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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » 1st and 3rd.....

   
Author Topic: 1st and 3rd.....
skadder
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I am doing a short where there are two points of views (one human and one not). One is done in 3rd person and the other in 1st person and it flips between them, using line breaks(#).

Obviously, it all meets up at the end.

Am I breaking any rules doing this? I have written a test bit that seems to work.

Any objections?

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited February 01, 2008).]


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annepin
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Why yes, I object! It is unlawful and unethical! How dare you, you, renegade you!

Seriously. Rules are meant to be broken. This one probably breaks a dozen of them. It seems tricky to pull off, and likely many people won't like it. But it seems worth experimenting with, at the very least, esp since you seem to have gotten positive responses from your test bit.

[This message has been edited by annepin (edited February 01, 2008).]


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smncameron
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Possible? Certaintly.

That being said, I have some problems conceptualizing it. First person is the author narrating, so how would they know what's going on in the other passages? Personally I would just use a very 'intimate' 3rd person for the human character.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Marion Zimmer Bradley did it in her Lew Alton/Regis Hastur DARKOVER novels (Lew's parts were first person and Regis's were third, if I remember correctly), but those were novels.

As smncameron points out, you should probably have a reason for the one point of view being included with the other, whether it is the third person narrator including someone's first person account, or the first person narrator telling about someone else in the third person, or whatever.


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arriki
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Nothing's stopping you switching like that.

BUT...I absolutely hate that. It drops me out of the story. It's confusing at a deep level. Why do it at all? What is the reason for changing the pov from 1st to 3rd? I mean, what do you gain? Two viewpoint characters instead of one in 1st? But then just write the whole thing in 3rd. Or, in 1st. I've seen that done.

just my opinion


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JamieFord
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Sounds great. I've seen it done a lot in crime novels. The protag is in 1st and the killer is in 3rd...
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smncameron
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Most of the crime novels I've read have actually been in third-person limmited.
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annepin
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Gregory Macguire does it in "Mirror, Mirror". What's the purpose of the POV switches? Besides telling an engaging, elegant story, I'm not sure.
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skadder
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The human is in 3rd, the entity (invisible) is in 1st. I didn't really plan it that way--it was just the format that seemed most natural to tell the story...

Of course then I figured it would be a good question.


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TaleSpinner
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China Meiville does it in "Perdido Street Station". The bulk of the book is third person (several POVs) but there are some first person passages in the early chapters. IMHO they would not work nearly so well in third person.

I can't say more without spoiling it. But I can recommend the book for anyone interested in dazzling SF prose which observes the "rules"--provided they don't get in the way.

Not as helpful as I'd like,
Pat


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KStar
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Sounds fine. I've just finished reading a book written in that way and I found myself looking forward to the switch.
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Robert Nowall
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Spider Robinson did in in a book whose title eludes my memory---but which, I think, is part of a recently-issued omnibus collection.

It's a hallowed tradition---well, hallowed enough for any of us to make use of if we so choose---if we can pull it off.


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snapper
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we have a mutual friend that did the same trick in her novel. I loved it. I've seen it done in short stories. The first person had this italisized POV. Kind of looking down as a ghost would. It worked well in that one. Go for it, Adam.
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