First, second and third person p.o.v

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Down the well
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by Down the well » August 30th, 2010, 4:11 pm

cheekychook wrote:There are plenty of excellent first person stories where you feel like you get to know the other characters as well as the primary, even though the primary is the one who is speaking. Likewise, there are plenty of third person books where you get to know all the characters intimately. My favorites are books where, after you've read them, you can't recall whose pov they were written from because you remember all the characters so clearly.
This is why POV isn't even a consideration for me when I am choosing a book to read. I have no preference one way or the other. I enjoy both and, as Cheekychook says, if the book is well written I may not even recall later what POV was used. As an example, I hadn't read Pride and Prejudice in a long time, but I recently bought a new copy. I got it home and had to crack it open to remind myself what POV was used. Lizzy is drawn out so wonderfully I could have sworn it was first person. But no, it's third. Likewise, Moby-Dick is so thorough in capturing every detail of the story that one might imagine it is told in third, but no, it's in first.

ninafromnorway
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by ninafromnorway » August 30th, 2010, 4:25 pm

Thanks for all your great replies. I've learned a lot here, and it has given me a lot of ideas for my current WIP.

The main reason for why I asked is because a family member is trying to talk me out of writing in 1 POV. He says it's more difficult and that I haven't really nailed it. I dunno, but I can't imagine this book being in 3 POV. I have no trouble writing in all three, but this book is special and needs to be in 1 POV.

Reading a few of your replies it's easier to see what I need to work on.

Thanks =)
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amyashley
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by amyashley » August 31st, 2010, 1:58 pm

Unless he is YOU, ignore him.

Perhaps that sounds harsh. You know something, HE ISN"T THE ONE WRITING THE BOOK. He doesn't know all the extra information you, as the author, have stored in your head that is behind the outlines, and notes, and characters that you haven't gotten on paper yet. he doesn't know the themes or tone you want to convey, or understand why your are truly deep down writing this book. YOU might not even understand that until you are done.

Tell him to stick it in his ear and write his own book.

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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by ninafromnorway » August 31st, 2010, 3:16 pm

amyashley wrote:Unless he is YOU, ignore him.

Perhaps that sounds harsh. You know something, HE ISN"T THE ONE WRITING THE BOOK. He doesn't know all the extra information you, as the author, have stored in your head that is behind the outlines, and notes, and characters that you haven't gotten on paper yet. he doesn't know the themes or tone you want to convey, or understand why your are truly deep down writing this book. YOU might not even understand that until you are done.

Tell him to stick it in his ear and write his own book.
Lol, yes that does sound harsh. He is my godfather, actually. But the reason I asked him to read it is because he is a reitred English teacher, who later became school principal. He knows his stuff, to say the least.

I've posted my first chapter over at excerpts, called "YA adventure/mystery chapter one" (or somewhere down that line). Thats's the same chapter he has read.

But I've made my mine up. As this is the first book in a series of three, and book one is really book, 2, book 2 is the ending and the last book is the beginning, I've decided to finish this book, write the next two and then go back to the first one. I'm guessing that by three books my English written should improve itself a little more.
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polymath
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by polymath » August 31st, 2010, 4:59 pm

ninafromnorway,

I took a glance at the shorter version excerpt. I noticed right away a common issue of first person. Author surrogacy. It's noticeable from the frequency of personal first-person pronouns. 53 sentences, 75 instances of I, 14 of me, 33 of my, or roughly two per sentence.

This sentence from the last paragraph will do to illustrate a perhaps too close narrative distance that has the opposite effect on readers;

"At the end of a beach I spotted a cave, and hoped that there was more than one entrance to it."

That's what's known in writing parlance as I know it a tell, the narrator directly telling readers a summary of an action (spotting) rather than showing the visual sensations of the beach and the cave. Also it seems to me a run on sentence from the first phrase depicting an action and two summarized visual sensations and the second phrase expressing an interior discourse. Four concepts are expressed in the one sentence. I inserted the bracketed to show it's implied and that the two phrases are not parallel constructions. In other words, that "spotted" and "hoped" are two distinctly separate actions.

