PDA

View Full Version : PoV characters separated in time


The Backward OX
04-18-2010, 08:18 PM
Do you think it possible that different PoV characters in the one story could narrate from widely different times?

By this, I mean that most of the narration would be from the POV of characters in 1995, but just one character would be narrating in 2010 but looking back to 1995.

The idea is to create an older wiser character reflecting on his past, saying "this is what I did then." The others all stay firmly in 1995.

Does that make sense and seem possible?

Would an introduction, setting this up, do the trick? Would some type of formatting of the pages be necessary?

Or is the whole idea silly?

Dr.Gonzo
04-18-2010, 08:23 PM
I think anything can work if done the right way. I wouldn't want to give a solid answer until I knew what perspective and tense you'd be using.

bonitakale
04-18-2010, 09:18 PM
Why is it silly? It would have to be a character who's survived, of course. Could be the hero's best bud, something like that.

lilmamaross
04-18-2010, 10:19 PM
I think it would be interesting. Unfortunately, I have no "pull it off" suggestions. :(

Lady Ice
04-18-2010, 11:36 PM
Of course it's possible. One of my ideas on the backburner is a character speaking 40 years after the events. Normally when they do something like this, there's some sort of frame story, such as a character writing their memoirs, looking back through old photos, etc.I think it would be good to do a prologue to establish the modern day bit, otherwise it might come across as a bit random.

Mr Flibble
04-18-2010, 11:43 PM
I've read a couple of books that do the same ( Carrie springs to mind, with the interjections from the inquest / trail whatever it was, oh and the Rearer's Digest story)

So not silly

The Backward OX
04-19-2010, 08:47 AM
Of course it's possible. One of my ideas on the backburner is a character speaking 40 years after the events. Normally when they do something like this, there's some sort of frame story, such as a character writing their memoirs, looking back through old photos, etc.I think it would be good to do a prologue to establish the modern day bit, otherwise it might come across as a bit random.
Thanks. This seems a good idea, and has created another: various memoir-type short excerpts - or chapters - scatttered through the story, to keep the "this is now and that was back then" idea firmly fixed in the reader's mind.

Dr.Gonzo
04-19-2010, 01:53 PM
If I was doing that I'd write the main of the story first and then go back through and fill the holes in the different style. It's just me though. I know King did the same but for a different reason; he was padding because the novel was tiny - still is, even after said padding.

shaldna
04-19-2010, 05:04 PM
A walk to remember does this well. although it's all told from one pov, but over a lot of time

Use Her Name
04-19-2010, 05:47 PM
Well, sure there are tons of books written by "the survivors of a certain event." They are narrators talking about their earlier life, like Louis the vampire in Interview. Many books have a present day narrator and much happening in the past. I feel there should be a "story" unfolding in both times though. Just having a person sitting at a table talking will not work. Another possibility is that the Author get into the persona of the survivor, and write as though the event happened to "you" in 1st person (even if it did not).

The Backward OX
04-19-2010, 08:13 PM
I feel there should be a "story" unfolding in both times though. Just having a person sitting at a table talking will not work.
Would anyone else care to comment on this aspect?

Dr.Gonzo
04-19-2010, 08:45 PM
Would anyone else care to comment on this aspect?

I'd like the character to have a reason why he or she is telling the story. What's going on in their lives at present that's making them want to tell this story? Are they dying and thinking of their mistakes? Are they facing similar hurdles now as they did before?

Lady Ice
04-19-2010, 10:32 PM
Yes, it has to feel like the person is really compelled to tell us his thoughts on it now. If it's something like 'He had an affair and was mean to his wife', we assume that he feels bad about that. Adding a narrative that says he feels bad will not add much in that case.