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From a Certain Point of View

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by TKeira_Lea, Nov 17, 2005.

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  1. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Stories are told by someone. As authors, this can often be the hardest decision. Who exactly should relay my tale?

    In the end this decision makes all the difference. Perhaps you want to portray a character?s madness. Would it be more effective scene from an outsider?s perspective or different yet, introduce the insane character from a limited POV ? his ? then switch later to a different character's perspective and juxtapose what the insane character thought was normal. The reader is left with a shock; what was up is now down.

    So you see, the decision becomes relevant and must be made before starting the flow of words.
    [b]What types of POV are there?
    [blockquote]First Person[/b]
    The narrator participates in the action of the story. The character reveals his/her feelings and inner thoughts, or information directly received from outside sources, such as other characters. The trustworthiness of the storyteller can be in question, and his/her limited knowledge will affect the telling. [u]I, Jedi[/u] is told from the first person point of view.

    [b]Second Person[/b]
    In second person POV, one person tells us the story of another person. It is similar to first person except ?I? is replaced with ?you.? This style is rarely used.

    [b]Third Person[/b]
    The narrator does not participate in the story. The readers learn about the characters through this outside voice. There are numerous variations of Third Person POV: Objective, Omniscient, Limited, Multiple, Flexible and all sorts of variations of those.

    The most well-known types of Third Person POV are Omniscient and Limited. In Third Person Omniscient, the narrator can tell the thoughts and feelings of characters within the story. ([u]The Hobbit[/u] and [u]The Scarlet Letter[/u]) Third Person Limited concentrates the narration on one character?s behavior and reactions. The storyteller is in essence looking over the character?s shoulder. This is quite common in Star Wars fiction, and can also prove the trickiest.[/blockquote]

    [hr]

    POV can be one of the trickiest aspects of writing. Its use can also make or break a story. Some of the best ideas fall flat when presented from the wrong perspective. My intention is to give people a place to grapple with those problems. In the future, I?ll place up specific examples of the Third Person Limited ?mind-jumping? ? a common writing mistake ? and present workshops where the benefit of each type of POV can be explored.

    Interested? Suggestions? Need a place to beat your head when POV drives you batty? Or been told you?ve got POV shift but just can?t find them?
    >
     
  2. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    I have a great deal of problem with shifting POV but my readers say that they don't have a problem with it since the shifts are apparently (according to them and I asked) smooth. However, when I submitted some things to the Archives they didn't like the POV shifts. I couldn't even see them and neither did my betas. So HHP suggested that I highlight each POV shift with color in my word text to see if there are too many, or any at all. A great idea since I'm very visually oriented. She also said that as I wrote the post, the POV shifts increased (tiredness would be my guess). :p

    So, yes, I have a lot of POV shift issues. Suggestions would be wonderful.
     
  3. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 7, 2002
    Someone get Jedi Trace in here. She is the master at finding POV shifts. [face_mischief]

    It's easy to fall into this when we are writing, because our thoughts are moving along an exponential line. Thinking in terms of the different variations of thoughts and ideas that are relayed by our characters is bad enough, but keeping them in proper perspective with their emotions and POV's is even more difficult.

    The author must keep the line of progression in story telling a free moving, but organized flow of dialogue and actions. A linear piece that winds through the heads of many, if you will. It's hard, but a story that uses its POV aspects well to tell the story is well worth it.
     
  4. TheCrazyRodian

    TheCrazyRodian Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Fantastic topic. I'm going to slum around in here behind the scenes for a while to try and absorb the wisdom that comes up, because I need to practice this stuff. If that's okay, of course.

    Personally, I think a great example of the difference POV can make in a story is that of the JAT/I, Jedi. We get the same timeframe from different PsOV, and the tone/color of the events is changed accordingly.

    Another good source for looking at POV material (sources plural, actually) would be the Tales books, especially Tales of the Mos Eisley Cantina. Most of those stories are in third-person, and most have pretty lame sideplots, but it can be interesting to see the dozen different takes on the same scene. Not that I'm holding all the stories up as superb examples of writing--they're examples to learn from, both positively and negatively.

    Excellent stuff. I will chime in here and there with comments/examples/knock knock jokes whenever I feel the need to.
     
