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  1. SeizeTheDay

    SeizeTheDay New Member

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    Novel structure (POV/tense shifts)

    Discussion in 'Novels' started by SeizeTheDay, Dec 20, 2016.

    Hello everyone. I haven't officially introduced myself to the forum, but I am new, and hope to be a part of the community.

    I'm also in the process of writing a novel. Many of the characters/scenes I've had in my head for months or even years. Now, I've come to a point where I have to rewrite most of what I've done because I've been flip-flopping between scenes and changing ideas too much. But, I'm determined to change my ways for this! A few years ago, I wrote a short story in 1st person, which is now tied into my novel. I'd been writing the novel in third until recently. Thinking over tense and POV, I have a few options. There's 3rd person past, of course. Or 1st person. Past and present have the potential to work, but I feel I would have to switch between characters at least a few times throughout, and the story could lose something because of that.

    My question is, would - dare I say it - 1st person present tense have the potential to start and end a novel written in primarily 3rd person past? There would be a gap of a few years between the beginning and middle sections, with time flowing fairly consistently after that. The viewpoint character, beginning and end, would be an antagonist who is spoken of but rarely ever seen throughout the midsection of the story.

    Thank you for all input, and let me know if I need to provide additional story information!
     
  2. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    Is it a story playing out through different viewpoints? Like is the MC telling a story, that then gets truthfully told, then is wrapped up by MC?
     
  3. SeizeTheDay

    SeizeTheDay New Member

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    I don't even know if I would call him the main character. I guess he might be...

    Brennan (first person viewpoint character) is not telling a story, but we see a major event through his eyes, and some of the moments in his adolescence that lead up to it.

    Other major characters of the story are connected to each other by him, and that event, but none of them are in it. Their lives, along with everything that connects them will be shown in third person, Brennan absent through this section until the very end.

    When he shows up again, he is described in third person through another character's eyes, and then the novel moves back to first person present for the last section. It is wrapped up by his direct actions against other major characters, rather than the indirect actions from the beginning.
     
  4. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I think the first question you have to ask yourself is what it accomplishes for your story. You say that the 1st person character is not the narrator, but you want to show a major event through his eyes. I would recommend using 3rd person limited, instead, which could accomplish the same thing. It's not that you can't use 1st, but the fact that the 1st person character isn't the narrator would seem to me rather confusing. It would be like having the first chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird as it is, and then the rest of the book being written in 3rd person with, say, Gem as the narrator.

    Good luck.
     
    antlad likes this.
  5. Tea@3

    Tea@3 Senior Member

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    Are you working on structure too? You mentioned it in the subject heading, but you only spoke of POV & tense.

    What structure issues are on your mind?
     

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