1. criticalsexualmass

    criticalsexualmass Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Kentucky

    POV entire novel as told by character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by criticalsexualmass, Aug 22, 2013.

    I've finished a rough draft of a novel. the protagonist is telling the entire story while sitting in a bar on the beach in argentina. I have a few questions about using this POV and voice. Has anyone read a story written like this where it really worked (or really didn't work)? I chose this route partly because the story is very close to me in some ways and telling it as if it had happened to me was more natural, but i've never written a story from this view before. Can anyone tell me their experience in writing a story like this? It felt right, in that i could type in the same voice i would be speaking in. It makes the entire novel dialogue.

    So, any warnings? Pitfalls to using this style? pointers? Advice? Threats?
     
  2. ManOrAstroMan

    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    813
    Likes Received:
    345
    Location:
    Missouri
    first off, congratulations on finishing your rough draft!
    I wouldnt worry too much about the POV issue. First-person perspective can work just as well as third-person, often better, depending on the story.
    the only thing i could see causing a problem is if the narrator is actually conversing with the other person in the bar, or his actions as he tells the story are described. That shift could disorient the reader and take them out of the story. if you do plan on telling the story of a person telling a story, make sure you keep the two parts separate.
    Water for elephants was told this way and is generally accepted as a very successful story.
     
  3. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Messages:
    963
    Likes Received:
    768
    Location:
    London
    If you've finished the draft, you should already know if it works or not. If it reads well, I see no problem.
     
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,837
    Likes Received:
    6,161
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    I agree with ManOrAstro, first-person POV is fine, but I'm wondering why you want to keep it as all dialogue? I would think you could have an opening scene in the bar that starts the story off, but then the story teller usually becomes a narrator as the rest of the story is told. You can come back to the bar here and there, or only return at the end.

    There are stories that stay in one scene and consist of mostly dialogue, "My Dinner with Andre" comes to mind. But lots of stories begin with the storyteller scene as an intro into the story and work well.
     
  5. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    9,432
    Likes Received:
    6,058
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Check out Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. It's told like that - a first-person narration from the POV of the character Marlow as he and his some others are sailing on the Thames. More accurately, it's told in first person by an unnamed narrator who is with Marlow on the boat in the Thames, but when Marlow starts telling his story, it's all him. After that, every paragraph starts with a quotation mark, because it's all Marlow's dialogue.

    So it can be done, and it has been done in classic literature. Heart of Darkness, by the way, is not the only time Conrad used this technique; he actually did it quite often, and sometimes the stories were narrated by his recurring character Marlow.
     
  6. criticalsexualmass

    criticalsexualmass Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2013
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I've written it as gingercoffee described, with the opening scene in the bar where the protagonist begins telling his story and i like that just fine, but i'm using a conversational tone to the language and trying to make it sound like it is a story being told verbally. I've not edited at all yet so this thing could still go a lot of different directions. I had forgotten about heart of darkness, it's been a long time since i read it. I notice it is currently collecting dust on my bookcase. This draft is ready to sit in the hard drive for a few months and ferment. This would be a good time to reread it and get some ideas

    Thanks for the help and the congrats. 70k words is the longest thing I've written by about 60k words!
     
  7. erebh

    erebh Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,625
    Likes Received:
    472
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    didn't Forest Gump do something similar at a bus-stop?
     

Share This Page