  5. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 9, 2001
    I love POV stuff. :p It's just such a fascinating concept to me. You can have a single set of objective events and actions, and yet write completely different stories depending on what POV is used to portray those events. Just think about how our entire perception of the GFFA would have been altered if the OT had been told from the Imperial POV rather than the Jedi/Rebels.

    There was a thread with some POV discussion here a while ago...year-and-a-half or so. Link is [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Message.aspx?topic=15049580&brd=10304&start=15050884]here[/link] if anyone's interested.

    I used to do 3rd-Person-Limited mind-jumping all the time, but I'm much more conscious of it now, and I try to avoid it. It's really hard sometimes, though, when there's a reaction from another character that I want to include but can't due to the POV. Sometimes there are ways of working around it, and other times I just have to let that reaction go, no matter how much it irks me to do so. :p

    -Thumper
     
  6. SakuraTsukikage

    SakuraTsukikage Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 24, 2005
    I know I'm having some trouble right now with POV, because I recklessly started writing a story ENTIRELY from Obi-Wan's first person POV. In this story, I have used italics to indicate another person's POV, which I put in limited third and have limited to Anakin and Sidious. For some reason, however, this point of view has made it easier to write Obi-Wan for me--in this particular story I've experienced a lot of Obi-Wan's thoughts, feelings, and words just flowing out of me and onto the page.

    I love playing with POV. It's a fascinating subject to think about in stories. Probably half the fanfic out there (well, maybe not that many but a good amount nonetheless) are simply retellings of certain scenes either from a deeper point of view or a different one. In fact, once I finish "A Resolution Between Shadows and Light," (story mentioned above), I'm intended to write it again from the point of view of one of the more minor characters. I liked I, Jedi for that reason, and because the first-person POV presented an interesting departure from the norm in profic.
     
  7. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Excellent topic.

    I'm a devotee of Third Person Limited. I think that comes from writing suspense, because it wouldn't be much of a surprise at the end if you knew what everyone was thinking. Additionally, sometimes I don't even want to know what's going through some of my OCs heads.

    I'm always surprised to see how many authors are writing first person/present tense fics. Maybe it's because I'm older, but I was always taught to be so very careful with that perspective that I have used it sparingly and only for short pieces. I always found it harder to write first person/present than third person.
     
  8. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2005
    I'll be watching this topic with GREAT interest, since I have 1, or maybe 2, stories I'm currently figuring out witch POV to use.

    Sometimes, the POV reveals itself within the 1st page of roughing out the story. Several times I've started 3rd person - my usual style - but I find myself writing a section/dialogue from one character's POV and that, instead, becomes the story's POV.

    I've written several stories from Obi-Wan's POV to explore his hidden emotions (since Jedi control their outward expression :oops: ) I find that easy, since I identify so well with the character anyway. :)

    I look forward to this discussion.
     
  9. Commander-DWH

    Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 3, 2003
    I agree with oqi in that I find first person much harder to write well. I can think of three stories where I've used it, none are very long, and for one it was required else I wouldn't have (thank you, Fluffmeister. :p).

    I try to keep my POV consistent between scene shifts. My beta pointed out where I did it in a couple of places, and that's made it much easier for me to catch. However, in a scene with two characters, it can sometimes be difficult to write it without changing the POV. It's just not always practical to write another scene just to get the other character's thoughts on the matter. So as long as it's smooth and makes sense, then I'm all for it.

    It gets especially interesting with a large cast. I've got my main players, but half a dozen other people running around as well. And I have to limit the POV of some of my players in order to maintian a certain degree of secrecy... *shifty eyes*

    POV is fun stuff, and it will be quite interesting to hear what everyone has to say about it.
     
  10. AlisonC

    AlisonC Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 27, 2005
    This is one area that I never realized I had a problem in until recently. I use third person almost all the time, normally third person limited with shifts. One thing I'm trying to consciously do to fix that is stick with one POV per scene, and if I need to switch to another, break it up with a horizontal bar and start the new scene with someone else.

