Saturday, 12 December 2009
Aliya recently posted about the use of first v third person, and tenses, and I now have a similar problem. My WIP has three main characters, and each chapter is written from a particular person's POV. But - the three have regular get-togethers, and here I am floundering as to POV and tense. The separate chapters are in the past tense, but I'm thinking of having the all-together chapters in the present tense, partly to differentiate them. So far so good. What I am finding really difficult is that having, as it were, got inside each character's head for the separate chapters, what do I do when they're all together? Get inside all their heads one at a time? Or just do an overview? In my previous novels, I've always written from a particular POV or in the first person (which does away with the problem altogether). Does anyone have any advice, please?
Posted by Frances Garrood at 17:16
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Hi Frances. A question - you say that each chapter is written in one person's POV - are you using third person or first person? I think this will have an effect on how you handle the 'all together' chapters'. For instance, it would obviously be easier to just widen your 'psychic distance' in the ensemble scenes if you were already in third person, whereas if you were in first person for the separate chapters then a sudden swap to third person woudl be harder.ReplyDelete
Each chapter is written in the third person, Alis. So - where do I go from here??ReplyDelete
I think, if it was me (and bearing in mind that I don't know anything about your book!) I'd be inclined to do each of the 'get-together' scenes from a different person's point of view - ie stay in a particular individual's head and comment on the others. Each time, you'd get different view of the ensemble through a different POV.ReplyDelete
Alternatively, you could withdraw slightly into a more omniscient voice and 'helicopter' so that you're not in anybody's head in the 'get together' scenes so you can comment in a more dispassionate way on their interactions. That has the added advantage that you, the writer, might begin to see the characters in a different light which could add variety to the mix.
Or neither of the above! Knotty problems - they're great when you find a really good solution but until then they're just buggers!
Thanks very much for that, Alis. I had thought of the 'helicopter' approach, but not the other idea, which is a good one. I'll sleep on it...ReplyDelete
Frances, for what it's worth, another technique you can use in the over view chapters is to section it up a little, finding each (moderately substantial) section best-suited to one of the characters and maintaining their POV and then doing aReplyDelete
section break in an appropriate way to switch POV's. You don't want to that that mid-dialogue or mid-activity, but there are ways of crafting natural breaks for that kind of transition.
That's a great idea, Nevets. Thanks.ReplyDelete
PS Nevets - I'm doing what you suggested, and it's working quite well. Agent likes the idea too. Cheers!ReplyDelete