MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 3:10 am
I have a new idea twiddling in the back of my head and I’m trying to decide if I want to do it in first person or the “over the shoulder” view.
There would be three narrating characters, and I would circle between the characters…
So this is my problem:
First, I haven’t read many things in first person with more than one character narrating… is it done? Does it get confusing?
Also, when you write in first person for more than one character each character really needs his/her own voice-a very distinct voice. Of course with over the shoulder you need that as well, but with first person even more so because you’re actually in their brain.
Has anyone done this before? Does it work to write in first person with more than one character narrating? Do you think an over the shoulder POV is preferable for this sort of thing?
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 3:36 am
I’m not sure if I’m answering your question, hope I am. Have you ever read a book in which each chapter was labeled with a name of the character, written from their point of view and voice?
If you’re asking if this can be done- I’ve definitely seen that often.
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 3:43 am
Yes, I’ve seen that loads of times. But have you seen it from first person? I’ve pretty much only seen it from omnicient over the shoulder POV….
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 3:47 am
I have, unless I’m dreaming:)
And it would be so fun to see you developing a voice for each of your characters. Will you share the process with us, pretty please?
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 3:50 am
K great!! I’m glad to hear that’s a thing and that it’s done.
Do you happen to remember the names of some books that are written in that format so I could take a look?
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 3:52 am
Offhand, no. But I’ll take a look at my bookshelf as soon as I can.
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 3:53 am
And Meira, you are 18!!!!! Getting started on a legitimate piece at this age- wow!
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 4:37 am
Aw, thanks. I’m blushing. I write about 2 hours every day on average… it’s like, my life 🙂 this new idea is actually my third idea for a novel length story. I wrote one between 10th and 12th grade (during class ;)), and a second during covid. Now I need to move onto something new…. this would be my first attempt at a first person narrative, so I’m a little nervous about it….
Thanks! I’d love to read some books written in that way to get a feel for it…
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm
Sometime this year I read a Gordon Korman novel (he’s done this more than once) told from different characters’ perspectives, with each chapter labeled.
And there’s a whole series like this, M.C. Millman’s Classified Information, which is one year told the the perspective of each of the class’s students.
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 12:53 pm
The teen novel called ‘Curtain Call’ by M. Jakobowitz is told from two characters’ viewpoints, also labeled.
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 6:15 pm
The book “Between the lines” by Malky Pearlstein is also written like that. Every chapter, is a different character narrating in first person.
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 6:16 pm
I believe Family First just had a serial with a few first person POVs. (the one about the gown boutique – forgot what it’s called.)
You do realize that there’s more to POV than first and omniscient third.
Did you ever hear of deep POV? This article is really informative:
Also, you have to be careful with writing omniscient – it can easily become head hopping… The truth is, most writing “experts” I’ve read say that it’s preferable to use limited third these days.
MemberAugust 26, 2020 at 11:10 pm
Wow! Thank you Fayge, Sury, and Bookworm for the books! Looks like I have some reading to do! 🙂
Happiwriter- thank you so much for the resource. I’d never heard that term before, it was a really interesting article. I really liked that idea of deep POV… it’s so much more real. I’m going to have to try it out properly. Now I know what to look out for when I write.
I don’t like omnicient so much either – I’ve tried it, and usually end up head hopping, like you said, which I don’t like…. so I would do limited, or what I called “over the shoulder” view (or in first person.)
What did you mean by “there’s more to POV than first and …” (sorry, couldn’t figure out how to quote) Did you mean that there are other types of POV as well? Or did you mean that there’s more to POV than just picking a type? If you could share your expertise, I’d appreciate it 🙂
I was mostly wondering if first person is used for a book with more than one narrating character… and apparently it is! I’m going to have to read some books (thank you all for the titles again!) in that format and read up on POV some more.
Just curious while I’m on the subject of POV, I know there’s such a thing as second person POV (which is “you”) I’ve never seen it before. I don’t think I’d ever want to use it, but I’m just wondering if anyone has ever read anything written in that way and what it was like…
Thank you all!!
MemberAugust 27, 2020 at 2:35 am
I think Libby Lazwnik’s Song of the Sparrow had several narrators with first-person POV. Ditto for her most recent serial in the Binah (the title slipped my mind). My personal opinion is not to have more than two narrators with first-person POV as the reading experience can become messy. It makes it more difficult for readers to switch between immersing themselves from one mind to another. Because you’re interested in writing a story with narration cycling between three characters, I think third-person POV would be a cleaner option for your story. Depending on what genre it’s in, maybe you can even use the third-person present tense which lends a more intimate storytelling medium than third-person past tense. Though from personal experience, it is super difficult to write any POV in the present tense as it is so easy to accidentally keep slipping back into the past tense.
As for your question about second person POV, I have read several short stories like that before and they were awesome. I actually tried writing a story with second-person POV but quit after the first few paragraphs. Too hard! I would encourage you to try it, though.
MemberAugust 27, 2020 at 3:07 am
FF, I see what you’re saying about it getting messy, that’s why I had the question in the first place. Alright, I guess I’ll read some books written in different ways and then play around with it and see. Thanks for the titles! (Now only if the libraries were easily accessible sigh)
I like your idea of present tense, I never thought of that. I might have to try that out. It would definitely be a change from what I usually do. I wonder why past tense is the automatic? You would think present tense would be more used, no? Do you think there’s any specific reason or just because its what everyone does, so you’re used to reading things in that matter, so then you automatically transfer it to your own writing? I wonder ….
About the second person view. I feel like it would be so weird saying “you” did something: Telling the reader they did something they didn’t actually do. I guess it can be done successfully, though. Maybe I’ll try it for fun. Do you know where/when you saw the short stories or if there’s a good site online where I could find stories like that? I’d be curious to read them and see what they’re like.
MemberAugust 27, 2020 at 3:41 am
I really enjoyed reading this post!
Just another book written in two points of view, both in first person, is “A Face in the Mirror” by Yael Mermelstein. I think think it could be a really fun way to set up a book, but it would be super important for all POV characters to have a unique voice. The reader should know who’s talking even if she misses the name at the beginning of the chapter.
MemberAugust 27, 2020 at 4:21 am
I was reading about the update, so now I learned how to reply to a specific person. Hope this works.
Mindy, I totally cracked up!! OMG, you sparked such a memory. My teacher read us that book in sixth grade. I’m going to totally reread it! Thanks for the help!
AdministratorAugust 27, 2020 at 10:07 pm
Loving this thread! Meira, great question and you are getting some amazing answers!
I once did a “reality series” telling completely true, albeit really cool stories with a “pass the mic” format. I named the speaker in each chapter so the reader could keep track of who was talking, and each person would explain the situation from their own POV. It gave this amazing dimension to the issues at hand, also fleshing out the characters solely using their own dialogue. It was so much fun!
Can’t wait to see a sample of your novel! 🙂
MemberAugust 28, 2020 at 1:19 am
Riva, sooooo cool! Thanks!
Log in to reply.