    In Chapter 6 of The Droid Empress, I had no choice but to use multiple POV's or 3rd omniscient (which I find difficult to write, because I like delving into a character's mind at times and showing hir thoughts); part of the action involved Jacen, and part involved Desa (an OC) but they weren't quite together and neither of them would have been aware of all of the other's actions. So I wrote the first part following Jacen, then switched fully to Desa. That was kind of a pain, because I wanted to go back into Jacen's head a little bit, but didn't want a second shift so I just wrote Desa's perceptions. (The first few chapters, I think, have non-marked shifts, and someday I'll go back and fix that.) I can't possibly use first, second, or third-limited without POV changes because the story follows more than one character in different locations, sometimes simultaneously. Third limited, or first, would make most complex stories with large casts confusing because so many characters' viewpoints, motivations, and actions are lost or only touched on.

    I don't like second person POV (reading it feels kind of like playing an RP with someone godmoding like crazy). Just a personal preference.

    How many POV shifts are too many - or, rather, how long should portions with one character being followed be before changing to another, as a general rule?
     
  11. Idrelle_Miocovani

    Idrelle_Miocovani Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Hmmm, POV. I love POVs!

    Although I tend to usually write in Third Person limited, I like to use the others occasionally as well. I've had loads of fun using second person. It's not quite as bad as I thought at first and I actually like writing in second person.

    But only short stories. A long fic written in second person could quite possibly drive me mad.
     
  12. SakuraTsukikage

    SakuraTsukikage Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 24, 2005
    I thought Stover used second-person quite well in the RotS novelization, in an original and unusual way. "This is how it feels to be . . . you . . . you . . ." etc. I have written short fics in second-person before. However, it begins rather jarring in a long fic, I think. As far as I know, Fanfiction.net does not accept any fics in second-person, which is an interesting choice for them, though I understand it.

    On another note, the amount of books that are published in certain points of view is very much controlled by what POVs are "in vogue" or what editors like. I know, for example, because my aunt is a writer of genre fiction, that for a long time it was almost impossible to get first person POV published, and that second-person has always been looked at with trepidation in the publishing world.

    I've always marked my POV shifts in stories and made them obvious. I've never had a problem with shifting POVs not-on-purpose--in fact, there were times that I wanted to shift POVs unobtrusively in the middle of the scene but couldn't manage to write it because I'm so used to writing blatantly obvious POV shifts.

    When writing a third-person limited stories that shifts POVs, I often find it an interesting question whether you should write anything from the antagonist's point of view or not. Sometimes it can increase the tension. Sometimes, though, giving the antagonist's thoughts can do the exact opposite.
     
  13. Nienna_Narmolanya

    Nienna_Narmolanya Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Ah, POV's. :) I usually write in Third Person Limited, but sometimes I flirt with First Person (especially in viggies) just because it's so much fun digging around inside a certain character's mind (especially Anakin's). ;)

    Writing Third Person Limited and staying inside the POV of one character can be tricky, and sometimes I have minor problems with POV shifts. When I notice myself straying from my main character's POV, I remind myself to think from that character's perspective, imagine that I am them, and that what is happening to them is happening to me. That really helps me not only with thoughts, dialogue, and actions, but also with describing the scene and characters. For example, a boy staring up in horror at a blaster aimed at his head is not going to think of his own eye color. I've seen that kind of thing in a few stories. If he were able to think at all through his terror and shock, he would probably be noticing the glint of the blaster barrel or the cold eyes of the person pointing it at him. Be sure your character can sense what you are describing; if the character can't possibly be aware of it, then it doesn't belong. :)

    That's all I have to say for now. Very good idea for a thread! :D I'll be sure to keep peeking my head in.
     
  14. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    I've had scenes that I couldn't make work for weeks suddenly snap into "focus" when I shifted the viewpoint character. It's my revision of last resort, actually, since it requires a 100% rewrite of the section, but if everything else fails, shifting the POV often fixes things.

    I've seldom written anything but 3rd person limited . . . there are authors who have a real talent for first-person narration, but that group does not include me. I have a hard time making my characters "behave" when I let them tell the story . . . few would be natural storytellers, and the few times I've tried first-person narration, that really showed. Successful first-person narration is really a double-fake--you've got to believably impersonate someone imaginary, and you also have to believably incorporate your own experience with writing into that character's persona. You may have a brilliant sensory description of some alien location, but if your first-person viewpoint character is Darth Vader, you're going to need to do some serious selling to get me to buy the idea of him thinking about the beauty and delicate aroma of the Mpwekmfnfrmpff flowers. (You're in a breath mask with tinted lenses, you dummy! How do you know what anything really looks or smells like?) There have been some perfectly good stories that have been badly marred for me just because Han Solo sounds like a sophomore creative writing major in his interior monologues, no matter how on-the-money his dialogue and actions are.

