Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Mixed point of view

   
Author Topic: Mixed point of view
mayflower988
Member
Member # 9858

 - posted      Profile for mayflower988   Email mayflower988         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm writing a novel that begins at the time the MC is eight years old (I think it may be a prologue) and then flashes forward ten years. When I started writing, I did the prologue in third-person. When I wrote the part that happens ten years later, I decided I preferred a first-person POV, but I still like the third-person for the prologue. Is that going to be a problem when I try to get it published? Will the shift in POV make it awkward?
Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not necessarily, imo, especially if it is a prologue.
Posts: 3940 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MJNL
Member
Member # 9686

 - posted      Profile for MJNL           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Should be fine, plus it seems like it might add a reminiscent feel to the prologue, since it's kind of a "remembered" time relative to the rest of your story. Third will probably make it feel a little distant as compared to the hearty chunk of first person. Does that make sense?
Posts: 63 | Registered: Nov 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mayflower988
Member
Member # 9858

 - posted      Profile for mayflower988   Email mayflower988         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks for your comments.

MJNL: I think so, you're saying it will help the prologue feel more distant and reminiscent if I use third-person POV, then switch to first-person for the rest of the novel.

Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MAP
Member
Member # 8631

 - posted      Profile for MAP           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't like third and first mixed up, but maybe it is just me. Do what feels right to you.
Posts: 1081 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the third-person voice for the opening is one way to avoid an eight-year-old's first-person voice for the opening. Narrative distance will be open to a degree. Readers will feel an arm's length standoff, meaning the opening has to be more engaging from other features than if narrative distance were closer, not necessarily a handicap but challenging to write. Maybe as challenging as writing a first-person eight-year-old's voice. I think the eight-year-old's voice might be essential for parts anyway.

I think too, that the opening will need to develop a strong narrator identity as is essential for third person. Otherwise, it will feel god-like omniscient and anchorless. Also, that will make the first-person main action require a new development of narrator identity up front.

If the third-person opening starts developing narrator identity and the first-person main action continues developing narrator identity, I think that would be least disruptive.

A prologue typically is a prefatory chapter or passage that introduces information necessary to understand the main action and in a different voice than the main action, often mostly a narrator voice rather than a character voice. A prelude similarly prefatorily introduces information necessary to understand the main action but in the same voice as the main action, i.e., often blended narrator and character voice, though with character voice predominant.

I wonder if the present-day first-person voice arches over both parts for narrator and character voice. If that is so, I think that's an artful choice for two voices readers can access and assimilate.

Posts: 3542 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I remember a Spider Robinson novel some years back, that alternated first-person and third-person chapters, revealing towards the end [SPOILER WARNING!] that they were both the same person. It worked there, so I suppose it's practical---i. e. "you could get away with it."
Posts: 8282 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
babooher
Member
Member # 8617

 - posted      Profile for babooher   Email babooher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If you have a reason and it works, it can be done. Heck, you don't even need a reason.

Switching POV has been done several times. Go for it.

Posts: 725 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mayflower988
Member
Member # 9858

 - posted      Profile for mayflower988   Email mayflower988         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks, everyone. I especially liked babooher's comment: "Heck, you don't even need a reason." :)
I think I can make it work.
Extrinsic, you kind of lost me in all that. It sounds like you're saying there are pros and cons to both options, and that even though I start the novel in third person, I need to make it absolutely clear that it's coming from my MC's point of view. Did I get that right?

Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Not so much "absolutely clear that it's coming from my MC's point of view," though that would be a desirable result, but that the narrator identity is sufficiently developed that readers at least can easily infer the two voices are different but one and the same.

Third person's strength is objectivity, objective reporting. First person's strength is subjectivity, open to interpretation reporting. A later-age person may have the benefit of objective 20/20 hindsight about the younger self, yet not have as objective a viewpoint about the present-day self.

That's more than credible. That's logical. I think that voice transformation over the course of a narrative could artfully enhance the narrative. The ending returning to an objective if first-person voice would complete the voice transformation cycle in parallel to the plot. Beautiful.

Posts: 3542 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mayflower988
Member
Member # 9858

 - posted      Profile for mayflower988   Email mayflower988         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, I think I understand. It's more a matter of developing a distinct voice for my main character that will sound like the same voice, regardless of the POV. And like you said, when the MC is older, she'll be able to look more objectively at her past self, but not so much her present self. So the voice will be slightly different, but still the same. Thank you very much. That's very helpful.
Posts: 286 | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2