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BlueLucario
04-10-2008, 01:39 AM
I was writing the story and had an idea. It's called POV cheating. I recommend that you write in first person. If your story is a fantasy, it is recommended that your MC is magic or psychic. If neither, you can come up with a magical item to see what's going on somewhere else. And then write the story in third person. It's like a POV switch(which was recommended to avoid.) but you're still writing in the same POV, just witnessing what's happening in a vision.

Is someone cheating on your MC? Does another character have a big secret that they are keeping from him? You can try POV cheating to find out.

I thought the idea was brilliant and clever(I know you think otherwise.)

What do you guys think?

Chumplet
04-10-2008, 01:52 AM
I'm not sure I'd use it for that purpose, but I was thinking about writing in first person, just so I wouldn't pull the character out of the story. Then switch to third and presto! No POV problem! I have to see how it works in practice rather than theory, though.

Birol
04-10-2008, 02:04 AM
Blue, maybe you should be concentrating on your schoolwork rather than focusing on the best way, or different ways, to tell a story right now? The storytelling will always be here, but you have a finite time to finish your high school diploma. The diploma will even help you with your writing by opening doors and allowing you to have experiences that you otherwise wouldn't.

David I
04-10-2008, 02:05 AM
I'd be disinclined to have a first-person protagonist witness things this way, because I can't really think of a situation where it would help anything. It seems like it would make everything easier for the protagonist, which is usually just what you don't want.

On the other hand, there can be advantages to showing the reader things your first-person protagonist doesn't know; in fact, it's a terrific way to build suspense.

If you want to see a dazzling use of this technique, check out Lawrence Block's 2005 mystery/thriller All the Flowers are Dying. The main narrative voice is the proagonist's first-person past tense, but it is regularly interrupted by the villain's POV in third-person present tense, and it ratchets up the suspense enormously.

BlueLucario
04-10-2008, 02:12 AM
I'd be disinclined to have a first-person protagonist witness things this way, because I can't really think of a situation where it would help anything. It seems like it would make everything easier for the protagonist, which is usually just what you don't want.
.

It's very tempting for some reason.

geardrops
04-10-2008, 02:19 AM
It's very tempting for some reason.

Because if things are easy for the protag, they're easy for the author.

HeronW
04-10-2008, 02:31 AM
I like assorted POVs in 3rd to broaden the view for the reader. If the MC knows everything, what's left for the reader to give a damn about? Drama--what's going to happen next is what drives the reader, not tagging along after someone who's all-knowing and boring.

dpaterso
04-10-2008, 02:38 AM
1st person MC doesn't automatically mean the MC knows everything. Their knowledge is just as limited. Or have I misunderstood the statement?

-Derek

Marian Perera
04-10-2008, 02:44 AM
Does another character have a big secret that they are keeping from him? You can try POV cheating to find out.

Or try making your main character intelligent enough to find out the secret.


I thought the idea was brilliant and clever(I know you think otherwise.)

I think switching from first- to third-person been done before, and I prefer third-person with multiple points of view. But thanks for sharing.

maestrowork
04-10-2008, 03:14 AM
Tell the story the best way you can.

The other stuff is just... stuff. Distraction. Excuses for not actually writing.

BlueLucario
04-10-2008, 03:17 AM
I like assorted POVs in 3rd to broaden the view for the reader. If the MC knows everything, what's left for the reader to give a damn about? Drama--what's going to happen next is what drives the reader, not tagging along after someone who's all-knowing and boring.

What happens after he sees the event I guess. If the MC discovers that his wife is cheating with his best friend, what is he going to do about it?

I guess that Idea sucked. Now I understood what is meant by first person being limited. I did the POV cheating before, when one of my characters was kidnapped by the villain. And on her way to the fight scene, My MC recieves her thoughts and feelings, which were contradicting each other. It's hard to tell whether or not she forgives Lily for killing her mother.(To me.) I never showed this scene to my readers yet.

Grrrr....:Headbang: I didn't know this was already used.