    Anyway . . . I tried 1st person narration once, in another fandom, and never touched it since. That piece was *not* one of my more successful ones.

    I did once write a second-person limited story, but that was pretty much on a dare. I actually ended up liking it--it's the "Future Imperfect" link in my bio. No, it is not 300,000+ pages long. I swear.

    FWIW, I almost never switch POV's in the middle of a scene, and if I do, I separate the sections with asterisks. It's not the most natural of techniques, but I can't help feeling that leaving the divisions out would give my readers mental whiplash.
     
  15. AnakinGirl05

    AnakinGirl05 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Ah, the POV...my favorite thing! I absolutely love 1st person POVs love to get inside the characters head, see what they are made up of, love to write that way, it is probably my favorite style of writing.

    I do have a problem with sticking to one POV when writing in third person limited...it is sometimes so hard to stick to that one character for me, and I usually do not realize it until I have sent it off to be betad. The worst is when it is only two characters and, for me, especially when the characters are Obi-Wan and Anakin. I love writing from Obi's POV, but for some reason Anakin's sneaks in there sometimes.

    Anyone have any suggestions? And BTW, great topic ...
     
  16. obaona

    obaona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 2002
    I write all POV's, and really enjoy doing it. :D It is tricky to stick with one in a single story, though, and it's something I've done, gotten corrected for, and corrected myself as a beta. I'm most familiar with third person limited, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe most modern fiction is written in that POV. But I adore first person - I just find it very hard to stay in it, as a writer, for anything longer than 10 pages, so it's always a pleasant surprise to come across a novel in first person. :p

    Second person ... that I've played with several times. I find it useful for playing with the reader's head [face_mischief] , it makes the reader react in a different way, makes it more personal - which I think can work very well, but I understand people disliking it. :p I'd never, though, write a second person fic from the 'POV' of an evil character - I think it would be too creepy, too uncomfortable to read.
     
  17. LadyPadme

    LadyPadme Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 26, 2002

    I find it easier to write original, contemporary things in first person; somehow, it's easier for me to write as though it was my own 'voice'. For SW fanfic, though, I'm always acutely aware that it's NOT my voice, and so third person limited comes naturally. Second person is tricky. It comes across with a bit of a dreamlike, removed quality. I once read a novel that was completely written in second person present tense and there really was a feeling that it was an out of body experience.

    One thing about third person limited: since I started writing on these boards and for the Archives, and since I became a beta reader, I've become acutely conscious of third person limited. I find the boards here are a lot stricter about shifting POVs than a lot of novels I've read; many of them shift from one characters's POV to another from one paragraph to another. I know some people find this distracting and confusing, but I think if the author is careful to plant clear cues that POV has shifted, then it can be done without having to put in spacers or change to a new paragraph.

    Edit: BTW, great topic, TKL :)
     
  18. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Dianethx: I have a great deal of problem with shifting POV but my readers say that they don't have a problem with it since the shifts are apparently (according to them and I asked) smooth. However, when I submitted some things to the Archives they didn't like the POV shifts. I couldn't even see them and neither did my betas.

    I?ve noticed that POV shift isn?t apparent to everyone. In fact, I read Rogue Planet recently which drove me nuts with POV shifts, but when I commented to a friend I was told she didn?t notice. I tend to really insert into the story, to the point that I feel what the character is supposed to be experiencing. A sudden ?mind-jump? just throws me out of the moment.

    So HHP suggested that I highlight each POV shift with color in my word text to see if there are too many, or any at all. A great idea since I'm very visually oriented.

    Great idea. Do you find them easily now or are they still not apparent?

    So, yes, I have a lot of POV shift issues. Suggestions would be wonderful.

    I?ve written mostly third person limited, since it?s really the predominant style of SW profic. I found that my earlier writings had problems with POV shift. Most of them were dramatic jumps from one character to the next. Others were small one sentence hops. And I only began noticing these problems after reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers ? a wonderful book if you have the chance to pick it up. From that point on I began planning my scene as far as POV before I started, then deciding how I would relay the information I needed through that character, or if I needed a scene break so I could switch POV.

