Can I Get Away With It? (POV Hijinks)

I have some good news that I’m sitting on. A story submission of mine to an anthology has made it to the second round, which was a much needed bit of good news that arrived in my inbox today. But more than that, I have news on the work front that I’m being coy about for another few weeks until the dust settles. It has the potential to really change my life in a positive way, especially for my writing. Details to follow.

That said, I still have some wilderness to traverse yet, waiting as I am for word on multiple issues: another sub I sent off, some dental work, feedback on the novel from my writing group, and on some medical tests. (My normal yearly medical tests prompted a 6-month check-in instead. Boo.) The latter always weighs heavily on my mind, and I tend to retreat until the thing has passed and I have my yearly reprieve. As such, I’ve not been all that bloggy and I’ve neglected the VP boards latest round of postings for critiques. (Bad Steph.) I plan to rectify that on my weekend off.

In the meantime, my focus has been on brainstorming and world building for the next novel. I’ve been doing what I normally do: gathering the shiny bits that seem to glom together, building characters, mind-mapping, writing down exchanges of dialogue that start running through my head, and free-writing scenes that spontaneously develop.

(I have a process, I guess? Weird, I know.)

However, some of these free-writing scenes that don’t match. Not quite. For my main character I have these stream-of-consciousness, first person POV, very confessional. But when I started free-writing dialogue between her and one of the other major characters, I naturally switched to third person, limited to her POV. (And I have another characters POV, also third person, but that’s neither here nor there.)

And … I can’t do both, can I?

I’ve read books where one viewpoint character was in first person, another in third. The first time I saw it, only a few years ago, I was shocked … then intrigued. I’ve only seen it a few other books since and for some it worked and others it didn’t. (The one that really stands out as one that did it well was Elizabeth Bear’s The Sea Thy Mistress, with three different styles of POV. It’s cool. Check it out. Well, read the first two books before you do.)

But I wouldn’t be for different characters. If I do this, I will have sections of the same character in first person, and then other sections in third person. (And still other sections in yet another person’s POV. Possibly.)

My brain is going, “Whoa. Whoa. WHOA.”

But my gut is going, “Hey. Just…wait. Maybe we can swing this.”

Madness? Possibly. I’ll find out.

Anywho. More to come as I can post it.


4 thoughts on “Can I Get Away With It? (POV Hijinks)

  1. thanate7

    ok, this sounds vaguely familiar, but I can’t quite place where I’ve seen it before. Wait– how about A Conspiracy of Kings? That did a mid-book POV switch with the same character. I think mostly I’ve seen it used as a device to be coy about who the narrator is, but hey– if it doesn’t work out as well as you hope, you can always rewrite some sections. 😉

    1. Steph

      True! I have to just write and plough through while the voice is clear in my mind. Sort it out later. It’s all still so amorphous. I have these strong three characters, but no definitive antagonist. Yet.

      (So, Turner had the one character switch POV styles? Interesting. I must hunt it down and check it out. Thanks for the tip!)

      1. thanate7

        I recommend reading the whole series in order, if you haven’t yet– she does a lot with withholding info (both from the reader & from the characters) and different POV choices that work best if you start at the beginning. 🙂

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