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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Short Story Series POV

   
Author Topic: Short Story Series POV
NoTimeToThink
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I completed a stand-alone short story last year, written in third-person.
I'm in the middle of a second story about the same character - so now it's a series. But this story feels like it should be in first-person, so I'm trying to decide what to do.
Should I write all stories in a series from the same POV? Or should the story itself dictate the POV?
Is there a convention for this? Does it even matter?
Oh, and it's a sci-fi/detective series, in case genre makes a difference.

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redux
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Typically, series books/stories tend to be written in the same PoV (i.e. Sherlock Holmes, Solomon Kane, Sharpe series, Horatio Hornblower, etc.)

I think it's just a convention, nothing is set in stone. If you feel that changing the PoV makes it a better story I say go for it.

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Crank
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Allow me to up the POV ante...

My upcoming contemporary YA series (told in 3rd person) has five primary characters. The vast majority of the stories are told from one character's POV, but I occasionally change POV to the other four, depending on what's going on and what I want to reveal at that time. So far, my teenaged proofreaders haven't expressed an annoyance at the POV change (one in particular liked the variety!), and, since that's the age range I'm aiming for, I'm not concerned in the least.

But, I wonder if I could pull that off in, say, a science fiction series...? I'll find out soon enough.

S!

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enigmaticuser
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For myself, I like consistancy because I fear change. I had a hard time for example when Speaker for the Dead was not all from Ender's perspective. Who are these other people and why would I care about them?

But . . . after I got over that, the writer showed me why I should care and it broadened my tastes.

So there can be resistance, but it doesn't make it bad.

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Merlion-Emrys
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It depends on what you mean by "series." A lot of people seem to use "series" to refer to any group of stories set in the same world and/or with one or more of the same characters (such as my Tommy and Hashi stories or my "rusty" stories) but to me, that isn't a series. For me, a series implies a serial narrative...either one story told in multiple parts or at least some sort of a forward-moving chronology.

As far as your POV question, if these stories are actually sequential, then it might be a concern, somewhat, and you might want to stick with the same POV for the whole serial, but if they are otherwise unrelated stories about the same character I don't think it matters...and either way, at the end of the day, if the story wants to be first person, I say listen to the story.

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NoTimeToThink
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Merlion - the series is about the main character; the 2nd story references some things that happened in the first, but each story is self-contained. If I write any other stories in the "series", they will all be centered around the same character.
I guess the answer to my question is really the usual thing about understanding the potential costs of going against some "rules", and weighing that against the benefits.
The first story was limited 3rd person, I've been struggling between first person & limited 3rd for the current. I'll probably finish the draft as best I can, then see which POV wins and pull it all into sync.

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Robert Nowall
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Nothing odd about that...Wodehouse's "Jeeves and Wooster" series was mostly told by Bertie Wooster, but there were a couple told by Jeeves in the mix, as I recall.

Write what you feel your story should be...

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Pyre Dynasty
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My vote is write the story how it feels right.
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Merlion-Emrys
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quote:
I guess the answer to my question is really the usual thing about understanding the potential costs of going against some "rules", and weighing that against the benefits
I don't think there even are any "rules" that come into play in this situation. If the stories are separate and non-sequential there is absolutely nothing to indicate they must be written in the same way. All of my "T&H" stories have been written in some form of 3rd person, with two central characters, until the most recent one which was 1st person with only one of those central characters present.
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Robert Nowall
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Also...I haven't checked, but I think a couple of the original Conan Doyle "Sherlock Holmes" stories were narrated by Holmes rather than Watson...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I've read the entire "canon" of Sherlock Holmes stories and I don't recall any of them being from Holmes' point of view.
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Robert Nowall
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Might be thinking of a pastiche...
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Robert Nowall
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Nope, was right the first time, looked it up on Wikipedia..."The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" and "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" are both narrated by Holmes...a couple other stories are third-person, too...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Are you sure they're by Doyle? I don't recall having heard of those titles.

Edited to add: Hmm. I guess I'll have to check my copy of THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES again. I really do not remember those titles.

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Robert Nowall
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They were originally contained in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes; here are some links:

http://sherlockholmes_cases.tripod.com/soldiers.htm

...and...

http://sherlockholmes_cases.tripod.com/lionmane.htm

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MartinV
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Hell no.

I'm currently writing a series of novels. I keep a different person for each character. One character always gets first person, the other third but with insight of her thoughts. The third POV so far was also in first person but I know I will use others too.

I choose a different style for each character. Simply something that feels natural.

I don't think this would be a problem. I think it will actually help the reader understand it's a different POV this time.

[ February 08, 2012, 08:14 AM: Message edited by: MartinV ]

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Robert Nowall
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Of some significance...I remember Fred Saberhagen wrote a series of books (the title escapes me, but they were collected in one volume around 1980 or so), where the villain of the first book became the hero of the second---without particularly changing any or joining up with the hero of the first...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Thanks, Robert. Maybe when I read them I'll recognize them.
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