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  1. #1
    Member
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    May 2011
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    Switching between characters

    Ok so the story I'm working on right now involves a group of survivors on an island (original I know), and I have about 3 characters that I want to switch between throughout the story, to be able to give a different perspective of events and to show different experiences.

    My question is, is it ok to do this, given that there is likely to be a fair amount of interaction between the characters in question? I was thinking of putting a title with the characters name at the top whenever I switch POV, but is acceptable.
    I'm pretty new to writing so any help/tips welcome.



  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2010
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    584
    Of course it's OK; why wouldn't it be? A fine example of doing this would be The Number Of the Beast, by Heinlein. There are four main characters and the POV switches from one to another with every chapter. It's not hard to keep it straight, because not only because each one's narration style is different, each chapter is named after the viewpoint character of the moment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2010
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    508
    Will, your instincts are good here. YES, it's fine to switch POVs. It's cool. It's done all the time. Try re-reading a few of your favorite books (that aren't in straight first person) and marking the POV shifts. It's all over the place.

    As Joe said, many authors use the simple technique of breaking POV shifts with chapters. But many authors shift POV at scenes within a chapter. Many shift subtly within scenes. Some even slide between multiple POVs in a scene. There are many techniques that writers use to make these shifts work for readers. One technique is to have a strong narrator's voice that pulls the reader out of a specific character's POV and observes with a wider lens than narrows into another character's POV. You can also shift from POV to POV with a barely-there narrator. One character's POV shifts into another by a chain of more distant observations. Look at how the best writers in your genre do it and gather ideas. Just mark those shifts. You'll be amazed how easy they flow from perspective to perspective. It's fun and powerful storytelling. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    May 2011
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    Thanks guys. I think I'll get a bit written up and post it up to get some opinions on whether its working or not, to be fair that'll probably be the least of the problems with my writing, but as long as I'm improving a bit I'll be happy
    Last edited by Will Prendergast; 05-22-2011 at 03:37 AM. Reason: typo

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