Marian Perera
04-10-2008, 03:36 AM
Grrrr....:Headbang: I didn't know this was already used.

I think it's safe to assume that a young writer who hasn't yet completed a manuscript is unlikely to come up with any startlingly original techniques.

In other words, it would be a more productive use of your time to master the techniques that currently exist, rather than trying to invent new ones.

BlueLucario
04-10-2008, 03:53 AM
I think it's safe to assume that a young writer who hasn't yet completed a manuscript is unlikely to come up with any startlingly original techniques.


:e2bummed:I guess.

William Haskins
04-10-2008, 04:06 AM
i echo what lori said. tend to your studies.

the world can wait for your literary revolution long enough for you to graduate.

Soccer Mom
04-10-2008, 04:15 AM
Blue, JK Rowling did it already. Remember when Harry looked into the Pensieve and saw Dumbledore and Snape's memories?

yeah.

Great idea already done by one of the most famous writers of our generation.

Go do you schoolwork and get that GPA up.

ETA: Yes, I know it wasn't 1st per POV, but it's the same idea. MC uses a magical object to give us another person's POV.

BlueLucario
04-10-2008, 04:32 AM
Blue, JK Rowling did it already. Remember when Harry looked into the Pensieve and saw Dumbledore and Snape's memories?

yeah.

Great idea already done by one of the most famous writers of our generation.

Go do you schoolwork and get that GPA up.

ETA: Yes, I know it wasn't 1st per POV, but it's the same idea. MC uses a magical object to give us another person's POV.

Oh yeah! Dang, forgot.

Sorry to bother you with this silly idea.

yttar
04-10-2008, 04:55 AM
My two thoughts.

1. There was an author who did this in her dragon series that started with The Song in the Silence, followed by The Lesser Kindred and Redeeming the Lost. I don't remember how exactly, but the main characters somehow acquired a magical device (I don't remember what it was exactly) that allowed her to write the story in 1st person, but to still included as many (if not more so) 1st person point of views as any 3rd person story would have.

As a reader, this got very annoying because it gave me the impression that all the characters (good guys and bad guys) were sitting around a campfire and having a "chat" about the events in the book. And I kept thinking, well, if the bad guy's at the campfire, why don't they just take him out already?

2. There's a short story I've considered writing where the main character develops telepathy/empathy, and can suddenly hear the thoughts of all those around her. While she does her best to act like it's the good thing she thought it would be, it ultimately drives her insane.

I guess I'm just saying that you should think about the consequences of your choices. Or ask the question, How would your character truly react if they had the ability to hear everyone else's thoughts and/or feel everyone else's emotions. Unless it's only for a certain few individuals that this works for, but then you also need to answer Why?

Oh, and I forgot to mention. I don't think it's POV cheating. I think it's sloppy writing.

Yttar

choppersmom
04-10-2008, 05:07 AM
Also Tolkien in "Ring," when Frodo looks into Galadriel's mirror. That one's extra cool, because you're not sure if what you're seeing is happening now, or has happened in the past, or will happen in the future. So as a fortunetelling tool, it's actually pretty non-helpful. But I digress. Point is, it's been done.

HOWEVER.

That does not mean you can't do it too! Look, every plot, every gimmick, every trick has been done in one form or another. It's up to you to put your own twist on those elements, to make the way you use them different from the way anyone else does. So please, hon, don't be so discouraged! What everyone is trying so hard to give you is the confidence in your ability to create interesting fiction, but we can't do the work for you, and no trick or shortcut can make it any easier. LEARN THE CRAFT. That's the only way to ever become a writer. Learn the craft, buy a tube of butt-in-chair glue, and work work work. Don't expect to be finished next month, or maybe not even next year. But keep on truckin', and someday, you'll be ready.

HeronW
04-10-2008, 11:58 AM
Hey Blue,

That's why we're here -- to bounce ideas off each other. Keep reading, keep writing :}

Bartholomew
04-10-2008, 12:31 PM
I can see some fun applications for this idea. The MC seeing something--but misinterpreting it on a tragic level, which then causes all sorts of hell.

