Posts Tagged ‘viewpoint’

I Realized Something Today

Good news, squiders. I’m making some progress on World’s Edge, the story I worked on for Nano this year. Over the past two days, I’ve written 2.5K, which is approximately 17% of my 15,000 word goal for December.

But all November, and the past two days, the flow of the story has felt…different than normal. And I wasn’t really sure why. But I’ve finally figured it out.

You guys know that I like to try new things for Nano, and that this story features a non-protagonist viewpoint character for that new thing.

But something else is different too.

There’s only one viewpoint.

I’ve never written a single viewpoint novel before. Short stories, even novellas, yes–but 100,000 words is a lot of story to rest on one character’s back.

(I would point out that I have written a single viewpoint in novels I’m not writing by myself. That tends to be the way I work collaboratively, with me taking one viewpoint and my co-writer taking another. But there’s still more than one viewpoint in the story.)

When you have multiple viewpoints, you can switch between them, picking who is the most appropriate for different plot points or subplots, plus you can add in relational conflicts and tell each side, and generally show more of the world.

Poor Marit’s got to tell everything all by herself.

It’s got me thinking. I write third person probably 90% of the time, but most single viewpoint novels are told first person. I mean, I’m not going to switch point of view 55K into a novel, but should I rewrite to first person when I’m revising?

The only single viewpoint novel I can think of off the top of my head is Harry Potter, which is, admittedly, not a terrible thing to compare to, but even the HP books have occasional one-off scenes at the beginnings in someone else’s or an omniscient viewpoint.

Things to ponder, I suppose, but not now or all forward momentum will stall out, and that’s the worse.

What do you think, squiders? Can you have a single viewpoint third person story, or is that passe and first person is the wave of the future?

Why I Like Dual Viewpoints

In the modern day trend of first person or single third person narratives, I sometimes feel left out because I tend toward dual viewpoints. (Sometimes I do write single third person. Sometimes I write first person. Sometimes I write more than two viewpoints. But dual is my favorite.)

And even within dual viewpoints, I feel a little left out, because I would say a majority of dual viewpoints are romantically inclined, and mine are all mixed up. I do a lot of friends, or sometimes siblings. Sometimes I do lovers, but not a lot.

So! What’s the appeal of dual viewpoints?

Well, there’s a couple. Staying in a single viewpoint of course limits your ability to show anything that happens outside that person’s field of view. That’s kind of personal preference, however. Some people like to give a fuller view of all the events in a story. Others prefer their readers to find things out with their protagonist.

It can allow you to add more depth to a story because you have multiple people, each with their own goals and plans, affecting the plot.

(And involved in their own subplots.)

But why I tend to like them is because I love exploring relationships. And yes, everyone has relationships, even in first person or single third person narratives. But having two people, involved with each other (in whatever manner), and watching how their relationship grows and changes over time–that intrigues me. Because people aren’t the same. And even if they’re two halves of the same relationship, they’re not going to approach it the same. Likewise, people will not react to the same event in the same manner, and it’s also interesting to see how that affects a relationship.

What viewpoint combinations do you like as a writer/reader? Are there any that you just can’t stand?