The narrator decidedly has a high magnitude complication. I found it hard to keep that in mind. I think pulling back a little and seeing rather than reporting seeing would do wonders for that sentence and the project in progress as a whole. A good place to start is to appreciate the narrator is by default of first person already realized by readers as the observer. Readers don't need to be reminded every sentence who's reporting. If the narrator spots a cave, describing the cave in third-person reporting doesn't lose touch with the first-person narrator.
Last edited by polymath on August 31st, 2010, 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by Margo » August 31st, 2010, 5:06 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:I don't mean to insult anyone -like I did on the other forum!- but I find first person a cop out, simple way of writing. It's too easy.

I find it exactly the opposite. With first person, the author has to find a way to carry a story with a single POV and convey what's going on with other characters and in the POV character's absence without the convenience of hopping to a new POV. Having written in both, I'd say third is easier but first is more fun, but that's personal taste and my particular skill set.
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by Margo » August 31st, 2010, 5:07 pm

polymath wrote:I've found first person is much more challenging to handle well than third. Several of the more prominent issues are author surrogacy's self-efficacy and self-idealization issues, unpleasantly overcomplaining and/or overcontemplative narrator, challenges to willing suspension of disbelief, too intrusive autobiographical reporting, intrusively centered narration of action, complication, attention, and involvement, and unsettled narrative point of view from mixing reporting to readers as if from a lectern and back and forth to within the frame of a narrative's time, place, and situation. I've got more reasons first-person narrators often fall short and many reasons first person is a best choice as well.
Ditto. :P
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by Margo » August 31st, 2010, 5:09 pm

Down the well wrote:This is why POV isn't even a consideration for me when I am choosing a book to read.
Same here.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by amyashley » September 1st, 2010, 10:00 am

I know it sounded harsh, and I understand he may have an educated opinion. You can read through all of my posts here and very quickly see that I am not at ALL a harsh person.

Remember that the work you showed him is probably not your final draft. I still stick to my guns on what I said, as intense as it might sound and as qualified as he may be to give you critique. Being the creator of something gives you a great deal more say in it than you may be aware. If something feels right to you, then you need to defend it.

What I would do if I were in your situation is ask him how to make it better. I would tell him what your reasons were for writing in first person, without getting defensive or impassioned, and ask him how to improve your skills. Ask him if there are some good examples of literature he might recommend that you read that are written in first person. Have him point out what the flaws are in a way that is constructive instead of destructive. Let him know you want to make it work. Tell him how much you value his opinion, and I think that will go a long way.

I'll take a look at the excerpt too.
My current MS is in first, and I love it. There were several corrections I have had to make regarding tense and my protag.'s thought's as I went back and edited, but it got smoother with practice. I knew it was right for the book, and I never regretted it.

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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by amyashley » September 1st, 2010, 10:47 am

I think it could some editing, which is understandable if English isn't your first language. That aside, I think with practice you'll get the hang of it.

Ask him for some advice!

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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by ninafromnorway » September 1st, 2010, 3:17 pm

amyashly: Thanks for some great advice! I will definitely ask for him to suggest a good first POV book. He has offered to write the first chapter in 3 POV, just for me to see if I like it or not. I already know I won't. I also know that it will spoil my plans for the thirs book, where the POV will change in to 3 POV because of an unlucky incident...

Thanks again. If I remeber, I will tell you how it goes.

As for the fact that I need some practice, I feel very tempted to post out an excerpt of chapter 11, just to find out if it's all in my head that my English grammar has improved or not. I believe it has, but that's me. It's never wise to be your own judge!


polymath: Wooow seriously, that was a lot of new words to take in for a newcomer... I had to read it a few times before I even grasped what you were trying to tell me, and I still don't think I understand. So just to make sure I got it, I will try and edit the mentioned sentence:
"At the end of a beach I spotted a cave, and hoped that there was more than one entrance to it"
Author surrogacy
So you want less I/me/my in the story? For instance:
"There was a beach below the cliffs, and a cave was set by the far end. There weren't any other entrances than the one I saw, but maybe there was another opening near by?"


the narrator directly telling readers a summary of an action (spotting) rather than showing the visual sensations of the beach and the cave. I think pulling back a little and seeing rather than reporting seeing would do wonders
Does this mean you want to know in detail what the MC is seeing?

