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katatonic
12-18-2008, 07:41 PM
Hey all, I have a dilemma. I have 3 characters thatIi use 1st person past for in my current WIP. It's been running fairly smoothly, but now that the characters have met up and are interacting with eachother I'm having a hard time figuring out how to express it.

It needs to be continuous and non repetitive. Kinda hard when I don't really want to stick to one characters POV or continuously headhop. It's important that I stay in each characters head, so I guess that 3rd person ins't an option?

But i'm not to sure...

Any examples or possible solutions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Woven
12-18-2008, 07:45 PM
I think I would suggest reading an author who does this. The fist that pops into my mind is Jodi Picoult. Her characters meet up, but each chapter is written from the first person perspective of one of the characters and it is obvious who that character is.

Too complicated for me! But it really works well for her.

ChaosTitan
12-18-2008, 07:47 PM
Why is it so important that you stay in each character's head? Why can't you pick one POV for the scene and write it?

katatonic
12-18-2008, 07:54 PM
Why is it so important that you stay in each character's head? Why can't you pick one POV for the scene and write it?

For the emotional thought and response. The characters see things very differently and what may seem like an insignificant thing may be a huge thing for another.

There's also a fair amount of scenes where they interact, and I will definitely have to choose one POV over the others. But when a bombshell is dropped that significantly affects the characters in very different ways I need to get inside their head...

Jerry B. Flory
12-18-2008, 07:58 PM
Paul Zindel. The Pigman, My Darling, my hamburger.multiple POVs.

ChaosTitan
12-18-2008, 08:04 PM
I totally get the multiple narrators (I'm playing with something similar, too) and the reasons for using them. However...


There's also a fair amount of scenes where they interact, and I will definitely have to choose one POV over the others. But when a bombshell is dropped that significantly affects the characters in very different ways I need to get inside their head...

In the scenes were the narrators interact, sometimes hiding things from the reader is better than putting everyone's reaction out on display. As writers, we always want to show the reader what's happening, what our characters are feeling, and that's made more difficult when we're so close to three different narrators.

But we can get just as strong a reaction from readers by sticking to one POV and having that narrator's observations describe the emotional state of the other people in the scene. For example, your three POV characters just learn that their rich father died and left his entire estate to the youngest sibling. The scene is in the POV of the middle child. His POV can relate the shock and anger of the eldest, the surprise and fear of the youngest, as well as his own issues of being in the middle of things. Three very different, important reactions to events, but all told through a single POV within that scene.

Carmy
12-18-2008, 08:34 PM
I agree with ChaosTitan--one POV per scene. The POV character can see physical reactions but only guess what the other person is thinking. When the next scene switches to another POV, we get the proof that Character One was right.

Although you have multi POVs one should or could shine through as the main character at the end. Make that character the one to guess what the others are thinking, but even he can be wrong at times. Just take care not to mislead the reader.

Carmy
12-18-2008, 08:35 PM
p.s. Maeve Binchy does multi POVs brilliantly in Circle of Friends.

Gillhoughly
12-18-2008, 09:36 PM
For the emotional thought and response. The characters see things very differently and what may seem like an insignificant thing may be a huge thing for another.

Pick the character who will have the most important response--such as making a plot changing decision for the story-- and write the scene through that one. He or she can notice the response of the others.

You set yourself up for this problem, so you have to work through it in such a way as to tell the story, but not confuse the readers.

This applies to writing in 3rd person, too.

I had a book with multiple 3rd person VPs plus 1st person for the MC. It can be done once you decide who is the best narrator for any particular scene.

Mr Flibble
12-18-2008, 09:50 PM
Or there is an alternative which I've used in a a situation where it was important to see how / why my two pov character's attitudes towards a Certain Person were so radically different.

The scene was roughly ten pages, First five are from MC 1's POV. She likes Certain Person, because he's being nice to her. It's a bit of a shock to discover he's not nice to everyone. She notes MC 2's reactions to Certain Person. At a convenient point *** and POV shifts to MC 2 for a page or so, long enough for him to note that it wouldn't take much provocation for him to strangle Certain Person. Then *** and back to MC1

Only one POV at a time, but two for the scene. Mind you it's easier in thrid limited because it's so easy to nail who the POV character is. Might be trickier in first - but if you can really nail whose POV it is right at the swap, and you aren't constantly swapping, it could be done.

maestrowork
12-18-2008, 09:57 PM
Pick one character (the most emotionally relevant) and then infer the other two for the readers. They don't just bottle up their emotions and not have any kind of facial expressions or body language, do they? The POV character can read those signs and emotions, right?

Part of the fun of 1st person is to get the readers really involved, but they DON'T have to be involved with all three characters at the same time. It's fun to have "discovery," too. But switching between three 1st person narrators at a time, you risk diluting the emotions and also confusing the readers, not to mention revealing too much. There's such a thing called "intrigue."

A good writer should be able to develop her characters even if it's from the perspective of a single character. That's how humans work anyway -- in reality (and in most movies) we don't get to go inside other people's minds; everything is done through inference and interpretation. Sometimes I think writers have a tendency of trying to reveal too much, about every character, instead of trusting the readers' intelligence and empathy (or their own descriptive, "show vs. tell" ability).