I suspect it would be more of a throw-away plot device than a POV method, though.

Phaeal
04-10-2008, 05:16 PM
Empathy, telepathy, clairvoyance, astral projection, magical "spying" devices -- all of these create special advantages and special problems for the writer. It's hard to put an all-knowing protagonist in significant jeopardy.

Which is why the concept that all magic and all special abilities have limitations and/or serious consequences is so vital to SF/F. Say the protag is clairvoyant but not telepathic -- she can see things far away, but can't read the minds of the people she's observing. Now you have imposed an important limitation. Add this: the protag suffers physical consequences for far-seeing, and so can only do it for short periods of time.

In a story with a protag far-seeing without mind-reading, you would have sections in either first or third person, deep penetration (the protag's POV) and sections in third person POV, camera eye (no insight into the minds of the observed). Another possibility is a protag who enters into the minds of others so fully that the protag pretty much becomes the other person. Then you could have alternating first person sections (protag as herself, protag as Characters X, Y, Z.)

Such a shift of POV would only be "cheating" if it came out of nowhere. Protag is hit on the head, can suddenly see into the antag's mind at a critical moment! Protag finds a never-before-mentioned device that reveals the antag's far-off actions just in time!

Using "POV-shift" devices is a tricky thing. Take Rowling's Pensieve. Basically, it's a tool for presenting flashbacks without the trouble of having a character "flash back." Useful. But I found the Pensieve scenes to be psychologically untrue. What the Pensieve shows is supposed to be a character's memory. But when you look into the Pensieve, you don't see a scene viewed through that character's eyes and sensibility and (potentially) hindsight, you enter the scene yourself as an invisible observer, in effect a camera, and the memory-donor moves through the scene like everyone else, an unprobed cipher.

I guess we could say the Pensieve has a modem that translates the memory from its donor's POV to camera-eye narration. But Rowling, ever wary of burdening us with magical theory, doesn't say this. ;)

cethklein
04-10-2008, 06:20 PM
1st person MC doesn't automatically mean the MC knows everything. Their knowledge is just as limited. Or have I misunderstood the statement?

-Derek

Yes, that's a risk you take with 1st person POV, you have to be careful to not make your MC "know what he isn't supposed to know". Many people have a tendency to make their MC think what they author thinks. If one wants to get into the MC's head they need to make sure they stay there.

A proverb I've always went by is one that sounds utterly stupid "I can't know something until you've learned it". The MC shouldn't know something they haven't yet learned during the story. Example, say your MC is at a locked door. There is a keypad with four buttons. The buttons are in an alien language. The MC needs to first consider "Aww crap, I don't know what those buttons say" before even considering trying to decode the lock.

BlueLucario
04-10-2008, 07:12 PM
In a story with a protag far-seeing without mind-reading, you would have sections in either first or third person, deep penetration (the protag's POV) and sections in third person POV, camera eye (no insight into the minds of the observed). Another possibility is a protag who enters into the minds of others so fully that the protag pretty much becomes the other person. Then you could have alternating first person sections (protag as herself, protag as Characters X, Y, Z.)



Using "POV-shift" devices is a tricky thing. Take Rowling's Pensieve. Basically, it's a tool for presenting flashbacks without the trouble of having a character "flash back." Useful. But I found the Pensieve scenes to be psychologically untrue. What the Pensieve shows is supposed to be a character's memory. But when you look into the Pensieve, you don't see a scene viewed through that character's eyes and sensibility and (potentially) hindsight, you enter the scene yourself as an invisible observer, in effect a camera, and the memory-donor moves through the scene like everyone else, an unprobed cipher.

I guess we could say the Pensieve has a modem that translates the memory from its donor's POV to camera-eye narration. But Rowling, ever wary of burdening us with magical theory, doesn't say this. ;)


Actually you're right about the pensive. Rather than a memory, it sounds like you're going back in time. I don't really think it's their memories at all, more like some witnessing an event that only that person saw.

