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Writer's Lounge Need advice? Want to give advice? Come on in and share ideas with your fellow writers. Just remember, all fics go in the main forum.

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  #1    
Old August 14th, 2013, 07:06 PM
CGilgam's Avatar
CGilgam
 
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Any advice for this? The story I'm working on has no real main character, instead switching between following 1 of 5 characters.

I'm trying to use as much distinctive language as possible when doing each section, and with some characters I feel very successful, but with others not so much.

EDIT: It's worth noting that the story is competely 3rd person, as I tend to use first person as a crutch.
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  #2    
Old August 14th, 2013, 07:28 PM
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Each chapter should probably be the POV of a different character to illustrate better.

However, in 3rd Person, it's really not that difficult to change POV.
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  #3    
Old August 14th, 2013, 07:53 PM
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I'm sort of doing line breaks, with a number that denotes the coming character. 1 is Chelsea, 2 is Warren, 3 is Beth, etc. Granted, the order flops around, but the same number will always mean the same character.

My concern is remaining consistent in tone and style with each character. I should have been clearer. Sorry.

For instance, I have a character who gave himself the moniker Rexplode Geyser specifically because he thinks it's a cool name, so in his sections things tend to get exaggerated and overly enthusiastic. Then I have a character who considers herself a budding scientist, that's constantly observing and organizing things.

Does this sound like a reasonable way to go about this? I just don't want to post the story prematurely and not have it make sense.
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  #4    
Old August 14th, 2013, 08:03 PM
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Does this sound like a reasonable way to go about this? I just don't want to post the story prematurely and not have it make sense.
Yes, the way you're doing things is fine. That's the way I'm currently handling my third-person omniscient story. One character focuses more on his thoughts being a leader, calling back on experiences that no other character has. Another thinks more analytically, looking at everything as if it's data or machines. Another just bounces around from one thought to the other.

If you're worried about being consistent, you can read back over what you wrote and check for proper characterization. If a character says or thinks something that doesn't sound right, you can catch it before you reveal the chapter to readers. Either being careful during each scene or editing after writing is you best bet to making sure everything is right.

The one thing I'm unsure of is the numbering. It sounds a little too much like the looked-down-upon POV labels that fanfic writers use, where they have "Character A's POV" before each scene. It might be different in your story, though. Still, if you're concerned about making sure the reader knows whose POV we're switching over to, use their name in the narration or have a thought that is distinctly theirs.

Since you posted after dudebot and I didn't know about it, I wrote up some other advice that you may or may not need. I'll leave it here for you in case.

Just don't abruptly change the point-of-view in the middle of a scene. If you do need to change narrators in the same chapter, ease the reader into it. Either use the advice I've seen of using a scene separator, which could be a centered line or three asterisks in a row, or by having the character that you're switching to do something to gain the reader's attention.

When writing from different point-of-views, keep in mind what a character might sense, notice, or think about based on who they are and what their experiences are. If one character has a distinct way of thinking about something compared to other characters, then you'll write about that and it'll come through to your readers.

You should be writing in the point-of-view of the character most important to the scene. Whose thoughts and feelings should the reader be focusing on during this time? Ask yourself what the advantages are of writing in one character's viewpoint compared to another.

And there will be times when you're way more comfortable writing in some character's viewpoints compared to other characters. It happens. Just keep trying, write through the scene in the difficult viewpoint, and then you can go back and add anything that should be added.

Last edited by Astinus; August 14th, 2013 at 08:10 PM.
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  #5    
Old August 14th, 2013, 08:22 PM
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Hmm. That's a good point about the numbering. I hadn't thought of it from that perspective. On second thought, I don't think any forewarning about which character's section it is, is necessary at all. And I may even get to toss in some obscure foreshadowing stuff later on if I want, if I scrap the numbering. So I think I'll definitely look into that.

Thanks for all the advice. I kinda get scared that I'll lose perspective from re-reading and editing over and over again, but that's probably a sign that I just need to stop being a wuss and post the dang thing. So I'll probably post sometime tomorrow, after applying all you guys' (is that grammatically correct?) advice.

Thanks so much.
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  #6    
Old August 14th, 2013, 08:58 PM
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Not a problem!

And yes, sometimes when you go over the same story multiple times, you just glaze over while reading it. Sending it out for some advice will provide you with people who have fresh eyes that have never seen your story before and who don't know it as well as you. Getting advice from them might point out something you missed or that you never would have thought of.

Which means that we'll be looking forward to you sharing your story whenever you're comfortable doing so.
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  #7    
Old August 16th, 2013, 06:34 PM
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One of my fics is entirely different POV's, and I'm pretty proud of how I've done it.

I know most people wouldn't suggest having three-plus POV's in one chapter, but I've made it work so far. For me, it's all about when you switch. I got the idea for mine from the ASOIAF books.

I think of it like a TV show, you switch in between every major character, a few per episode. I'll say, okay, this person needs to do this, while this person does this, and that person finishes that, with usually the last perspective being the most important.

I say try it, and it can be pretty awesome if done right. It's a unique way of writing, and a good way to practice, expecially if you suffer writer's block. A lot of the time I won't be able to write a perspective for so long... then I stop, and realize, what if I put it in X's perspective instead? And it works. A lot of time for the better.
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  #8    
Old August 16th, 2013, 08:39 PM
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Hmm. I haven't really thought of it from an episodic perspective, as odd as that may seem. I think that's a great way of looking at it. And it keeps me from trying to cram in every character every chapter, like I've been doing.
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