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Hey, all!
As it seems to have become a subject of interest, I'd like to start a discussion about narrative perspective. I am sure we are all aware of the options: first person, third person, second person, third person ominicient, etc.
Actually, there are many different "slants" to these categories. For example, there is first person direct narrative as well as first person introspective.
First person direct goes like this: "I walked around my house, noticing all of the incredible damage the burglar had done."
First person introspective would read more like this: "I couldn't believe what that bastard had done to my home. I wanted to find him and strangle him for the absolute violation of both my privacy and my integrity. I couldn't imagine anything more devastating, short of being raped."
The difference is obvious. The latter is more subjective than objective.
The introduction of third person changes the perspective quite dramatically if you are utilizing third/omniscient as a tool to add to the imagery and texture of the complete narrative.
Let's take the same scene and play around with it, to demonstrate:

{{ Linda came home to find her house completely a mess. It struck her as both incredibly obvious who had done it as well as an incredible violation. Her ex was the prime suspect, for sure.
Everything on her mantle--pictures of family and friends, souveniers from past exursions, trinkets found in flea markets--had apparently been very deliberately destroyed and thrown about the living room. It seemed like a bomb had gone off.}}
Now we move forward a chapter, let's say:
{{ I couldn't believe what I was seeing when I walked into my living room after getting home from work that day. It didn't make any kind of sense to me at first glance, but the more I looked around, the more sure I became that John had managed his way in and had gone on a rampage.}}
I am hoping that you are seeing the way the two perspectives work parallel to eachother, but provide a uniquely different vision to the narrative.
When there are two or more characters, then "head hopping" starts taking place. Right now, we are wondering who John is and why he apparently is so spiteful toward Linda. So let's see what John has to say:
{{I so wanted her to be home so that I could scream my frustration at her at the top of my lungs. She had cheated on me with my best friend, had humiliated me in front of my business partners, flaunted her so-called power so often. . .well, I just couldn't take it anymore.}}
Notice how what one character says is not necessarily the "way it is". By juggling the third and first person narratives, incomplete truths and subjective sub-plots can be resolved to significantly dramatic effects.
What are your takes?
Best,
M.

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Replies to This Discussion

If you have ever read..something, then you probably are aware of the different points of narration, as i call them.
What you did there Mark, was an excellent example! I was amazed at how true every detail is. I myself had not think of what you stated in the last part.
May i ask?
What do you prefer when reading; a deep inside touch of the story, told by one of the main characters? Or a view of the whole world, from a third-omnipresent person?
Hey Rowen!
Thank you for your input.
When reading, I find myself interested in all sides of the story. . . if it is well written of course.
My last point was that the separation from first and third person/omnicient is not always all that clear. Several of my favorite authors--Stephen King, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, the list goes on--have a wonderful tendency to be able to make third person/omnicient sound like the author is telling the story directly to you, gentle reader. When using first person, the character, his or her or itself, is telling the story to you.
I believe very strongly in the idea that a good story is in the telling of it. . .and thus, why I often switch perspectives when writing. A fully realized story is oft' told by more than one person!
Best,
M.
Nice. I'm thinking I don't do so much head hopping after all. Then again, you wrote it up different than I do, using first person thoughts. I'm not so good at thoughts and I'm thinking my 'telling' still has a firm grip on my spine.

Thanks for the explanation.
I can't stand reading books written in the first person. I've never liked them since I was very young and I'm not 100% sure why. All I know is I dislike that style. Lucky we all have different tastes! :)
I read a piece yesterday that really bothered me. The story itself had it's problems but that wasn't what really bothered me. It was written from 3 different POVs. The main was first person and the other two were third person. I can't recall ever reading something of that nature but I thought I'd ask someone who knows more than me. In an example of this nature, should it be all in the same person? I recommended that she change the whole thing to third person but I did that mostly because it was well into the tale before I learned what the main's name was. Like I said this story had it's problems. Should I tell her something else?
Hey there, Anna.
Go to my blog site and read a little of what I have let out on my latest novel, Free Clinic. I have multiple POV's that are intrinsic to the story line. It's hard to write, sometimes, with so many voices in ones head, but the articulation --if crafted correctly-- provides the reader a real thrill ride.
One of the best writers of multiple POV's is(was) Frank Herbert. His son has taken the reigns in several novels. The Dune series is a classic example of working with multiple POV's.
As for head hopping. . .well, that's between you and you and your characters :)

Anna L. Walls said:
I read a piece yesterday that really bothered me. The story itself had it's problems but that wasn't what really bothered me. It was written from 3 different POVs. The main was first person and the other two were third person. I can't recall ever reading something of that nature but I thought I'd ask someone who knows more than me. In an example of this nature, should it be all in the same person? I recommended that she change the whole thing to third person but I did that mostly because it was well into the tale before I learned what the main's name was. Like I said this story had it's problems. Should I tell her something else?
Hey there, Rowen!
My preferences when I write are almost absolutely generated by the story I wish to tell. Third person (me) has to take direction, sometimes, from the characters who drive the story line. In SF, often, world-building and the nature of the science involved take precedent over the characters, as far the gentle reader is concerned. In my work, I am completely convinced that there is no story without people with whom the reader can become involved. It becomes natural, then, to have to think about each of the characters' points of view and to adjust ones writing to accomodate such. Though it might seem difficult, it is actually pretty easy once one is comfortable with ones characters and ones overall story line.
The brass tacks of the matter is a juggling act that one has to perfect through practice.
Ask any writer and they will say the same thing: "shut up and write!".
Having a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style by your work space is good, too.
My best,
Write on,
M.

Rowen Mahogany said:
If you have ever read..something, then you probably are aware of the different points of narration, as i call them.
What you did there Mark, was an excellent example! I was amazed at how true every detail is. I myself had not think of what you stated in the last part.
May i ask?
What do you prefer when reading; a deep inside touch of the story, told by one of the main characters? Or a view of the whole world, from a third-omnipresent person?

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