The one POV writing topic that no one seems to ever talk about.

imageIf there’s one topic that seems to never come up in the magazines, books, and podcasts devoted to the writing craft, it’s the subject of changing between third person and first person narration within a single story.

 

I am interested to hear from other writers who have experimented with changing their first/third person narrations within a story. I’m especially interested in hearing from those who’ve done this in one of their self-published or traditionally published stories.

 

If you’ve ever done this, leave me a comment about the following:

1). What was your story about?

2). What did you do to change from first to third (or third to first)?

3). What worked?

4). What didn’t work?

5). How has it been received by readers?

6). What lessons did you learn that you’d like to share?

I look forward to the conversation.

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6 thoughts on “The one POV writing topic that no one seems to ever talk about.

  1. I haven’t done it myself, per se, but I’ve been finding more authors who switch between 1st and 3rd and do it quite elegantly. One in particular, she’s switching POV when she does it, so I think it’s more to do with keeping the main character and everyone else clearly delineated. But as a reader, it really works, and I enjoy it.

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      1. J. C. Andrijeski does that, in her Allie’s War series. It happens moreso in the later books, not so much in the first.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wrote my first self-published novel — Ordinary Handsome — using different POV’s — first, second, and third person, for each of the major characters. It was a tale of the almost-ghost town of Handsome, OK, and how the characters were connected by a single tragedy. The novel was split into sections so as not to confuse the reader, and I tried to make each one distinct from the other while retaining the theme and atmosphere. Overall, I think it worked and made the story stronger… it also helped me to flex some creative muscles to see if I could tie it all together without losing momentum.

    I’m still not quite sure why I took that approach. It was very challenging to shift gears, like taking a deep breath and acclimating myself to each section, but ultimately very satisfying. I haven’t attempted it since — not because it was intimidating, but because it just hasn’t happened. POV is a major consideration and I don’t take it lightly. And it seems, from your interest, neither do you. 🙂

    Overall, I received some excellent reviews and comments, but to be honest, not many comments were given. One reader emailed me privately that I should learn how to write properly because she was confused by the switches between POV’s and because the story wasn’t linear. But that’s another subject, I guess.

    Did I enjoy switching back and forth? Very much. I’d do it again should the opportunity come up. Is it an easy read? I’d like to think so, but that’s purely subjective. I suspect I didn’t get a lot of reviews or comments (or sales, ha!) because I may have lost some readers between transitions (or, honestly, it wasn’t to their liking). I tried to make the switches as clean as possible, but it wasn’t a straightforward narrative.

    Advice? If it feels right, if that’s what you’re drawn to, by all means do it. Make each POV as distinct as possible, ie. different rhythms and cadences. I really do consider each switch akin to taking a deep breath and readjusting your mindset. The story’s already there, so it’s a matter of approaching it in unique ways.

    Hope this helps, and I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts about it. I’m still learning as I go. 🙂 All the best to you, sir.

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    1. Hmmm. I can see the value of changing POV for each section of a book, but in my case I’ve done it within an eleven-chapter short story. All chapters are third person except for chapters two and three. I am seriously reconsidering that approach and making it all in third person. At my stage in the writing world (newbie) I may be better off not alienating some readers (like it seems happened in your case).

      Even if I chicken out and don’t experiment with this in my current WIP, I have another one down the road I am determined to do it in whether it’s well received or not.

      Thanks for sharing and thanks for your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

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