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I need some advice, please (POV)

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by snabjorn, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. snabjorn

    snabjorn Dreamer

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    I am outlining my first novel and have been doing that for quite some time actually. Anyway - what I need advice on is the POV.

    The main characters are these twin girls, and at first I actually wanted to write in 1st person from one of the girls' perspective, because she was the most important one for me. Then I thought about it, and it seems weird in some way to only see the POV from one of the girls' perspective, since they are both main characters, and then I decided on 3rd person so it's possible to know how both of the girls feel.
    However, now I am concidering 1st person again, just because it's more personal and I like the kind of "intimacy" with a 1st person POV.

    Before I make a decision and start writing I would like it if some of you would tell me your view on this? :confused:
    Thanks.
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    You could alternate between 1st person POVs with both of the twins, and just make sure the reader knows who's who by putting the characters' names as chapter headings or somesuch. :)
     
  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Hmmmm... Just on the information you've provided I'd say third person. The choice of going with twins is often a desire for symmetry or duality. A first person perspective places a heavy emphasis on the view point character. That weight risks unbalancing the symmetry / duality of twins.
     
  4. thecoldembrace

    thecoldembrace Sage

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    One thing I've noticed with several of really good authors is to just switch like Ireth said. A lot devout specific chapters in the perspective of a single person, alternating between those they want to tell the story through. It is very effective and gets you in a good mindset for everyone involved.
     
  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    It can be done but it is difficult, even for experienced writers. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from trying though. At worst, you experiment with first person. If it doesn't work, scrap it and switch to third.

    The danger with writing multiple first person POVs is jarring the reader from the story. You'll need a way to orient the reader that a POV switch has occurred. Also, when the reader is accustomed to the POV they've been reading, switching gears to another can be difficult. It requires a mental effort to switch from one first person POV to the next. My preference is the reader not noticing my choices, or the writing, at all...keeping them immersed in the story.

    My advice, considering your experience level, is to do two very close third person POVs. It is possible, and likely easier, to write a third person POV from deep inside the characters head, which can heighten character/reader intimacy. It allows the reader to experience everything the character experiences.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  6. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    As far as switching goes, one method I've seen has each perspective written with a different font or one written in italics, but I don't know how well that would work with longer periods devoted to each viewpoint.
     
  7. stephenspower

    stephenspower Inkling

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    I would thoroughly outline the book in third person, then write your first draft in first person alternating between each character. That way you can get down what happens before concentrating on how people perceive and feel about what happens. It's likely that during the draft you'll discover that how the characters feel might make some of the actions outlined unlikely, which will be generative, the story taking on a life of its own.
     
  8. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I think the solution would be Deep Third POV. That way you get the intimacy of first, with third and it's the best of both worlds. If you are unfamiliar with Deep POV writing, you can google it and learn about what makes for a better third POV. I alternate between regular third and deep just to give certain scenes more weight and voice. I bet you could do the same to good effect.
     
  9. snabjorn

    snabjorn Dreamer

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    Thanks everybody!
    I don't think, I would be able to pull the different 1st person POV's off, but it was a good idea though! I think, I will try and write a chapter in both ways, and then compare and see from there :confused:
    The Deep Third POV also seems like something that could work for me. I will try and see what appeals to me :)
    I also need to find out whether it should be in past or present tense. Maybe I will try both of these too and see..
    I love how everyone is so good at giving advice in here, thank you!

    What do you guys think of people, who don't have english as a first language, writing in english? Is it stupid or brave or...? :eek:
     
  10. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    I would definitely suggest writing your first couple of stories in whatever language you're best at. Having to worry about grammar and word choice in a language you're not completely comfortable with is another hurdle on top of all the other hurdles a writer has to overcome. That said, if it's just for fun and if you want to get a better handle on the language then that seems like a fun and useful method to get a better grasp of the language.
     
  11. Addison

    Addison Auror

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    Is it possible to tell the story from a different character's POV? Like the cat's? Or some character that can easily and believable switch from being with one sister then the other? If not then I suggest a method that's working very well for me (I had the same problem), write a piece of the story in a different format. Verse, screen play, stage play. I strongly suggest the latter two as they help to keep you at a better distance to truly see each character and the story in greater depth.
     
  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I would not recommend present tense. In fact, many magazines specifically say they do not accept present tense works. I think I've read a handful of present tense I enjoyed, the rest just sound pretentious and overwrought. If you aren't seriously experienced with present tense, I would not encourage you to do it because the odds of it being good are slim and the odds of it being catastrophically bad are high.

    I've written a lot. I think the best advice I could give about this is to try deep POV in third and past tense. That's what I tend to write in because it's most versatile, allows for true reader immersion, and the methods are simple but you can really show off your skill when you do it well. First person sucks if it's not done well... and present tense is even harder to pull off. I might equate it to running. First POV is like running a half marathon... totally doable for anyone who gives it a decent amount of practice and puts in the time. Present tense is like shooting for running a whole marathon in five hours. You're up against enormous odds and you better be really serious about doing a lot of extra editing, rewriting, and rethinking if you want to come in with a good result like record time. It takes practice and preparation.

    Now... if I were a really accomplished runner, I might put in a little extra training for a year and give the marathon a shot... what have I got to lose? But as a girl who just bought my first pair of running shoes... I wouldn't even consider an undertaking of that magnitude.

    Take my advice with a grain of salt. I don't want to sound discouraging, but there is evidence out there in the sheer number of publications that won't accept anything written in present tense, that it's unpopular. Mostly because it is catastrophic when not done very well. If however, you are writing for your own purposes, for hobby or entertainment, by all means, experiment and use it as a stepping stone to hone your skills and find your artist's voice. But there aren't a bunch of good examples of popular novels written in present tense and I think it's definitely putting yourself in a difficult position from the very get-go if you ever intend to seek representation.
     
  13. James Chandler

    James Chandler Minstrel

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    I would write about five pages in first person, then try the same five pages in a close third person. I find first person a little easier and it often flows easier when I'm onto a really solid idea. Don't be afraid to switch the pov, but break the book into parts/sections, not just chapters. Make it clear in the first line that you are switching.

    As for the language, I would go with whatever you speak most. I read and write French fluently; I would not even consider writing a novel or short story because I don't see and hear it every day.

    But, you could choose to write in first person and write in English, make it a feature of the narrative, slip in some of your native language now and then. I say things in French without realizing sometimes, and there are ideas that I can convey with one word of French that requires an explanation in English and vice versa. That can really draw in the reader.

    Have fun!
     
  14. kimsmithauthor

    kimsmithauthor Acolyte

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    As a first person-person, I say try it. I have only ever written one novella with third person POV and it has its pros and cons as well.
     
  15. Michael J. Tobias

    Michael J. Tobias Scribe

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    I'm a fan of Deep 3rd, though I've written in 1st when the story called for it. A story about twins would be tough to do in first without you and/or the reader getting confused, I would think.
     
  16. snabjorn

    snabjorn Dreamer

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    Oh, I'v been busy lately, so I haven't seen the responses until now.
    But thank you very much, all of you, for the advice. I will take it all into concideration and I will try a few different things before fully deciding what POV and what tense I'm using. I might research a bit more online as well :)
    Maybe I will post the different drafts I come up with in Showcase when I finnish at some point. Then hopefully some of it will be worth continuing :)
     
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