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Is This a New Trend?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Guy, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    Are we talking about each chapter having a different first person POV based on selecting from a group of characters? Or first person POV changing between characters within the chapter itself?
  2. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    I think the OP specifically referenced switching between chapters:

    I honestly doubt that switching between scenes within a chapter can be done effectively. I normally don't like to rule anything out, absolutely, but given the potential for confusion, I'd think that a chapter break between POVs when handling more than one 1st person POV is a very good idea...
  3. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

    I think the OP means each chapter is a potentially different 1st person POV where it takes a while to figure out whose head your in as the reader.

    At risk of thread derailment, I understand that personal preference is what it is, but there are so many good books out there written in 1st Person. I get the desire to avoid confusion in multiple 1st Person, and that can likely be attributed to an author's skill, but to shut oneself off from a POV style seems myopic.

    Here's just a few great novels written in 1st Person POV:
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Great Gatsby
    The Sun Also Rises
    The Color Purple
    Fight Club
    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Huckleberry Finn
    Breakfast at Tiffany's
    The Catcher in the Rye
    The Name of the Wind
    The Handmaid's Tale
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    A Clockwork Orange
    kennyc and Trick like this.
  4. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Couldn't agree more. Robin Hobb handles POV beautifully but Fitz is a whiny little baby. Can't even bring myself to read further because I want to slap him so bad.

    Bolding Mine. Just want to second all of these and add that anything other than 1stPPOV in these greats would have been detrimental.

    I'd also like to add that the cockiness/bravado/overconfidence that is sometimes present in 1stPPOV is usually a conscious choice by the author. It's often part of an unreliable narrator setup and can be intended to let you see the actual truth of what happened through another, less cocky POV or simply by realizing that the narrator/MC is leaving out or adding things to make them look better. It's sort of like a fish story, you listen and laugh when you are told one but you know the fish wasn't quite that big or at least that your (insert male relative) didn't do quite that well when they caught it.

    In one of my WsIP, which is 1stPPOV (my other WIP is not, so people can do both) I have the MC for the majority of the book but there are other chapters, clearly delineated as the journal of another character, that grant insight to what's going on in the wider world and also let us see the villain(s) side of things. This setup can really add to the overall tension because it is a promise to the reader that the MC and the villain will clash at some point, even though they have yet to meet and are even unaware of each other. Setting them up as, opposites is the wrong word.... opposing forces? can make things very interesting.

    And Dracula stinks.. slowest book I've ever read (listened to in this case, with an all-star cast and I still played it at 1.25 speed; I had to finish it just for the sake of finishing an iconic book)

    I immediately followed it by listening to Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tape, which is a wonderful way to follow Dracula, IMO. Totally turns the story on it's head. Although, there's a lot of quoting (I assume to refresh reader memories, which I didn't yet need) so that was annoying.
    kennyc likes this.
  5. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    I'm going to throw a spanner in here and say I've got no problem with 1st person, or multi 1st (though to a lesser degree).

    I've only read books where it was done right. Strict PoV A then PoV B and switching back and forth from then, was one technique. I've also seen a couple of times what someone else mentioned before: chapter titles headed with character names, or specific symbols.

    It is more jarring, granted. But for many so is finishing and hopping straight from reading a 3rd person novel to a 1st person novel. I'm not sure its as easy as saying multi 1st is horrible and should never be done. When done well, with actual knowledge and skill, it's absolutely fine. Takes a couple of chapters to get used to, but there you go.

    And besides some books with multi 3rd person aren't always that clear from the get go either so, ymmv I guess.
    kennyc likes this.
  6. Ruby

    Ruby Auror

    The worst book I've ever read (or partly read as I gave up, screaming "Aaagh!" halfway through) that does this, was ghost written for a famous supermodel many years ago. Each chapter was written in either 1st person or 3rd person POV and was about a different model. After a while I worked out that certain characters were always written in 1st person and others were in 3rd, but then a character that had been in 1st suddenly appeared in 3rd and vice versa; I gave up and had to go and lie down for a week. Actually, it's famous for being a terrible book and has probably sold very well as it has curiousity value. I still have a copy somewhere, but then I can never throw books away.
  7. Thems fighting words. ;)
  8. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Duel accepted. I shall choose our weapons in the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock.

    For you, I have chosen a fine, English long sword.

    For myself, I have a chosen a hand grenade.

    Let the best writer win. :D
  9. Wehawken, dawn, weapons drawn.

    I remain your obedient servant B [dot] All.
  10. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Can we go for like noon? I'm not as much of a morning person as Burr. Or would I be Hamilton, since you issued the challenge?... hmm... that doesn't bode well
  11. Guy

    Guy Inkling

    The author keeps it to one person's POV per chapter, she just doesn't give the reader any clue who that character is in the opening. It takes a few lines (or, in the case of the last chapter I read, a few paragraphs) before you know who it is, and it is beyond maddening. I have to post a review of it, though, so I have to finish it. Fortunately it's only 111 pages long and I'm on page 60 or so, but dear gods, why in the name of Shakespeare's quill would anyone think this format was a good idea?
  12. *sigh fine. But you're bringing lunch and I'll bring the drinks. Cant fight on an empty stomach.
  13. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Not sure what kind of relationship you have with this particular author but I'd make sure to let her know your struggles and issue with the structure of her novel. It would be an important detail for her to know that the way she has structured the perspectives is confusing.
  14. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Lunch it is. Raw anchovies for you, and a cheese-steak for me. Make sure your drinks are at least 70 proof. I won't have any but I think you should. :cool:
  15. You reject my slightly poisoned drinks!!! I call for another challenge!
  16. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Wouldn't have worked anyway, even if you switched glasses while my back was turned because I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder. No classic blunders for me.
  17. You win this round. Now time to go find the descendant of Mina Harker!
  18. Guy

    Guy Inkling

    I don't know her and she doesn't know me. Bookvetter puts out books to check out based on one's reading preferences. You read and post your review. I've finished the book and just posted my review and clearly stated this is a fatal flaw that desperately needs to be fixed and suggested how to fix it. I liked the characters and if she could restructure it so it wasn't so muddled, it would be a very enjoyable story (which I also made sure to say).
  19. Trick

    Trick Auror

    Concession accepted. Ah! So you have read The Dracula Tape.
  20. Holoman

    Holoman Troubadour

    I have only read Lolita in that list and wasn't impressed, though that wasn't just because of the 1st person POV.

    I'll admit I haven't read many 1st person and none stood out for me as good, I don't specifically avoid them but just happens that most of the books I pick are 3rd person. I think I would find it ok if the book didn't depend on me relating to the MC, so for example The Great Gatsby, I've only seen the film but for me the character that hooks is Gatsby not the MC, so it wouldn't bother me so much that it is in 1st person rather than 3rd.

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