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My novel changes from third person to first person...



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Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:22 am
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occymay says...



I started writing Knowing Gods when I was 15 years old and as such my immature writing brain decided to change from third person to first person and back again.

For example, my first chapter is the third person POV of Lucifer, then chapter 2 is the first person POV of Willow (she is the main character so the majority of the book is her POV) but it changes again to the third person POV of Adonai. I think in total there are about 5-8 chapters that are third person POV out of 32 chapters.

But as I put my work on YWS I noticed that some people didn't comment on it and others would tell me to change it. I don't know what to do about it. I mean, I make it clear who's POV it is as soon as the chapter starts so it's not confusing at least not to me.

I don't know if I should take them out because I really like the chapters and they really bring the fantasy element. I definitely don't want to change the whole thing over to third person because reviewers have told me that they love how Willow's voice comes through the writing. I could change the third person POV to first person but then there's the dilemma of letting the writer know who's POV it is.

I'm considering trying the publishing route again now I have drafted and redrafted my first three chapters but I feel like this might put off literacy agencies. That's why I need help because I don't know if it does because literacy agencies don't give feedback when they reject your work. So any help would be really appreciated because I'm so stuck and I'm hoping outside opinions will help. Thank you for your time ^_^
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Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:04 pm
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Mea says...



I have only ever read one series which switches back and forth from third person to first person (Bartimaeus Trilogy, if anyone's interested, great series), and it suited that series because of the highly unique main character and the fact that it had a reason for switching between the two. It also did it throughout the entire series, not just a few chapters near the beginning.

My point being, yes, I would absolutely recommend figuring out how to change it so you aren't switching between third and first person, simply because 5-8 out of 32 chapters is going to make it feel random, not purposeful, and switching between the two is too rare for publishers to like it unless there's a reason and it feels consistent in-story. My guess as to why some people didn't comment is because they hadn't read previous chapters, or they'd read the previous ones long enough ago they forgot what POV they were in.

What you might be able to get away with is a prologue in third person, and then switch to first, but be warned a some publishers don't like prologues either. The other thing you could do (and what I'd probably recommend) is just going first person all the way. Yes, you'll have to signal whose head you're in, but it's honestly a great exercise in making sure both your main characters have very different voices. (Or you can use their names as chapter titles.) In terms of palatability to publishers, this is probably the best route you could take, as plenty of bestselling books these days are written with multiple first person POVs.

That's my recommendation, though be warned I don't have direct experience with agencies or publishers. I'm just going off of what I've heard and read and what I know is common.
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Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:24 pm
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occymay says...



@Mea Thank for your advice! ^_^ I have read the Bartimaeus trilogy but it's been soon long that I can't really remember it. Yeah, I could move the first chapter to the prologue, I already have a prologue so it won't make much difference, and then my book starts and ends with my antagonist. I went through and there were 9 chapters in total which means that I could put in a few more chapters, there are a few I can already think that would help a lot and I think it will feel more consistent then. Should I still do them in first person?
One must always be careful with books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.

Tessa Gray- Infernal Devices
  





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Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:32 pm
Mea says...



If you're thinking that more chapters are really needed from this other person's POV, and you can make it so there's a good balance between the first and third person chapters, then I think you could probably go ahead and try alternating between first and third throughout and see how it goes. Especially if this novel is centered around the first person narrator, and you want to make it clear that the other one is secondary, then this could be a good way. (Much like how the Bartimaeus Trilogy is clearly *about* Bartimaeus, not Nathaniel or Kitty.) If that's not the case, you might want to stick with the first person.

It's hard to be sure without actually reading the novel, so I guess the biggest thing I'd suggest is getting a few beta readers to read all the way through it (as a whole, not just as it's posted on here) and see what they say about your POV decisions.
We're all stories in the end.

I think of you as a fairy with a green dress and a flower crown and stuff.
-EternalRain

I think you, @Deanie and I are like the Three Book Nerd Musketeers of YWS.
-bluewaterlily
  





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Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:11 pm
occymay says...



@Mea Yeah, the third person's are important but at the same time they are secondary, the story could move along easily without them. The beta readers are a good idea, I haven't tried doing it through people on here but I have a feeling it will go better than with my friends.
One must always be careful with books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.

Tessa Gray- Infernal Devices
  





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Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:11 pm
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Rosendorn says...



Honestly, I'd hold off on publishing until you have figured out what the purpose of the viewpoints are.

First person isn't the only way to get a voice coming through in prose. Deep third is basically how everything is filtered through the character's viewpoint, so you can get the same impact as first person barring a particularly unique perspective.

