View Full Version : Another POV question.

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

January 14th, 2003, 12:43 PM
First let me say I've never had any formal training, never read any of the "How to be an Author in 5 easy steps" books... I've simply read many many books over the last 15 years, and often said, "Hmm, I suppose I could do that too... I Imagine it'd be fun."

With that in mind I imagine there is a specific name for what I am thinking, but I don't know the term...

I am outlining a story where there is a large cast of characters, around 100, although a few central people drive the story, they tend to always be together. But the story is not about any specific person in the group, rather it is the tale of the group. As such, it is told by the group, describing thier experiences, but only breaking into a personal account within the quotation marks.

The story will be told with terms like 'We' and not 'I'... Sort of a group collective perspective. Past tense. To myself, so far I've termed it Collective First Person...

SO, sorry for how long this is getting, my question: IS THERE a term describing this? Are you familiar with any other pieces written in this style that you could recomend? Personally I coudn't care less if there is a term, but I would like to see something else that I could check out!

Thanks. And if I've confused you, feel free to ask me to clarify... somehow.


January 14th, 2003, 12:58 PM
Originally posted by Lifino
With that in mind I imagine there is a specific name for what I am thinking, but I don't know the term...

I think its 'deluded', but this applies to every unpublished author, so continue on and they'll know it as the Silas effect.

What I think you're getting at is like a team story told in the first person, and for this read any decent... hold that thought, as I don't think it's possible. A sportsmen with the capability to write...Ohhhhhh that's funny.

January 14th, 2003, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by kegasaurus
they'll know it as the Silas effect.

Hey Keg, you misspelled Effect, I think it's spelled: SYNDROME:p Say it with me now, SYNDROME...

January 14th, 2003, 01:07 PM
I can think of a problem with this method. Basically, it is difficult for a reader to fell empathy toward a collective or group of people unless everybody in that group has like ideals, goals, and what not (i.e. religion). If that is the case, then why NOT narrow the group down to an individual. If the group must remain a group because of a diverse set of skills and the group dynamic then it will be very hard to make the reader like that group as a group. They will invariably like certain individuals and dislike others. If the reader does not like the main character/group, or at least symphasize with them then the reader probably won't care about the story itself.

As to the question itself, I don't know of any POV terms that describe this. I don't know of any stories that have actually DONE this.

I personally would find a spokesperson for the group and make that person the majority player in what goes on. He/she/it doesn'tnecessarily have to be the group's leader (every group has one), but it would help.

January 14th, 2003, 02:29 PM
It's definatly an original idea!

I'd call it "Collective Point of View", in contrast to the "First Person Point of View".

I would encourage you to explore your idea and see how it goes. But, since you've such a broad cast of characters, have you thought of changing the POV to Third Person Limited or First Person Point of View, at some point, so as to write about the thoughts of certain characters, also? It would be a nice way to zoom in and out.

No, I don't think it has ever been done that way, but if you write really good, you could acheave something here, if not necessarily publisable, then readable and enjoyable, perhaps.

January 14th, 2003, 04:22 PM
Originally posted by Lifino

Hey Keg, you misspelled Effect, I think it's spelled: SYNDROME:p Say it with me now, SYNDROME...

Yeah you're right, effect - good, syndrome - Silas. Write it, Edit it, re-write it and then allow the world to savour your madne... I mean greatness.

I, Brian
January 14th, 2003, 04:24 PM
Silas -

Firstly - best wishes on your endeavour. For the purposes of this post I'll assume that you would like to primarily aim for that Holy Grail - mainstream publishing.

Which means that, secondly, a personal word of warning - if you're looking to become published then you can save yourself a helluva lot of frustration and problems later by learning a little about POV now.

Check out "Characters and Viewpoint" by Orson Scott Card - it shouldn't be expensive. It does contain an excellent starter guide to the whole issue of POV, though.

It's not written in a complicated manner, and keeps to the points, usually samples to illustrate.

As to your question -

Using "we" alone would get you into trouble straight away, unless you modified it with plenty of "I"'s, which is basically First Person - written from a single character's POV.

If you'd like to access all characters, you could either do so through Third Person Limited - basically, each scene or chapter written focussed on a different character: "X thought this...X did that...X thought this...etc". OR you could go for Third Person Omniscient, which is where you can basically move around the scene wherever you want and access the thoughts of whoever you want and whenever.

The advantage of First Person is that it insists on closest character association for a reader - it doesn't work when the character is either unbelievable, disagreeable, or both.

The advantage of Third Person is that a reader can get close enough to characters to care, but with a safe degree of dissociation.

The advantage of Third Person Omniscient is that the reader is able to see a far wider picture, but usually in tandem with a loss of character association.

As I'm writing in the latter, I can confidently tell you that the following novels are written in Third Person Omniscient, all in different ways and to different effect: "Dune" by Frank Herbert; "2001: A Space Odessy" by Arthur C Clarke; "The Reality Dysfunction" by Peter F Hamilton.

Anyway, if you're looking to aim for mainstream publishing - and that's a fair and valiant goal to aim for, then it helps to shape things smoothly at this stage, rather than write a novel agents would be very hesitant to take on. Publishers expect to make a loss on new novelists - the bestsellers we all love to hate actually fund that investment in new writers. What the publishers want with a first novel is the promise of market appeal - which means keeping within certain writing standards.

Sorry can't be much more help at the moment - I'm not a technical writer and hadn't read about such issues - but I have to now.

Ah - and if you'd like more information I've posted a short article on writing for mainstream, and included a lot of very useful links, from short story markets to synopses writing. A direct link can be found here (http://www.chroniclesofempire.net/writing.htm).

Anyway - good luck,