1. lonelystar

    lonelystar Member

    Jan 14, 2018
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    Specific POV question

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lonelystar, Apr 15, 2019.

    Yes another POV thread, but don't worry I'm not asking about which POV is best/preferred.

    My specific question is Should the scene always be from the first person who is mentioned in a the scene or is it okay if it's another character?
    Example -
    Natalie slid her hand along Lloyd's arm, slipping her hand into his. He'd been awake for hours, tossing and turning. He squeezed her hand. "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."
    "What time you going to Jessica's?"
    "Once Jacob's gone to school. Might go and see his mom later."
    Natalie said nothing.
    "Thank you for being okay about this."So many wives would have been jealous and bitter about the amount of time he'd spent at Jessica's.
    "You're Mel's friend. We're her friends. Of course you're going to spend time with her. Especially today. Today's a big deal. For both of you."
    Today, had been on his mind for days. The ten year anniversary. Ten years was a long time.
    She said. "You going to see Lucy later?"

    So, does this scene need to be from Natalie's POV because her action starts the scene?
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    As it stands - taking the example at face value - there's nothing about the scene that would lead me to believe that we are in Lloyd's POV. I don't necessarily think that Natalie being mentioned first makes this an irretrievably "Natalie's POV" chapter, but there's nothing after that initial mention that ties it as belonging to Lloyd right now. If anything, this reads like a 3rd omniscient excerpt rather than a 3rd person limited excerpt, and your original question would lead me to believe that you are trying for a 3rd limited chapter from Natalie's POV, yes?
    Shenanigator likes this.
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    I don't think a scene has to be from the POV of the first character mentioned, or the first character to act, but mine usually are. I do think that it's best to have a strong POV clue of some sort very early in the scene.
    mrieder79 likes this.
  4. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

    Jul 3, 2013
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    It doesn't have to be the first person mentioned, although it should be clear. I can think of reasons to make the POV character different than the one first mentioned, an antagonist hunting his quarry, for example. In these cases, as ChickenFreak suggested, context needs to make POV clear.

    The example you gave above seems fine. It was clear to me that Lloyd was the POV character as the reader is given insight into his hours of tossing and turning which eventually woke Natalie.
  5. jannert

    jannert Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    I was confused about who was speaking that first line. Was it Natalie or Lloyd? She performs the first action, but then he apologises for waking her? That's a bit confusing.

    And of course, if we're confused about the first line, we're going to mis-assign the second line of dialogue and the third ...and will need to backtrack when 'Natalie says nothing' makes it clear that the previous statement was Lloyd's.

    So I would make it clear, right at the start, who speaks that first line. Maybe dialogue tag the second speech as well, just to make sure.

    Something like: "What time you going to Jessica's?" Natalie asked.

    Or with an action beat: Natalie gave him 'that look.' "What time you going to Jessica's?"

    I think it's the confusion about who is speaking that makes the POV seem out of kilter. It's clearly his POV when you get to the part about him thinking about the anniversary. But there is some confusion up to that point.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
    Shenanigator likes this.

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