"A white sanded beach was set beneath the cliffs. It showed no signs of humanbeings, and a cave at the far end welcomed me down for a private viweing."

I'm still haveing some trouble understanding this one though
I inserted the bracketed to show it's implied and that the two phrases are not parallel constructions. In other words, that "spotted" and "hoped" are two distinctly separate actions.



I never dreamed that when I joined this forum a few weeks ago, I would learn so much about writing. As this is my first book, and I am bound to make a lot of mistakes, I have decided to finish it the way I planned, write the second and third one, and then rewrite the first one. At least I've started, I can't quit now!
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by amyashley » September 1st, 2010, 4:20 pm

You might be able to find a good critique partner who is more of a mentor that would be willing to work with you to sharpen some of your language skills. If you can't find someone here, try the Absolute Write forums.

I would think having someone go through a few chapters bit by bit and suggesting language and grammar changes ONLY might be really helpful in giving you a better grasp on learning some of the rhythm of writing in English. It is a difficult language sometimes, but I think you are not far from mastering writing it, and it wouldn't take long. Maybe offer a barter, like translating some norwegian knitting or crochet patterns? Who knows, you'd have to work it out with a partner.

I'd help if I weren't knee deep in my novel! I am about 5,000 words from DONE

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polymath
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by polymath » September 1st, 2010, 5:58 pm

ninafromnorway,

I offered advices, one related to author surrogacy. I wouldn't say I want any particular change for my sake, but for the sake of meeting reader expectations as I understand them. Please don't think I intend to correct. What anyone will do with my advices is up to his or her discretion. After all, it's only one opinion.

Yes, to me as a reader, too close narrative distance to a first-person narrator is an issue demonstrated by frequent first-person pronouns. It's a surface issue that points toward a subtler issue. The narration occurs inside the narrator's head as if recorded in and read from a diary. The ideal is to bring readers into the time, place, and situtation of a narrative so that we feel it unfold as it's happening.

Narrative distance is best when it's closest to a narrative's setting and not necessarily closest to a narrator. Taking time to report the landscape makes a narrative more about the events that impact the narrator than about the narrator reporting the events secondhand. For first person anyway, when the narrator is also the protagonist. In third person it would be events that impact the protagonist not the narrator.

The following example gets closer to being within the narrative setting then the other example given or the original sentence, (non-discretionary mechanics revised);
"A white sanded beach was set beneath the cliffs. It showed no signs of [humanbeings] human beings, and a cave at the far end welcomed me down for a private [viweing] viewing."

That example's second sentence is a run on sentence joined by and. Conjunction words like and are indicators of run on sentences. The first phrase is about the beach. The second phrase is about the cave.

Discretionary revision;
//A white sand beach nestled beneath the cliffs, untracked by human footprints. A cave mouth at the far end beckoned.//
That's in my diction, however. Especially, "nestled," "untracked" and "beckoned." Though I'd say a vanilla sand beach instead because that's the color of sands on the beaches here and elsewhere I've seen and it puts a creative spin on white. Diction choices like "vanilla" tend to be emotionally evocative. Vanilla, in that case, might evoke pleasant emotions, where white is plain, and other adjectives might be ideal for evoking other emotions. For instance, blistering, blinding, or some such. Adjectives and adverbs contribute to narrative voice in that manner.
-------
"I inserted the bracketed [I] to show it's implied and that the two phrases are not parallel constructions. In other words, that "spotted" and "hoped" are two distinctly separate actions."

