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  1. #1
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    Switching Point of Views

    So no one likes the switching of POVs in books, although a few of the Harry Potter books switch after the first chapters. However, I noticed that in many movies and almost every TV show, POVs are switched constantly. I also noticed it in two of some of the most popular Disney classics, Aladdin and The Lion King. Many of us probably know who the MC's are. Aladdin is obviously the MC of his movie and Simba is the MC of the Lion King, although in nearly half of The Lion King and even Aladdin, the scenes were NOT from the MC's POV. In TV shows like Family Guy, where Peter is probably the MC, many scenes aren't from his point of view either.
    So that's okay in movies and TV shows, but not in books. I am asking because in my second book (related to the one I am currently writing), I have a plan for my MC to fall unconscious and disappear somewhere during that (I've written about 2 or 3 drafts and took a break from it). So I will have to switch POVs for one time. What will that do to readers, though? I've sometimes switched POVs without realizing it. But if it's obvious, will that confuse readers, even if I have no choice? Why is it not normally okay to switch POVs?



  2. #2
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    As I recall, Sunayna, you're writing in third person. In that case you should be able to manage a POV shift if you make sure it's very clear when it happens (i.e. a new chapter). You also need to make sure that whoever you have switched to is a fully fleshed out, highly developed character who is a central part of your novel. Switching to a random bystander for a while will probably leave people frustrated. Also - try to keep the section without your MC short. People will get annoyed (at least I would) and wonder what was happening with their MC.

    The biggest question I have to ask is: Why do you think you need to show things that happen while your MC is unconscious? Couldn't it be more interesting if you have a chapter break when she falls unconscious, and then the reader follows her as she tries to figure out what's going on when she wakes up? Just an idea.

  3. #3
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    The questions you ask are valid, but the answers are neither simple nor clear. Point-of-view is a much discussed aspect of writing; even the basic definitions can vary from one writer to the next. The short answer to your post is, yes, it's perfectly acceptable to switch POV... some of the time. The long answer is, well, it's pretty long. First- , second- (rarely used), third-person, and omniscient POV, objective or subjective, when you can shift and when you shouldn't, the danger of head hopping, and on and on. My advice is, research the question on-line (you'll find many, many internet articles on the subject) and then—as we always seem to advise you—read, read, and read, studying how published writers manage POV.

    This is critically important to your development as a writer.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Switching Point of Views

    It is point of view,
    or points of view,
    but not point of views.
    Last edited by leslee; 11-07-2011 at 08:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Avonne Writer's Avatar
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    Well, I just accidentally erased my entire friggin' reply. So, here's the short of what I said.

    Have you ever read Maggie Stiefvater's Linger or Forever? She changes POV (as in head hopping) every chapter, which is only about 2 pages long to begin with. ANNOYING as hell! JMO. It gives the reader (Me) a great excuse to put the book down. And I did, both books, many times.

    Again, JMO but only masterful writers can truly pull off POV changes. And, JK Rowling is masterful--since you mention Harry Potter.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    I personally like POV changes. I get greedy - I want to know what all the characters are thinking. Does that make me a nosy reader?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Susan B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lea Zalas View Post
    Does that make me a nosy reader?
    The best kind!

  8. #8
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    @Emily MacGowan The unconscious part may be a little to hard to explain right now (It will be a magical unconsciousness). Yes, I will be switching POVs to well-know and developed character. My MC will fall unconscious at the end of a chapter and I switch point of views only for the rest of that chapter. The reason I would like to show things while she is unconscious is because they may affect the rest of the story.

  9. #9
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    Again, JMO but only masterful writers can truly pull off POV changes.
    Not just your opinion. It's true.

  10. #10
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    [Nevermind.]
    Last edited by leslee; 11-08-2011 at 07:50 AM.

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