I had a long weekend away from the computer. We spent a lot of time shopping for a car and finally bought one today. We traded in our ancient Honda Civic (nearly 18 years old) and came home with a brand new Civic with that mysterious new-car smell that everybody wants, even though it’s really rather sickening.
It’s been about 8 years since the last time I bought a car, and a lot has changed since then. The internet has made research far easier. Possibly as a result, the salesmen at the car dealerships seem to be much less aggressive than they used to be. (Or else I just got lucky and didn’t run into any weasels-in-suits.)
I spent some time looking through the comments that accumulated over the weekend, as well as questions that were asked over the last ten days or so. It seemed that there were a few on point of view (POV), so I thought I’d start things off for the week with this question:
I’ve been thinking of using first person POV, because I think that it would work really well for my protagonist. However, this would force me to write a prologue about him in someone else’s third person POV (since the reader should not know straight away he is the protagonist, that should only be clear in the first chapter). Furthermore, I have several story lines, the biggest one being that of the protagonist of course. However, the two other storylines don’t always have him in the scene. Do you think it’s acceptable to switch between first person protagonist POV in one chapter to someone else’s third person POV in the next?
Randy sez: It’s perfectly fine to work with first person in one chapter and third person in another. Or multiple POVs, all in first person. The only rule is that it has to work. Which means you give your reader a Powerful Emotional Experience with each POV character.
For example, in Diana Gabaldon’s ground-breaking time-travel romance series, the second book, DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, was written partly in first person and partly in third person. (The first in the series, OUTLANDER, was all first-person. Her character in the second novel was told in first person, while other characters were written in third person.) It worked very well.
As another example, Sol Stein’s novel, THE BEST REVENGE, was written using several POV characters, all written in first-person. Sol was one of the great editors and also one of the great writing teachers of the twentieth century, and he’s one of the few who is also an outstanding writer. (Often, great editors can’t write fiction, and many excellent teachers are only so-so at writing.)
I’ll be working on my next issue of the e-zine tomorrow. Go ahead and post your questions on POV here and I’ll begin answering them tomorrow (or Wednesday if my brain turns into oatmeal after writing the e-zine tomorrow).