1. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    Personal Narrator: is there a hard and fast rule.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by texshelters, Dec 19, 2016.

    My novel changes the narrator depending on who the main character is in the scene. I have no overall personal narrator, per se, I change the viewpoint based on the current dominant character.

    Is that troublesome? Am I breaking some sort of covenant? Will I be haunted by the ghosts of Tolstoy, Twain and Bronte?

    This article will give some a context for what I mean:
    https://www.carvezine.com/from-the-editor/2015/10/29/you-dear-writer-are-not-the-narrator

    Peace,
    Tex Shelters
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Sounds like close third with multiple POV characters - pretty standard. Sounds fine.
     
  3. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    The Doctor Who fanfic in my signature has 5 POV characters ;)

    You don't want to change POVs too quickly, but there's no rule saying you can't do it at all.
     
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  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds fine to me, just make sure there's something early on in each POV switch to let us know whose POV we're coming from. KSR has close third from at least six characters (John, Anne, Sax, Nadya, Maya, and Frank) in the first of the Mars books, and that's always been a big part of the appeal for me. It lets you move around the story and reveal things that would be otherwise hidden or awkward to show.
     
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  5. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    Approved.
     
  6. DueNorth

    DueNorth Senior Member

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    Hmmm? This is a more complicated question with a more complex answer than might be casually answered--especially without actually reading what you are doing. If your scenes are short, as in multiple scenes per chapter, this could be very tricky to pull off well and confusing to the reader. The novel I am writing is "Third Person, Multiple POV" but I have chosen to only shift POV for entire chapters, not scenes within a chapter. I had done my first couple of drafts in "3rd Person Omniscient," but got some valid criticism about "head-hopping" and confusing POV shifts within chapters, so I've taken a stricter stance in this draft (as I hopefully get closer to finishing).

    I would say that, in general, changing the narrator to align with a different character in a given scene is fraught with limitations, most notably your reader will have difficulty identifying with your MC/protagonist. There is a great advantage to having the reader see other characters through the eyes (and mind) of your central character. Your novel, in my opinion, will be more focused.
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    So if it's better to write with only one POV, why are you writing with multiple POVs yourself?
     
  8. DueNorth

    DueNorth Senior Member

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    In no way am I saying (nor do I believe) that it is "better." I am only making the point that it is difficult and can be tricky. There are pros and cons to all methods. To answer your question directly, though, I am using multiple POVs because my MC does not appear in all chapters and some important scenes occur when he is not present.
     
  9. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    And it's not first person, it's 3rd person close narrator. thanks. I was really fearing Bronte's ghost. Peace, Tex
     
  10. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    Do you switch narrators each chapter so that one chapter is told entirely from one person's point of view? Or do you switch within chapters, so that each chapter is told from a multitude of views? Either way can and has been done in fiction, although it has to be handled carefully so as not to get too confusing. Plus, as has been mentioned, the reader may not closely connect with any characters. But it's not impossible for them to! Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo has about eight narrators, if I remember correctly - and some of them only narrate once! Despite this, the characters are very lovable anyway. So, handled right, it can be beautiful. Then there are all the books in which it I personally think it's just a mess, so you need to ask yourself if it really needs to be written that way. If it does, that's fine. If it doesn't, your readers may end up frustrated.
     
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  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    It's fine. However, the more rapidly you change viewpoints, the more you'll make it into a difficult dance. I'd recommend starting by shifting viewpoints only at chapter boundaries--but not because that's a rule, just because it makes it an easier task, and I always prefer to minimize variables when I'm learning something new.
     
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  12. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    It's not a narrator per se, it's from various points of view. And, it only changes in each chapter in the novel I am referring too. In the other novel I started, it's two main characters and only two points of view. Thanks!
     
  13. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    Agreed. I only change it at the chapter in the novel I am referring to, and not for EVERY chapter. Thanks! Peace, Tex
     

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