    Roo: Someone get Jedi Trace in here. She is the master at finding POV shifts.

    Poor thing probably has people knocking at her door!

    It's easy to fall into this when we are writing, because our thoughts are moving along an exponential line. Thinking in terms of the different variations of thoughts and ideas that are relayed by our characters is bad enough, but keeping them in proper perspective with their emotions and POV's is even more difficult.

    Absolutely. Well said.

    TheCrazyRodian: I'm going to slum around in here behind the scenes for a while to try and absorb the wisdom that comes up, because I need to practice this stuff. If that's okay, of course.

    You rarely slum around, my friend. I expect a long-winded entry into the discussion at some point or another :p

    Personally, I think a great example of the difference POV can make in a story is that of the JAT/I, Jedi. We get the same timeframe from different PsOV, and the tone/color of the events is changed accordingly.

    It?s interesting how the different parties relay the events isn?t it?

    Thumper09: You can have a single set of objective events and actions, and yet write completely different stories depending on what POV is used to portray those events.

    Yes. Which means the decision of what type and whose POV becomes crucial.

    Just think about how our entire perception of the GFFA would have been altered if the OT had been told from the Imperial POV rather than the Jedi/Rebels.

    I used to do 3rd-Person-Limited mind-jumping all the time, but I'm much more conscious of it now, and I try to avoid it. It's really hard sometimes, though, when there's a reaction from another character that I want to include but can't due to the POV.

    A friend suggested that the art of ?show don?t tell? can be quite effective in relieving these problems. I hope to get into more specifics on that idea in one of the workshops.

    Sometimes there are ways of working around it, and other times I just have to let that reaction go, no matter how much it irks me to do so.

    Sometimes you do have to avoid a reaction. I?ve been there before. Very frustrating.

    SakuraTsukikage: I know I'm having some trouble right now with POV, because I recklessly started writing a story ENTIRELY from Obi-Wan's first
     
  19. Bri_Windstar

    Bri_Windstar Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 27, 2002
    Yes, me too! I love the experimentation aspect of it. It's hard to wrap your mind around most of the time, IMO, and I've actually learned from my very few tries at it. Not quite sure how I pulled it off, but then again I'm never sure of anything I do. :p

    I used to be more fond of writing in first person moreso than I am now. Or maybe the type of story hasn't presented itself in a while. I like the intimacy it gives you, as an author, to the character you're "representing".

     
  20. obaona

    obaona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 2002
    *likes being a fiend* [face_mischief]

    [:D] That's why I use it. And I figure, anything's readable if done well enough. ;)

    Oddly enough, I enjoy reading first person a lot more than I enjoy writing it. I prefer seeing things as intimately as possible from the character's perspective - no matter how subjective the character's mind is. Third person limited is just so much more flexible for me, as a writer, then first person. And I'd say I actually dislike reading third person omniscient in most cases. :p But I've written third person omniscient (at least sort of). 8-}
     
  21. rhonderoo

    rhonderoo Former Head Admin star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Aug 7, 2002
    LP - Second person is tricky. It comes across with a bit of a dreamlike, removed quality. I once read a novel that was completely written in second person present tense and there really was a feeling that it was an out of body experience.

    One thing about third person limited: since I started writing on these boards and for the Archives, and since I became a beta reader, I've become acutely conscious of third person limited. I find the boards here are a lot stricter about shifting POVs than a lot of novels I've read; many of them shift from one characters's POV to another from one paragraph to another. I know some people find this distracting and confusing, but I think if the author is careful to plant clear cues that POV has shifted, then it can be done without having to put in spacers or change to a new paragraph.


    Second person IS tricky, but I've done a couple (from Vader's complex headspace, even) and once you start doing them they become a little addictive. It's great when you get it right, IMO. You're right, it does make for a weird existenial kind of feeling when reading and writing.


    And I absolutely agree that we here as reviewers, betas, and readers are a lot stricter about POV shifts. As a reviewer it took me awhile to learn to point it out, as it gets buried sometimes between the dialogue or aspects of the paragraphs surrounding it. Which leads me to my next answer...

    TKL - Poor thing probably has people knocking at her door!

