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larien

Senior Member
Hi everyone,

I'm writing a fantasy novel in a limited third-person voice, I have written almost 300 pages (typed) and estimate that I am roughly half way done.

I am now at a point in the story where something happens to the female protagonist but I don't want the audience to know all of the details right away and am wondering if it would be too weird to change the point of view to the male protagonist. I'm not sure how long the would be for, at the minimum a few paragraphs and at most the one chapter (most of the chapters are around 10 pages). The POV is limited to the female protagonist and this would probably be the only time in the novel that it changes to another character. I have another idea as to how I could get around the audience knowing the details, simply skip the scene (as this starts a new chapter) and have the chapter begin when she returns to the others. The only problem is, there might be a lot of interaction within the situation with the other characters, I haven't fully formed the idea yet. I mostly work off the top of my head as I go. I really think it would work best if I changed to his perspective but it feels weird, like I shouldn't be doing it.

If this helps, it would basically consist of the male character realizing she is missing and looking for her, figuring out where she is gone and then trying (but failing) to get her back. When she returns he may end up fighting some creatures but that's what I haven't decided on yet. During the fight the POV might switch back, though in that case I'm thinking it would be best to stick it out until the end of the chapter.

Is doing this as weird as I think it sounds?
 

C.M. Aaron

Senior Member
It is perfectly permissible for a third person limited story to shift POV, however, if you are halfway through and have not done it yet, you should not start now. You could go back and see how many scenes can be told from the POV of your male protagonist and rewrite them that way. Then when you come back to where you are now, the reader will accept one more POV shift.

I'm concerned about withholding information from your readers. It's inherently dishonest, and readers often react badly to it. You can't have your character say, "Oh, by the way, back in Chapter 28 XYZ happened to me." Your readers should get the information at the same time as your characters. Could this thing happen to your character that she does not know about right away but could later reconstruct? For instance could it happen to her while she was asleep?

I assume you want to withhold the information for dramatic effect. You might be able to create similar dramatic tension by having the POV character know something that the other characters do not know. The POV character and the readers share a secret they are keeping from the other characters for a little while.

By the way, writers don't think in terms of number of pages. We count our number of words. Figure on your first novel maxing out at 100,000 words. See if you have a word counter under the Tools function in MS Word or Open Office.

Good luck. C.M.
 

larien

Senior Member
Ok I'll definitely go back and check the previous chapters to see what I can do about changing the POV in some of them.

Also I agree, withholding info from readers for an extended amount of time is a kill for the reader. It would likely get cleared up in the next chapter where the POV would change back to the female protagonist and she would explain to the male protagonist and possibly some supporting characters what happened. If I'm being too vague let me know and I'll fix that, knowing me I'll just be typing for a while.

You're right the whole idea is dramatic effect, I do also like the idea of having the POV character and readers knowing something the other characters do now. If I don't use that know, I might try to use it later on.

I think I read that before as well but I always forget about it and go with page numbers, that being said I am at about 64,300 words. Is it likely to be too long if I'm over 100,000 words at the end? Too draggy in some parts maybe?
 

Zootalaws

Senior Member
Before you commit to going back and changing your story, have you had anyone read what you have written so far?
 

C.M. Aaron

Senior Member
The 100K word rule is because publishers are reluctant to invest too much paper and ink in an untried writer. Also, readers are reluctant to commit to a 400k word tome if they do not already know the author and trust that they will enjoy the read.
 

Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
I think I read that before as well but I always forget about it and go with page numbers, that being said I am at about 64,300 words. Is it likely to be too long if I'm over 100,000 words at the end? Too draggy in some parts maybe?

That totally depends. Do you have over 100,000 words of story? Or are you just trying to hit some arbitrary goal, and are resorting to using filler to do so?

Consider my own example. My current project is well on its way to being about 200,000 words when all is said and done. Chapters are about 5,500 words apiece. And yet, the last ten chapters or so rush forward with a pace that baffles even me, the author. Why? It's because a darn lot of stuff happens in them, and every single event drives the plot forward.

