View Full Version : Shifting Viewpoints: good or bad for the overall story?

July 30th, 2007, 8:40 PM
In the fanfiction I have posted here, I have a lot of shifting viewpoints. I'll elaborate. My entire story is written from a limited 3rd person narrative, so while there is no "I" persay, there is generally a clear indication as to who the main focus(es) of each chapter is/are. Sometimes it's more apparent than others. However, my...concern...is whether or not I'm changing views too much. See, what I'm writing I'm trying to make epic and new in the world of pokemon fanfiction. "Trying" being the key word here. It's possible that this whole thing will be a flop, but I'm confident enough in the story and my writing abilities that I've decided to chance it.

My conundrum is that I think I move the story very quickly, and every other chapter, I jump to a different place in the world and different people doing different things (that just so happen to be connected). I think it's working well, and I understand what's going on without getting confused, but that might be because I've got a rather intimate view on the whole thing and I can see the big picture of this piece (as well as its future) so I know where everything fits into place.

I was just wondering everyone's thoughts on this sort of thing, whether it be concerning my fanfiction Pokemon: God War[/insert shameless self promotion] *cough* please R&R *cough*, or writing in general.

July 31st, 2007, 10:27 AM
Well, if you were to do so in a manner that made it easy to understand, it would be very doable. In fact, it happens a lot in more complex fiction (read: higher YA and above) some of the time.

For example, one person I read does POV switches like five to ten times every chapter. Admitted, his chapters are twenty plus pages...

July 31st, 2007, 11:15 AM
I think switches within a chapter are more than a bit much :P. While you can show all the sides to a story that way it is sometimes alot better to have a limited pov and not give away the whole story though the reader knowing so many things the 'main' character does not. It takes away a lot of the joy in figuring things out yourself IMHO :\

July 31st, 2007, 3:01 PM
I don't generally switch within a chapter: I try to keep it as constant as possible. What I meant was DRASTICALLY switching viewpoints from one chapter to the other. If you read my fanfiction that I posted here then you'll understand what I mean. My concern now is that from one chapter to the next, I switch viewpoints, but the happenings are so different that they could almost be entirely different stories all together.

Now, that's not the case (obviously) and the events are all related, but I'm wondering if I'm the only one who sees them that way because I know the storyline quite intimately.

July 31st, 2007, 9:38 PM
Hmm, I dunno. Changing POV's can be kind of tricky but if used well can be quite efficient. I myself prefer to stick to 3rd person limited. Yet I think this is a matter of prefrence when choosing perspective in writing.

I've seen changes in POV's work well in the Animorphs and Everworld series. Yet that was a change for every book, not in every chapter. It may leave the reader a little confused when left with an abrupt character change. That is if the perspective is switching between several characters. If possible try to keep a couple of chapters in one perspective and another couple of chapters in another perspective. Just so it'll be less scattered and less confusing.

JX Valentine
August 2nd, 2007, 7:36 AM
If it was first person, I'd personally start headdesking.

However, since you're doing limited third person, I'd say it's kosher, as it's not like it hasn't happened before. I'd really hate to use television as an example, but Heroes does this frequently, and it's really intriguing to see how each storyline ties together. So, really, I'd say it's an interesting ploy to keep readers on their toes, as they'll have to pay particular attention to as much as possible to fully comprehend why you've suddenly gone from one person to someone else in another part of the planet.

In other words, go for it.

August 2nd, 2007, 4:14 PM
I sometimes switch from 3rd person narritive to 1st person narritive for a few chapters.