There I ran two sentences together and created confusion about implied subject I and non-parallel construction's relationships. I was doing too much with the sentence. I meant the run in sentence's subject is implied, which is a good strategy for leaving out some first-person pronouns in parallel constructions.

Also that non-parallel constructions joined by conjunctions create run on sentences. Spotted is a seeing action. Hoped is a thinking action. Seeing in that case causes the thought. They cannot logically be concurrent actions. Sequential actions, perhaps. Composing them as sequential actions shows how they are non-parallel. I spotted. I hoped. A visual sensation then a thought reaction. A cause then an effect. Separate cause and effect sentences is a good strategy for writing so that readers don't become confused.

However, sequential actions can be in sequence without sentence breaks, but usually they are less confusing when they are logically parallel. I came; I saw; I conquered. Vini; vidi; vici. is a classic example of parallel sequential actions posed in asyndeton (no conjunction words), and a tricolon (a set of three concurrent or sequential actions joined by semicolons, asyndeton, polysyndeton, or short sentences of equivalent length). The opposite of asyndeton is polysyndeton or multiple conjunction words. I came and I saw and I conquered is a polysyndeton. But that's not as sharp and snappy as befits the intents behind the original to show, Ho-hum, it wasn't that big a deal. And it follows a logical sequence of cause and effect. It's a delightful ironic understatement too.

Caesar's tricolon statement is parallel from having the same subject performing three sequential, logical cause and effect related actions. However, they could as easily be divided into three separate sentences. Also a similar tricolon might have three different subjects and three different sequential or concurrent actions. Mary prayed. James cursed. Edgar cried. The sharp snappy pace is what makes a tricolon creatively useful. The latter doesn't have a cause of the actions though. Say there's a deadly storm coming. Oops. There I've violated cause and effect by putting the cause after the effects.

Sorry about the big words. That's just my diction. I hope I adequately explained the more difficult ones.
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by ninafromnorway » September 2nd, 2010, 12:18 am

Polymath
Thanks again, I won't have to read this one more than twice ;-p

I only changed the sentences to find out if I understood what you'd said. Here in Norway we have a thing called explaining something with a tea-spoon. It's lowering the difficulty of your language, so that even a child could understand what you're talking about. No need to jump in to algebra, if you haven't grasped the art of adding and subtracting. What you write now was easier to read than your first post, and I wouldn't have it any easier, or I would never learn anything. But it is embarressing to ask the meaning of things in here all the time. I really feel like I missed out on few things when we moved from Brittain, and after 20 years I really have a lot of catching up to do!

Viewing versus viweing: Is this English versus American spelling? I've always written "viewing" this way, and nobody has ever corrected me. Not even my WORD 97.

Amyashley

Yup, I really do need a critique partner, anybody want to volunteer ;-p (I just immagined the whole room taking a step back).
I already have a handful of people reading the book, but neither of them have English as their native tongue, so really they only look for those logical mistakes (MC's hair is brown in one chapter and blonde in the next). I'll have to pop in to the Absolute Write forum and have a look around.
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polymath
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Re: First, second and third person p.o.v

Post by polymath » September 2nd, 2010, 1:00 am

ninafromnorway wrote:Viewing versus viweing: Is this English versus American spelling? I've always written "viewing" this way, and nobody has ever corrected me. Not even my WORD 97.
Viewing is the standard spelling. When I copied the line from your post it read viweing which I assumed was a typo rather than a misspelling.

I've spent four years now studying rhetoric and I've barely scratched the surface, but one concept at a time I've come ahead. Metaphor took me a while to fully understand, yet it's one of the more obvious and potent of all rhetorical concepts. But from knowing metaphor I could understand other varieties of tropes, simile, which is perhaps overdone in some writing and not quite as difficult to use and understand as other tropes, and irony, litotes, synecdoche, metonymy, understatement, hyperbole, etc. As common as they are in speech they're a little hard to pick up on in writing, though common enough, and harder still to use tropes artfully and deliberately in creative writing.

A U.S. idiom is similar to "explaining with a teaspoon," spoon feeding, but it can have negative connotations.
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