If you can get in and out of your story in 75,000 words, more power to you. Personally, I have an appreciation for short, tight plots, and the encyclopedic fantasy novels of today totally rub me the wrong way. On the other hand, if a story maintains a good pace throughout, more words are better, because the reader won't want to stop.

It's no good asking if some parts of your story will drag on if you have 100,000 words. The entire story could drag on, or none of it could. It all depends on your plot and writing style.
 

Mathias Cavanaugh

Senior Member
I would agree with what was previously said about changing POV half way through a story just to hide something. Don't do it unless you are committed to telling most if not all of the remaining story from the other character's POV. And only then if it makes sense from the stand point of the story. If you haven't invested time in making the reader care about the new POV character and what it thinks and feels it could get awkward for the reader and cause problems.

My current novel is 3rd person limited all the way through. I thought about changing at points to other characters and their POV but it felt wrong and caused issues with what the reader would know in each successive chapter about the main character. That being said, the epilogue is being written in 3rd person omniscient POV because it works better and I think ties up some loose ends about what the novel's secondary character is thinking at times. Since the epilogue is a set aside and a short story in and of itself I believe that to be ok after I have told the main story for the POV of just the main character. But if you do chose to switch POVs in your instance take care that you don't lead the reader astray. They should still know what is happening to the old POV character even though maybe not all the intimacy they would if they were still the POV character.
 

Jon M

WF Veterans
If you haven't switched point of views in the first 300 pages, I'd argue that it's too late to do so now. It will feel abrupt, not well thought out.

You could jump forward in time, to a scene that happens after the incident, and turn the event into a bit of a mystery by simply not explaining what happened. Let the details of it slowly trickle in later, and let the reader put it together.
 

larien

Senior Member
Zootalaws no i haven't yet, I hate being judged and having to correct things and it's a really bad mentality for a writer. I love my book as it is, obviously I'm ok changing some things if I'm open to playing with POV at this point. I know I'll have to get someone to read it eventually, I think my big problem is that I don't really know who the target audience is. I'm just writing it cause I like the idea I came up with and I love writing. I'm thinking maybe mid to older teens, I don't know that anyone older than that would enjoy it. I don't really know anyone in that age group at this point, I suppose I could post some of it on here and see what people on here think. I'm sure there are a lot of things everyone will be critiquing. Also there are so many little details I don't think I like right now. I'm the sort of person that likes to write it out then go back and change things to make them work after I'm done draft one. That's probably somewhat backward but I just don't do things in order.

Thanks CM for clearing up the reason for the 100K word limit, I can totally understand it looking at it that way and will definitely keep it in mind.

Thank you everyone else for your input as well, you've given me very drastic standpoints on how to do things. :)
 

Anders Ämting

Senior Member
I'm just writing it cause I like the idea I came up with and I love writing.

No offense, but that sounds strange to me. Writing is storytelling, after all, and what is the storyteller without his audience? I don't write because I enjoy writing, I write because I have stories to tell, and I have a hard time imagining writing just for the sake of writing. Are you saying you don't care for your story to be aknowledged by anyone but yourself?

I'm the sort of person that likes to write it out then go back and change things to make them work after I'm done draft one. That's probably somewhat backward but I just don't do things in order.

Actually, that's pretty much what you're supposed to do.

See, the first draft is supposed to stink. Trying to get it all right the first time is a good way to not get anywhere. People often have their priorities wrong: Your first objective isn't to write a good manuscript but to write a finished manuscript. You can fix all the bad stuff afterwards, the important thing is that you don't stop until you reach the end because otherwise, you haven't accomplished anything. If you're already doing it that way, it probably just means you have good instincts for this.
 

larien

Senior Member
No offense, but that sounds strange to me. Writing is storytelling, after all, and what is the storyteller without his audience? I don't write because I enjoy writing, I write because I have stories to tell, and I have a hard time imagining writing just for the sake of writing. Are you saying you don't care for your story to be aknowledged by anyone but yourself?



