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Thread: Idea on switching POV's
February 2nd, 2005, 05:56 PM #1
Idea on switching POV's
I just came up with an idea on how you could follow two groups at the same time, divide the chapters into halves!
Example; Chapter 3 part 1
Chapter 3 part 2
Chapter 3 part 3
Chapter 3 Final
February 2nd, 2005, 06:48 PM #2
I think readers might get frustrated if you did that...... besides, it would feel like a new chapter anyway, wouldn't it?
Who knows..... it might work.......
February 2nd, 2005, 09:49 PM #3
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- Oct 2004
I don't like it either. Seriously, what is the difference between 3-1 and 4? Just call it for, separating chapters into "parts" is just a sad attempt at covering up the fact that you are trying to hide it... And just because one chapter comes after the next doesn't mean that it chronologically happens afterwards.
February 2nd, 2005, 10:22 PM #4
It doesn't work for me.
Just how many POVs are you representing?
I've read books with two POVs that swapped out at odd intervals but they did it at the chapter breaks. And the one that did it best was the one that told you whose POV you were looking at when they changed chapters.
Chapter 1: Raul
Chapter 2: Mortimer
Chapter 3: Raul
Chapter 4: Raul
February 3rd, 2005, 02:57 AM #5
Use of various POV's
Make sure the break or change of POV is clear, either a scene change, natural break in that section of the story, or a chapter change. Use as many POV's as you need to or the type of POV you need to to tell your story. The main thing you need to ask, does it make sense, can the story be followed, does it flow, am I keeping to the one person's POV in this section (if using limited 3rd POV) not head hopping (omi third POV) and mixing the two.
You can follow two or more groups, or events happening in different places. Writers like Harry Turtledove, Janny Wurts, Stephen King etc do it, why can't you?
It depends on the type of POV you are using as well. just make sure you "mark" the change in some way.
Also credit you reader with some intelligence, most folks can handle a multi POV story
Last edited by Holbrook; February 3rd, 2005 at 06:10 AM. Reason: Because I made less sense than the normal nonsense
February 3rd, 2005, 04:27 AM #6
Works for me Sub in fact, the book I am reading at the moment does something similar. Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Stover.
He splits chapters up as many as eight times and not always, but will switch POV often.
He writes chapters in words I.E. 'Chapter Twenty One' and then uses numbers to break a chapter up instead of '#' or extra line breaks. He doesn't follow a pattern or anything, sometimes a chapter is one section and one POV and sometimes he will split it up after a few paragraphs... It really helps tension.
Last edited by juzzza; February 3rd, 2005 at 05:00 AM.
February 3rd, 2005, 04:36 AM #7
Stephen King does something similar as well doesn't he?
February 3rd, 2005, 04:45 AM #8
I think you will find it used quite often, but when you are reading you tend not to even notice although subconsciously, you accept the POV switch.
February 3rd, 2005, 04:58 AM #9Originally Posted by juzzza
Yes it is good to understand how POV works and the various types in fact Try and get a copy of Orson Scott Vard's Characters and Viewpoint, I found it a good, simple guide. Also KatG did a good potted version on a thread somewhere on this forum. Understand it and use it, but don't be afraid of it. Don't get bogged down in the does and don'ts. Time to fiddle with the story once it is out of your head and written.
Last edited by Holbrook; February 3rd, 2005 at 05:02 AM.
February 3rd, 2005, 05:02 AM #10
Yes, as you know Holbrook, my tendency to head-hop is because I like to write in a cinematic style, comes from growing up with and having a deep love of, movies.
My personal POV choice is Third Omniscient and I enjoy reading this style too.
February 3rd, 2005, 01:02 PM #11
What you are talking about Zero are what are called scene breaks, though more accurately could be called section breaks. They're signalled by a couple of blank lines and they work exactly like chapter breaks, except that readers indeed don't often consciously notice them. But they do notice them unconsciously, because they indicate a possible change in the narrative. An author might use scene breaks to switch from one character pov to another, whether the viewpoint format is first person, third person limited, third person omniscient, or a mixed format. If the author is using a mixed format, they might switch from one format to another at the scene break. If the author is using the third person limited format, scene and chapter breaks are the only points where you can switch pov characters. An author might jump forward or backward in time using a scene break. An author might continue with the same pov character, the same scene and the same point in time, but have inserted a scene break in the middle of the scene for one effect or another, say to put a pause after a dramatic announcement or something.
I just finally got revised and maybe ready to go a sf short story that uses several scene breaks that allow me to jump easily from scene to scene without transitional material (very useful in a short story,) and frame material into different segments, even though it's first person and the pov character never changes throughout.
Most writers use scene breaks as well as chapter breaks for a variety of purposes. If you pay close attention, you can pick up all sorts of handy devices you can do with scene breaks besides character pov switching.
February 3rd, 2005, 06:10 PM #12
Yes, I see now I should have rolled this idea around in my head before I made this topic, I use scene breaks KatG, and it is a much more better way of breaking a chapter.
Now that I think about, this idea seems more like something a show would do.
February 4th, 2005, 08:17 AM #13
Clive Barker uses that technique, also. He splits Chapter One into 1, 2, 3, etc. Or he doesn't split it at all.
Personaly, I'm not much fond of this, but I don't seem to have a problem reading a story using this technique. If I like your story, I'm gonna read it, however it is writen. Period.
February 4th, 2005, 12:37 PM #14
It's perfectly okay to bring it up, Zero. A lot of writing guides forget to mention scene breaks and other narrative techniques and because people just process the scene breaks without noticing them, they don't really realize they are being used. But it's an invaluable tool for writers and one we can always talk about. Not that you have to use them. Some writers just use chapter breaks. An occasional writer doesn't even use chapter breaks. But there is virtually no difference between a scene break and a chapter break, and no reason not to use them if you like. Some writers use them very intensely.
February 4th, 2005, 12:53 PM #15
Chapters, breaks and the presentation of the changes of scenes or POV can be used to create a feel or style as well as break the story up.
When you write you want to create your own distinctive voice with regards to your work. The way you use the language and the way you present the story all help towards this.