An example for that particularly unique perspective is a character of mine who is an empath. Because her world is so unique from how she interacts with it very heavily via her sensing, first person is the only way to capture the way she feels. But in most cases, first person isn't completely necessary. You can read this article for more.

Really, really drill down on reasons other than "my beta readers like x" for why you're doing something. If you don't have a strong in-story reason for something to happen, it should go— and you shouldn't be considering publishing until you reach that point.
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Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:43 pm
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ChildOfNowhere says...



occymay wrote:I'm considering trying the publishing route again now I have drafted and redrafted my first three chapters but I feel like this might put off literacy agencies. That's why I need help because I don't know if it does because literacy agencies don't give feedback when they reject your work.


Emphasis mine, and sorry to take the thread on a tangent here, but have you already tried to get this same work published? (Or any other work, for that matter?)

(Also, a side note: you query agents, individuals: they may and often do work with/for a literary agency, but you generally query specific people, some of whom actually do give feedback with rejections)
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Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:42 pm
occymay says...



@Rosendorn well, I do first person because I personally love it, I love the connection I get from my characters. I have the third person to add extra information and show certain characters. Willow doesn't come into contact with certain big characters, like she wouldn't meet Adonai until chapter 10, Jade until chapter 14 and Ash and Lucifer until the very end if I didn't have third person. They're vital characters to the series so I suppose I'm just self doubting.

@ChildOfNowhere Yeah, I sent it to about 12 different places then realised what I had was pretty shocking and needed serious work XD

To address your side note, they say on their websites not to ask for feedback. In England sometimes they ask you to address it too a certain agent but sometimes they don't so you send it to the agency as a whole.
One must always be careful with books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.

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Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:01 pm
Rosendorn says...



So pick which is more important— introducing characters sooner, or first person.

That's really what it boils down to. What's more important to the plot. You can get incredible connection with readers via third person, so I'd not really consider "strong emotional connection" as a first person exclusive thing, or as a strong enough justification to go through with first person.

You can also rejig your plot to introduce them sooner if they're really that vital. Plot points aren't set in stone, and you do often need to go through massive overhauls as you realize who's important and who's not.

Like I said: deep third person exists, which is nearly the same as first. After reading your work you already have distance in the first person (phrases like "I noticed" or "I felt" are pointless in first— they draw attention to the fact something is being seen or felt, instead of just letting a reader see or feel them) so I'm wondering what it is in first that makes it necessary.
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

Ink is blood. Paper is bandages. The wounded press books to their heart to know they're not alone.
  





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Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:39 pm
occymay says...



@Rosendorn I suppose I could see how it goes changing to third person. If at all possible, if I posted the new version would you be able to review it? I'm a little worried about how it will turn out. It's okay if you can't though :) I won't be able to start it until I get laptop back which will be about two weeks. Thank you for all your help, it was difficult trying to decide what to do on my own.
One must always be careful with books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.

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Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:35 pm
Rosendorn says...



Gladly! You can hit up my WRFF thread when you're ready.

And, honestly— it might work better in first person! Rejigging plot points is completely within the realm of possibility, to accommodate the stuff currently being given to us via the PoV switches.

If the sole purpose of those PoVs is to introduce characters, then it gets a little haphazard. But, if you include other reasons for those PoVs to exist (aka, add more scenes with those PoVs), then the switches become justified and add value to the story.

Everything in a story should ideally be serving two or three purposes. Descriptions are to describe, characterize, and add atmosphere. PoVs are to reveal something about the world nobody else can see and add tension across the plot that we normally wouldn't get if it followed only one person. Read recently-published books that have multiple viewpoint characters and notice all the stuff you discover in each PoV segment, trying to reverse engineer the reasons.

So if right now you have a lot of stuff that serves only one purpose, the first place to tighten is to add multiple purposes to it or cut it out completely and rejig accordingly.

(Seriously, never be wedded to the actual plot events. Be wedded to the overreaching feel of the novel, the purpose you have for telling the story, the themes and tropes you want to explore. But not the plot events. Plot events change, and revising them makes the story so much better)
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

Ink is blood. Paper is bandages. The wounded press books to their heart to know they're not alone.
  





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Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:42 pm
occymay says...



@Rosendorn Well, I was just sitting around so I started trying to rewrite the first chapter in third chapter and I'm really happy with the result. I'll probably rejig the plot to suit my needs slightly better. I might try to see if I can find beta readers after I have finished the draft because it's difficult to know if it's right without someone seeing.
One must always be careful with books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.

Tessa Gray- Infernal Devices
  








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