    [face_laugh]
    She does. I'll tell you, it got to where I would wince when I saw the words "and here you have the dreaded POV shift, Myr was talking here and then suddenly we are in Vader's thoughts..." :oops: But it's great to find a beta that can pick that out. I shudder to think of my older stories before she started catching them for me. [face_worried]

    EDIT: I left out words. [face_blush]
     
  22. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    TKL said
    I?ve noticed that POV shift isn?t apparent to everyone. In fact, I read Rogue Planet recently which drove me nuts with POV shifts, but when I commented to a friend I was told she didn?t notice. I tend to really insert into the story, to the point that I feel what the character is supposed to be experiencing. A sudden ?mind-jump? just throws me out of the moment.

    Not only didn't I notice and still have a very hard time seeing it, when I became aware of it and starting looking, I noticed that a lot of published, well-received books have POV shifts sometimes in the same paragraph!

    Great idea. Do you find them easily now or are they still not apparent?
    The color thing worked well for the post that HHP did but I'm still having a hard time. I literally can't see the POV change. I do understand the need for being aware of it and I'm more careful now but...

    Let me play devil's advocate. What's the harm in it if the readers don't mind/don't see it? If professionals, and good ones, can do it, why should we fanficcers make a deliberate effort to change how we write POV? With the exceptions of the Archives (which btw terrifies some people), it doesn't seem to harm anything. Plus if the author has no intentions of being a professional, does it matter?


    Another question that is not devil's advocate, doesn't 3rd person omniscent (sp?) allow for POV shifts? How can you tell if the person is writing 3rd person omniscent or just writing 3rd person limited with POV shifts?
     
  23. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Bri_Windstar: Yes, me too! I love the experimentation aspect of it. It's hard to wrap your mind around most of the time, IMO, and I've actually learned from my very few tries at it. Not quite sure how I pulled it off, but then again I'm never sure of anything I do.

    Are any of us really sure of what we?re doing? :p

    dianethx: Let me play devil's advocate. What's the harm in it if the readers don't mind/don't see it?

    Probably none if your readers don?t mind.

    If professionals, and good ones, can do it, why should we fanficcers make a deliberate effort to change how we write POV?

    I don?t know that getting published means they?ve got all the tools down pat.

    With the exceptions of the Archives (which btw terrifies some people), it doesn't seem to harm anything.

    Again, so long as your audience doesn?t mind, no harm no foul.

    Plus if the author has no intentions of being a professional, does it matter?

    Probably not.

    Another question that is not devil's advocate, doesn't 3rd person omniscent (sp?) allow for POV shifts? How can you tell if the person is writing 3rd person omniscent or just writing 3rd person limited with POV shifts?

    Well there is a difference between POV shifts (mind-jumping) and omniscient. In omniscient it?s clear that the narrator knows all, and information is relayed from all sources. A mind jump/POV shift occurs when the author is clearly presenting the scene from one character?s POV then inserts a random shift. For instance, take a scene expressed entirely from Obi-Wan?s POV up to this point?

    (Hopefully my Evil Partner forgives me for toying with some of our stuff [face_praying] )

    [blockquote]
    Obi-Wan said nothing, just stood there with his arms crossed until Anakin finally looked up at him. Anakin wondered what exactly it was he wanted, sometimes Obi-Wan such a stick-in-the-mud. [hr][/blockquote]

    From there the scene goes on in Obi-Wan?s POV. The scene is clearly not omniscient, yet we get a brief insight into Anakin?s thoughts. Thus the reader is thrust out of Obi-Wan's head momentarily and jumps into Anakin's. When I first sstarted writing, I used to make this mistake quite often.

    As far as the question to whether or not a reader can tell, I go back to something you and I both heard Stover mention at C3. A good author knows the rules and can write within them before he/she breaks them. A reader for the most part can tell the difference.

    When I read somebody?s work, it is usually clear if they understand the grammar rules and are simply stretching them to make a better story, be it writing in a lyrical or stilted manner. Take for instance, Stover?s one word sentences?

    [blockquote][hr]Kar Vastor.[hr][/blockquote]

    Instead of writing - [i]It was Kar Vastor.[/i] ? he?s shortened the sentence for effect. We know he meant us to infer the longer version, and we also know that he?s got a handle on grammar and sentence structure. So we as the reader accept his sentence fragment. Same thing applies for POV.

