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Thread: hey writers! point of view choice

  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    hey writers! point of view choice

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    so i think i've posted about this before... but i had started writing a story a few years ago, and just kept getting frustrated with it and had no idea where it was going. i had characters, setting, and a "general" conflict but wasn't really sure. i had such a desire to write about it... but really felt it was going no where. alot of it being that i had no idea of a beginning, just more so some of the meat of the story. so i kind of gave up.

    well, not too long ago i was frustrated with something in my own life. i'm not much of a diary writer... so instead i sat in bed and was just running through scenarios, and suddenly was doing so through the eyes of the character i had created years ago. i began to formulate everything that happened to her... other characters came... a clear conflict, climax, even a clear intro! i was excited! it's a mix of my own struggles and desires, but also just a lot of made up interesting things as well.

    so this was not too long ago that i had this epiphany of a clearer picture of my novel... so i've only just started. i knew exactly how i wanted it to start... but that still doesn't mean the pages are pouring i thought that it would flow easily... but i find myself being very picky about how things sound and it's taking longer than expected... i just want to fast forward to the rest of the story that it is my head, all the "good stuff" and i feel impatient!!

    anyways, that was me just rambling

    the thing i am confused about most is what point of view to choose to write it in... i thought for sure that i wanted to write in third person, but as i am now writing it i find myself using more first person type language... like, not using "i" or from the character's point of view outright, but more my own thoughts as if i am the character... but not the character. like speculating for the character... if that makes any sense. now i'm torn. and a little bit frustrated. should i just switch to first person? can speaking for the character be too confusing for the reader?

    just in case people don't know what i am talking about i'm going to make up a writing scenario (not actually from my story, just want that to be clear )

    lets say the character is Jenny. She's at the beach and enjoying it. lets say i am writing abotu her feelings abotu the beach and i say:

    Jenny loved the beach more than anything, it was her haven. To her, it was heaven on earth. Something about the ocean and the waves are just good for the soul. It renews your faith in the fact that troubles can can eventually leave you with the ebb and flow of life.

    so... that starts out explaining her point of view in good third person. but then i underlined what seems to be more of my own reflections of her thoughts, and even more so my own personal thoughts. this is what i have found i've been doing a lot. is that improper use of the third person?

    hoping someone can critique this usage for me because i'm so unsure...
  2. verabot89
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    I, personally, wouldn't do that in my writing. And in many of my CW classes that type of thing was critiqued. You can find a better way to say the same thing while keeping it in third person. Also any time "you" gets used like that, it has the ability to draw the reader out of the novel because they feel "referred to" (like when Zack would look at the camera and talk in Saved by the Bell )
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  3. scotlandgrl53
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    I personally think that switching between the two is a little confusing. I personally like v reading third person better but when I write I often flip into first. As far as changing it though, I have one that I started in first and trying to change out to third is really hard and a long process.
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by FruitPunch. View Post
    I, personally, wouldn't do that in my writing. And in many of my CW classes that type of thing was critiqued. You can find a better way to say the same thing while keeping it in third person. Also any time "you" gets used like that, it has the ability to draw the reader out of the novel because they feel "referred to" (like when Zack would look at the camera and talk in Saved by the Bell )
    that's part of what i was afraid of... also that it almost makes me an invisible character rather than a narrator... ugh. so, if you were to make a diagnosis based on that excerpt, would you say that i just need to be more conscious of my use of third person, or that i must be itching to use first person and just don't realize it?

    i guess the only reason why i was more attracted to third person rather than first person is because i feel it gives you more freedom to describe things... where as with first person it seems more limited to the character's thoughts and actions and speaking.
  5. verabot89
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by alice04 View Post
    that's part of what i was afraid of... also that it almost makes me an invisible character rather than a narrator... ugh. so, if you were to make a diagnosis based on that excerpt, would you say that i just need to be more conscious of my use of third person, or that i must be itching to use first person and just don't realize it?

    i guess the only reason why i was more attracted to third person rather than first person is because i feel it gives you more freedom to describe things... where as with first person it seems more limited to the character's thoughts and actions and speaking.
    I almost always write in first person because I find it's more genuine and easier. I think in your case, just watch how you write it. Practice being non passive and staying within the characters lens:

    Something about the ocean and the waves are just good for the soul. It renews your faith in the fact that troubles can can eventually leave you with the ebb and flow of life.
    Coule also be:

    The sounds and smells of the ocean and waves were good for her soul; they renewed her faith that her troubles could come and go with the tides of life.
    All my CW profs would still have an issue with the use of the word "life" in that context but thats besides the point
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    That is kind of hard to read because it switches in the middle. I've read books that pull off narrator as character before and where the narrator actually addresses the audience (though generally they are more literary fiction and less pop fiction), but it is very hard to do well, and I think you need to stick with it all the way through. So in effect, you are writing in first person, but that person isn't "Jenny", it is the narrator, who is observing her.

    If you want freedom to describe things, go with third person omniscient, but get rid of the breaking of the 4th wall and addressing or acknowledging the audience. That's what makes it confusing. Without that, your example would read something like this.

    Jenny loved the beach more than anything; it was her haven. To her, it was heaven on earth. Something about the ocean and the waves are just good for the soul, and Jenny's soul was no exception. Every visit she made to the beach seemed to renew her faith in the fact that troubles can eventually leave with the ebb and flow of life.

    It's where you veered into the "you", with "you" referring to the reader, that doesn't work very well, not the use of third person. I would write it so that my 3rd person narrator never used the word "you". With regular third person, you can happily describe away, and even tell us things the Jenny doesn't know. "Jenny was unaware of his feelings for her, so when he sent flowers, she was surprised and confused."
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    #7
    thank you! both of you were very helpful. i guess here i thought that all i had to do was mentally think of the perspective i wanted it to be from and it would just simply be. i've come to realize now that even that is difficult those were great examples though, i'm going to go back and see if i can effectively change what i've written so far to better reflect the appropriate third person, because i think that is what i would like to stick with if at all possible. one of the reasons being what was mentioned above, the ability to narrate things even the main character isn't aware of.

    blah, so much more complicated than i originally thought, this whole writing thing

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