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Mixing 3rd with 1st
Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2011 3:24 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 244

Okay, put the pitchforks down and toss the torches into the pond over thataway.

I want to know your opinion.  The story I'm working on at the moment is in 3rd limited.  But there are bits where the two characters are reading e-mails.  The e-mails are important to the story.

But they're written in 1st POV.  I don't see this as a problem.  Because it's more like a one-sided dialogue.  And dialogue, even in 3rd limited, is in first person.

What are all y'all's thoughts?  Okay?  To be avoided at all costs?  Or are you going to go all Switzerland on the issue?

Ava DiGioia
Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2011 8:18 PM
Joined: 3/7/2011
Posts: 38

Oh, my! Mixing POVS! *falls into swoon*

As long as it's clear the character is reading an e-mail (which is the modern equivalent of a letter), and doesn't just seem like you've switched POV. Paying attention to the length is also important. An e-mail shouldn't be the entire chapter (unless it's a really short one). Think it falls under the same rules as phone conversation.

Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2011 10:30 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 353

I think that happens fairly often in fiction, actually. Diary entries, emails, text messages, SOOPER SEKRIT ANCIENT SCROLLS THAT WILL CHANGE HISTORY AS WE KNOW IT!

Er, ooops. Got carried away. =)

Posted: Monday, April 11, 2011 3:28 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 244


I never make it super long if I use it. I don't personally feel it's an issue. I was just curious about everyone else's views.

For the story I'm writing right now, it works to have the e-mails because there's a vast deal of physical distance between the two characters. There are circumstances that bring them to the same location from time to time, but it's a long-distance thing for a good chunk. Unmarketable? Maybe, but that's a discussion for a different thread.

If not for including e-mails there would be far less interaction between the two leads.
Ellie Isis
Posted: Friday, May 6, 2011 1:17 AM
Joined: 3/4/2011
Posts: 58

The manuscript I just finished has the opposite thing going on. It's in first person, from one main character's pov, but interspersed throughout we have third person so that the reader can get some idea of what's going on on the sidelines. It worked for me. It worked for my agent. So I guess it's okay.

Basically, I believe most so-called writing rules can be broken, so long as they are broken in a way that works.
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 7:18 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 226

I've been considering this lately because my paranormal/urban fantasy has gotten some feedback that it might work better in first. Part of that is because the genre seems to be glutted with first person POV. I personally [hate is a strong word, but something close] first person POV, and loathe writing it. This probably comes from my love of historical romance, which is almost always in third. However, I know it works better sometimes, and occasionally my MC has started talking in first without me realizing it. Yeah, I have some edits to make.

Part of my problem is that if it's a romance, I want to have equal perspective from my hero, which means the whole book will be third-limited or I'll have to switch between first and third.

Bottom line, I'm watching this thread with interest, cos I have NO IDEA what to do.
Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 8:24 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 244

Noelle, I've seen it done where there are two first person POV narrators. It can work. It can be done. First person has its own challenges that third limited doesn't, and vice versa.

I don' t know any romance books off-hand that are in two 1st POVs but thumb through Rick Riordan's "The Red Pyramid." He has two narrators who are written in first person. Each chapter bears the label of the character who's narrating so you can keep it straight.

He also does this in "The Lost Hero" with three third person POVs. I'd thumb through both or look for similar books in the romance genre (though branching outside your accustomed genre can be beneficial for finding ways of making your story stand out).

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