(I hated the sixth book. Worst book in the series. Sorry it is.)

JimmyB27
04-15-2008, 02:41 PM
Blue, maybe you should be concentrating on your schoolwork rather than focusing on the best way, or different ways, to tell a story right now? The storytelling will always be here, but you have a finite time to finish your high school diploma. The diploma will even help you with your writing by opening doors and allowing you to have experiences that you otherwise wouldn't.
Maybe you should be encouraging a young writer who, let's face it, is spending her time much more wisely than the young layabouts hanging out at the mall, or vandalising, or whatever.
School is important, but so is having interests outside of school.

BlueLucario
04-15-2008, 06:06 PM
By the way, I hope I'm not rude for asking, but why was this moved to the basic questions forums? I'm not asking any questions, I just had an idea.

choppersmom
04-15-2008, 06:08 PM
Maybe you should be encouraging a young writer who, let's face it, is spending her time much more wisely than the young layabouts hanging out at the mall, or vandalising, or whatever.
School is important, but so is having interests outside of school.

I agree that Blue is better off here than doing some of the things teens do nowadays, but when the schoolwork begins to suffer because of outside interests, then it's time to cut back on the outside interests and put schoolwork first. Everyone here has been encouraging Blue in her writing, but she also needs to realize that she, like most of us, is unlikely to make a living as a writer. She needs to focus on her education so that she can get by in the world while she works on improving as a writer. She wants the world and she wants it now. I can certainly empathize with that feeling, there are lots of things I want, and I'd like to have them all now, but that's not how it works. I have a job I have to show up at every day, or they'll stop giving me pieces of paper with numbers printed on them, and I won't be able to pay the electric bill to keep my computer running so I can write. We as the adults here would all be irresponsible if we DIDN'T urge Blue to get her diploma and focus on her schoolwork, IMO.

BlueLucario
04-15-2008, 06:23 PM
Can we please stop focusing on that now? I already have classwork aside. I understand your concern for me, but really everything is fine.

dpaterso
04-15-2008, 06:46 PM
By the way, I hope I'm not rude for asking, but why was this moved to the basic questions forums? I'm not asking any questions, I just had an idea.
Because your idea doesn't just apply to novels, it could be used in short stories, novelettes, novellas. It's a general thought rather than a novel writing technique.

-Derek

choppersmom
04-15-2008, 07:00 PM
Can we please stop focusing on that now? I already have classwork aside. I understand your concern for me, but really everything is fine.

Please don't take it wrong, hon. We care, that's all. I for one would feel terrible if I participated in discussions with you, and then found out you were failing your classes because you're here instead of studying. If you're doing OK, that's great!

Birol
04-15-2008, 07:27 PM
Maybe you should be encouraging a young writer who, let's face it, is spending her time much more wisely than the young layabouts hanging out at the mall, or vandalising, or whatever.
School is important, but so is having interests outside of school.

Jimmy, I've spent countless hours encouraging new writers on this board and elsewhere. This includes Blue. However, Blue recently let the board know of some problems she was having with school. Encouragement and caring takes many forms and all of them are not directly related to writing.


Can we please stop focusing on that now? I already have classwork aside. I understand your concern for me, but really everything is fine.

This is good to know.

JimmyB27
04-15-2008, 10:35 PM
Jimmy, I've spent countless hours encouraging new writers on this board and elsewhere. This includes Blue. However, Blue recently let the board know of some problems she was having with school. Encouragement and caring takes many forms and all of them are not directly related to writing.
Okay, fair enough. You just sounded a bit....militant, and that sort of approach can make some kids get more rebellious and less likely to work hard (I know, I was such a kid).

dpaterso
04-15-2008, 11:13 PM
Anyone got any more comments on POV "cheating"?

-Derek

choppersmom
04-16-2008, 01:48 AM
The above few comments are an example of the effects of POV cheating really - some of the posters knew things outside of this POV (thread) and thus confused other participants in the POV discussion with some comments...

POV cheating can have confusing side-effects :D

Awesome segue, Isaac!