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Author Topic: Having POV problems with my novel  (Read 4726 times)
Sephiroth
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« on: January 17, 2007, 06:09:15 PM »

I'm writing a novel where a twenty-something man slowly turns into a techno-organic demon, but I'm having a problem.  Originally, after the guy begins turning into the demon, I was going to shift the POV to his best friend, as the demon-human is being chased by him for part of the novel.

However, I have him going into a truck stop at one point, and was going to have the POV shift again to one of the truckers in the bar who sees someone (the kid infected with the demon) and thinks its unusual.  Then, the POV was going to have to shift again, as the demon/kid retreats to a small town in New Hampshire and is confronted by the local constable.  It then would shift again, as the last person left living in the story would be his girlfriend.

So, all in all, we'd end up with 5 POV shifts;  the demon/kid, his pal, the constable, the trucker, and his girlfriend.

I've tried to figure out a way around this, but I'm having a hard time, as a good deal of the novel involves the demon/kid fleeing to complete his metamorphosis in an isolated area, and being so isolated, his run-ins with locals and the like would have to be told from a different POV.  I also understand that shifting POV is generally frowned upon, especially for a first novel.  I could have the girlfriend tell a bulk of the story, but then I'd still end up with a minimum of 3 POV shifts.


Does anyone have any ideas, or could I get away with all of these shifts?  Thanks in advance.
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Walker
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2007, 06:40:55 PM »

I don't see why the story can't be told with the main character's point of view throughout. He can see everything that's going on without you having to bring his feelings or thoughts into it. He can read the emotion on the truckers face, he can see the response by the constable and he can see that his girlfriend is the last one standing, so it makes sense, to me at least. Taking his point of view makes it easier to get the reader to feel what you want them to feel, i.e. sympathy, disgust or anger towards the MC. Further, it may help with the progression of the MC's trouble without having to rely on others to fill in the blanks. It's more credible coming directly from him. Lastly, like you said, for a first novel it would be unusual and complicated to shift the POV too many times. In my own novel I've dedicated a single chapter to another character, but there's good reason for it-- he has valuable information for the plot and only he can relate it. It's my opinion that POV should only be shifted if absolutely necessary, and even then, do so with caution and care.
Good luck, it sounds like an interesting story.
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SharonBell
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2007, 11:15:44 PM »

On the other hand...my novel has 3 POVs.  rolleyes The answer is, it depends. BUT don't shift heads mid-chapters. Head-hopping within chapters is a no-no. Confuses the heck out of readers. Keep it clean and in separate chapters.

Good luck. Sounds like a fun read!
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Sephiroth
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« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2007, 07:22:59 PM »

Thanks, guys.  I def. would try to stay away from a head-hop in mid-chapter.  That seems really bad.


The problem is that so many things happen to the characters when they're by themselves, it almost feels like I HAVE to switch the POV. 


I'm thinking about re-writing the whole thing too from the girlfriend's POV, or maybe from the best friend's POV... but that still leaves me having at least two or three changes throughout the book.


Grrr!  Why can't this stuff be easier.
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Geoff_N
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2007, 05:48:26 PM »

If this is written in first person then one POV is definitely preferable by most publishers.

If third person then 3 POV is acceptable - maybe more if a long novel. The only problem with headhopping as you nicely put it, is keeping the reader caring for the main characters and what happens to them.

I recently was obliged to read (by my Book Group) a love story historical novel by Joyce C Oates, The Falls.  She has quite a flair in playing with words that I liked. But many in the book group, none of whom are writers except me, disliked the way she'd used 5 or more POV - they felt disorientated and in the end had no burning love for any of the main characters. But it WAS published so there are no hard and fast rules.

Geoff
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SharonBell
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2007, 10:04:23 PM »

JCO is an American Literary Icon. She can do NO wrong. Five POVs? Bring 'em on. Six on ten, the critics and agents will buy it. The power of a name, my friends.  afro
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Ed
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2007, 07:24:33 PM »

My advice, for what it's worth, is not to change PoV unless it adds something of importance to the story.  The most engaging books I've ever read have all been written from a single PoV.  I think the reason for this is that we, as readers, like to make a connection with a character and see through their eyes, experience their world.  Readers want somebody to root for.  Give them too many characters to get to know and no single strong character to attach themselves to, and I think they'll generally lose interest.

Could be wrong, but that's my take on it smiley
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