air. He was very cold.

    I guess I shouldn’t say “cut.” But I feel like they are place holders, like I knew it was time for a character moment or exposition, but couldn’t think of anything to say during the first draft.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
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  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    You could follow up with something like:


    “There are those that say she came back to meet a man,” said F.

    Hopefully A will not ask who said it.

    “There were many men around L,” said A.

    Easy. Too easy?


    That sort of thing could follow up the worry/thought, if you wanted the reader to particularly notice the issue ...that A is apparently going to capitulate without a problem.
     
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  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Another option...

    “There are those that say she came back to meet a man,” said F, hoping A would not ask who said it.
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I also think that sometimes it can work to have this sort of narrator interruption like you originally had. Used sparingly it can add a sort of texture to a story, but I think you need to decide if that's the road you want to go.
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    That's good.
     
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  10. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    Update!

    I went back to see what i did .

    Looks like i followed some of your advice.

    “Det var någon som sa att hon kom tillbaka efter ett tag för att träffa en kille.”

    Frida hoppades att inte behöva förklara för Agnes vem det var som sagt det .

    “Det var många killar som sprang efter Lena om man säger så."



    Google translates this to


    "Someone said she came back after a while to meet a guy."

    Frida hoped not to explain to Agnes who it was as said it.

    "There were many guys running after Lena if you say so."

    *

    As you see i got rid of the looking into the future.
     
  11. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Banned Contributor

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    One solution might be avoiding jumps between character and narrator. This "hopefully - but" -pair is a bit confusing in that matter.

    Second solution might be keeping narrator out of characters head and showing thoughts and agendas through action.

    You tell about future because you jump that narrator - character jump. You see it because you visit her head. Kill either and you kill the problem. Kill both and pace, rhythm and tension gets better.

    Det här är mycket bättre. (This is much better.)

    But you are still in Fridas head. Try one time to show Frida's hope through her action, without visiting her head.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2019
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  12. GB reader

    GB reader Contributor Contributor

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    You are ofcourse right.

    I unfortunately find that I "tell", rather than show things.
    Internal thoughts can be a cheap way of getting something across that could be done with som "show".

    But I have made much worse telling than this example. Sometimes internal thoughts would be very tricky to do without beeing in the head of your MC, in this story even impossible.

    But your point is very relevant!

    I find this forum great. I only felt unsure about the narrator looking into the future.

    But I get good thoughts about other things!
     
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