1. marcusl

    marcusl New Member

    Aug 1, 2009
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    Perspective change

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcusl, Sep 21, 2009.

    Imagine if I started a story with something like:

    The male students stared at Mary as she exited through the school gate. Mary loved having their attention.

    Is this considered bad, because the first sentence starts with the male students, while the second revolves around Mary? Would this be considered a sudden perspective change? I haven't explored the male students' thoughts, though. So, if I started a story like this, could I still say that the tale unfolds from Mary's perspective?

    Thank you.
  2. witch wyzwurd

    witch wyzwurd New Member

    May 6, 2008
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    Racine, Wisconsin
    Both sentences are narrative. There's no perspection change.

    The following would be bad to start with:

    The male students stared at Mary as she exited through the school gate. I loved having their attention.


    We stared at Mary as she exited through the school gate. I loved having their attention.

    You're thinking of whose brain is being focused on. The male students stared (meaning information went through their eyes). Mary loved (Mary's emotions). If you wrote a story with your rules, then every sentence would have to be:

    Mary did this or that
    Mary went here or there

    Nothing could ever be done to Mary. We would only be able to see it from her eyes, which would limit the narration. Might as well make it first person then: I did this or I did that or I went here or I went there.
  3. DragonGrim

    DragonGrim New Member

    Oct 3, 2008
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    Actually, you’re on the right track to understanding how to write well.

    That’s what a narrator does --- describes what the characters in the story are doing.
  4. architectus

    architectus Banned

    Aug 19, 2008
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    Everything in those two sentences are information Mary would know. She would know the students are staring at her. She would know she liked the attention.

    If you previousLY said Mary's back was turned to thte students, and suddenly she knows they are staring at her, I have to wonder if she has eyes in the back of her head, or if she has super senses.

    But if you wrote: Mary turned her back to the students. She had a feeling all their eyes were focused on her, which she didn't mind because she liked the attention.

    That is fine. The following is not fine.

    Mary ran into her classroom, late again. Two classes down, Bob drew on his homework assignment.

    Though Bob's thoughts aren't shared, how could Mary (the POV) character know what Bob was doing?

    Hope this helps.
  5. Beaumont Hardy

    Beaumont Hardy New Member

    Jun 19, 2009
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    Hi, marcusl. The narrator in your example is omniscient--all-seeing and all-knowing. This kind of narration is common and works very well in fiction. If you told the story from the first-person point of view (from Mary's point of view, for example), you could only describe what Mary sees or what she thinks. The omniscient narrator allows the reader to see into all of the characters' heads or to see what they are all doing. (With an omniscient narrator, you could even add a sentence like, "The male students loved knowing that Mary enjoyed their attention.")

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