    Now, as you?ve stated, if the readers don?t care then does it really matter? Probably not. Especially if the author doesn?t mind. It?s all about the tools available to make our writing better. Really I think that to write omniscient well an author has to recognize what part of the information he/she wants to present and how to balance POV among the characters. Yes POV shifts can be done seamlessly as LP pointed out, but to do it effectively the author has to understand the ramifications and that it?s actually occurring.

    Anything discussed in this thread is simply an attem>
     
  24. Darth_Lex

    Darth_Lex Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 17, 2002
    A couple quick thoughts.

    Let me play devil?s advocate to your devil?s advocate. :p Consider the following passage:

    [blockquote]Anakin listened to her plan for the baby?s room on Naboo. The sound of her voice took his breath away. How much he had missed her! But none of that mattered now. He was home, she was here, and they were happy.

    ?You are so beautiful,? he said.

    Padmé turns to face him. She stops brushing her hair. Then she smiles, a mischievous little grin. ?It?s only because I?m so in love.?

    ?No,? he insisted. ?It?s because I?m so in love with you.?

    Her mouth drops open, and her brow furrows. Playfully, she feigns indignation. ?So love has blinded you??

    Anakin chuckled, and flushed. He should have known better than to play words games with her. She was a politician, after all. ?Well,? he admitted with a chagrined frown, ?that?s not exactly what I meant.?

    She laughs lightly. ?But it?s probably true.?[/blockquote]

    Distracting, isn?t it? Shifts in POV can be just as distracting as shifts in tense. Of course, done well POV shifts work fine. But as TKL mentioned, just as you have to know the rules of grammar to break them, you really need to understand the different concepts of POV to play with them.

    Omniscient POV doesn?t have POV shifts; it?s a single POV, just as Limited is. What Omniscient does provide that Limited does not, however, is a chance to see into the minds of multiple characters in the same scene.

    The distinction is in the identity of the narrator. In Limited, the narrator (the speaker of the internal monologue) is a single character. Therefore the narrator ? and hence the reader ? cannot know or experience anything that character doesn?t know or experience. In Omniscient, the narrator is an external observer. The narrator can observe the minds and feelings of the characters, but the narrator remains external. Therefore the readers can know things the characters don?t, but the reader also never experiences anything through the minds of the characters.

    Shifting Limited POV occurs when the narrator is a character, not an external observer, but then the narrator changes within a scene.

    This might be more clear with examples. I?ll use the same one.

    [blockquote] Third Person Limited (Single POV)

    Anakin listened to her plan for the baby?s room on Naboo. The sound of her voice took his breath away. How much he had missed her! But none of that mattered now. He was home, she was here, and they were happy.

    ?You are so beautiful,? he said.

    Padmé turned to face him. She stopped brushing her hair. Then she smiled, a mischievous little grin. ?It?s only because I?m so in love.?

    ?No,? he insisted. ?It?s because I?m so in love with you.?

    Her mouth dropped open, and her brow furrowed. Playfully, she feigned indignation. ?So love has blinded you??

    Anakin chuckled, and flushed. He should have known better than to play words games with her. She was a politician, after all. ?Well,? he admitted with a chagrined frown, ?that?s not exactly what I meant.?

    She laughed lightly. ?But it?s probably true.?[/blockquote]

    This is classic third person Limited. Our narrator is Anakin.

    [blockquote]Third Person Limited (Shifting POV)

    Anakin listened to her plan for the baby?s room on Naboo. The sound of her voice took his breath away. How much he had missed her! But none of that mattered now. He was home, she was here, and they were happy.

    ?You are so beautiful,? he said.

    Padmé turned to face him. She stopped brushing her hair. Then she smiled, a mischievous little grin. ?It?s only because I?m so in love.?

    ?No,? he insist
     
  25. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    I feel like a color-blind woman amongst a sea of people with perfect vision. Yes, I read the examples several times. I examined them closely and I still don't get it -even though I know they were wonderful examples and probably clear as glass. But don't mind me and certainly don't try to make me see it any better - you tried and that's what counts. :p I will be persistant,though, and come back to them several more times. Maybe somewhere a lightbulb will go off and all will become clear... LOL.

    Move along, move along.

    Great idea though to use the same scene several times.
     
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