View Full Version : Format w/ 1st person

02-08-2008, 09:26 PM
Originally I was going to split the book into a part one / part two kind of deal. Part one is Eddean's POV and part 2 is Jackson's POV. Both parts begin and end the same, but what happens in the middles are different (they get seperated for a while).

Then, I decided I could split them into 2 books. Since even though the beginning and end are the same... the middles are very different. For instance, Jackson spends most of his time forced to be a "freak" in a menagerie.

Now, it has come to my attention that I want to put the 2 POVs into the same book and not seperated into two parts. I guess my problem is... what do you do when you want to do the same scene twice... each one from a different POV and in the 1st person. How can I do this without distrupting the flow to much? BTW: this is a MG.

My WIP is killing me. Every time I think I have it figured out - I don't. HELP!

02-08-2008, 10:26 PM
yanno I wouldn't worry about that- I would just start writing each in first person - I would write each fully one at a time and then mess around with the structure AFTER it's a second or third draft- you can spend years agonizing over exactly HOW to do it right- the point is DO IT first...then agonize about the right structure for the book...

02-08-2008, 10:30 PM
First, listen to Patricia - just write it.

Second, if you are wondering if you can show the same scene in the book twice from different points of view, the answer is yes. Philippa Gregory does this in Bolyen Inheritance several times. Three women, telling their own versions of the same events. Sometimes they are telling different first person accounts of different things. On some occasionsl the characters all provided their own account of the same event.

02-08-2008, 10:39 PM
Three women, telling their own versions of the same events. Sometimes they are telling different first person accounts of different things. On some occasionsl the characters all provided their own account of the same event.

That's what I'm doing... or rather want to do. Guess I'll have to read the book to see how he did it.

I haven't stopped writing the individual stories. It's just bothering me to the point of distraction. When that happens to me, I have to stop and fix it or eventually I won't be able to write. I'm a little OCD like that.

02-08-2008, 10:50 PM
Parallel plots are your friend.

There are novels that do this. One example I can think of now is The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

ETA: And both plots are in first person POV from different characters in The Stolen Child.

02-08-2008, 11:00 PM
It sounds like it's hard for you to shut off, say, Eddean's POV when you're writing Jackson's POV, and vice versa. You'll have to, somehow, come up with a technique for working on them one at a time.

I think an end result of the same story in two different parts, told by two different people is a fantastic idea. And it's been done before, so you know it's possible. Good luck!

02-08-2008, 11:28 PM
One possibility if you are really struggling with switching between the two.

Write all of one person's pov. Keep the sections separate that you'll want the other person's pov inserted in.

Then go back and write 2nd person's pov. After you've written both, mesh them together.

It might sound complicated, but it also might work for you. Experiment with a few different ways and see what works for you.

02-09-2008, 12:19 AM
I think I'm being too confusing/vague. I can switch between the two POVs fine when it's not the same scene repeating. I just don't know how to put the same scene twice without it being jarring. I like things that flow. With my OCD ways, I have to figure out how to make it flow or else I'll go nuts. I would just go on and worry about it during editing time, but I can't.

02-09-2008, 01:01 AM
I don't think having the same scene twice would be jarring if the perspective we're getting is different enough. The second version should challenge our understanding of what happened, make us question what's really going on and/or whose viewpoint is more valid, make us wonder how the two viewpoints can be reconciled... Lot of potential with this technique.

If you haven't got something fresh and new and preferably disturbing to bring in the second telling, just don't do it. It is perfectly acceptable to leave holes in a narrative. More than acceptable, it is essential. I really don't care to read detailed descriptions of personal hygiene for each and every day of the action for instance. I don't even want to be told that it happened. I'm not interested in the details of how we get from point A to point B unless those details are an important part of the story. And so on.

02-09-2008, 01:12 AM
Here's a concrete tool I used in my own novel. Make a description jump out in the first scene (I used a boy who screamed like a boiling tea kettle). Then, when you do the scene again from another POV, once we come to the point (and it doesn't have to be right away) we'll understand that it's the same scene, but from a different angle.

Example from the second POV of the same scene:

Mack had warned Paddy to stay put, Pookie had ordered ChloŽ to do the same, and yet, when they heard the whistling tea-kettle scream from the hallway, none of them, not even Mrs. Urban in her wounded state, could remain locked in that bathroom any longer.

02-09-2008, 12:21 PM
If we are having two different takes on the same scene; at least one of them is an unreliable narrator, I assume.
I love these type of books. Read Orhan Pamuk's MY NAME IS RED.
He has multiple narrators, all first person, and describes certain scenes by more than one.