Actually, that's pretty much what you're supposed to do.

See, the first draft is supposed to stink. Trying to get it all right the first time is a good way to not get anywhere. People often have their priorities wrong: Your first objective isn't to write a good manuscript but to write a finished manuscript. You can fix all the bad stuff afterwards, the important thing is that you don't stop until you reach the end because otherwise, you haven't accomplished anything. If you're already doing it that way, it probably just means you have good instincts for this.


I'm glad you think I have good instincts for writing, even though you seem to think a person can't possibly write just because they enjoy writing. I've written a script, I'm half way done this novel, I have another on the go and I have two other script ideas. The thing is, no one has ever read any of them. Yes I do write just because I enjoy it and if it turns out other people like my work then fantastic, but I am not driven by whether people approve of what I write or not. If I were to live my life that way, heck if anyone were to, they would cease to exist as the person they were born to be. If I were to write hoping for approval I probably wouldn't write any more. I know getting feedback and critiques is all part of the process and that is fine, I'll take that but in the end I'm don't get my hopes up by thinking that what I write will get published. That may be short-sighted of me and even harder for you to understand but I just like to put pen to paper and write. Not sure how many people still write stories out by hand first but that is a huge reason why I enjoy is so much. I do things differently from most people, those people tend to not understand me. I am not making a career out of writing, that would kill everything writing is to me, it is just a hobby and hobbies are meant to be enjoyed. Personally I think it's weird if you don't write out of enjoyment, if you don't enjoy what you're doing why the heck would you be doing it?
 

Robdemanc

Senior Member
I would prefer leaving out the chapter instead of shifting POV half way through. Ask yourself if the information is really necessary at that point in the story. Can it wait? If not, then it is much better for the reader, and character to know that information. Ask yourself why you want the information left out.
 

Rob

Senior Member
I am now at a point in the story where something happens to the female protagonist but I don't want the audience to know all of the details right away
Just curious what sort of details, and why (other than the vague 'dramatic effect')?
 

Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
Personally I think it's weird if you don't write out of enjoyment, if you don't enjoy what you're doing why the heck would you be doing it?

For me, storytelling comes first and recognition second. I have a story I want to tell and I'll be thrilled when it's told (that is, when my novel is finished), but I would love for other people to appreciate it as well. If you're the only one who likes your work, what have you accomplished? Furthermore, how can you be pleased with your work unless it's something others are pleased with, too? What are you measuring it against? In my mind, until other people have evaluated and approved of my work, I might as well be typing random gibberish and calling it a story. I said recognition comes second, but its the recognition that validates the storytelling.

For me, writing ISN'T fun, but it's not fun in the same way lifting weights or working at my job isn't fun. I'll put up with all three because the reward far outweighs the cost. Writing is a pain. However, reading what I've written is wonderful. It's amazing to see how much I've put onto paper and where my story's gone. Also, hearing people say, "I love your work; keep writing and keep updating it! I want to read more!" is probably the best reward you can hope for.

Yes, storytelling comes first. However, the true worth of storytelling lies in the audience.
 

Lord Darkstorm

Senior Member
Why not just skip the scene all together and then let it come out in the retelling to the male character? If you are only trying to delay it being given to the reader before the other character knows, tell both at the same time. Very legitimate way to do it.
 

Anders Ämting

Senior Member
I'm glad you think I have good instincts for writing, even though you seem to think a person can't possibly write just because they enjoy writing.

Well, I wouldn't go that far. I just can't relate to it, that's all.

I've written a script, I'm half way done this novel, I have another on the go and I have two other script ideas. The thing is, no one has ever read any of them. Yes I do write just because I enjoy it and if it turns out other people like my work then fantastic, but I am not driven by whether people approve of what I write or not. If I were to live my life that way, heck if anyone were to, they would cease to exist as the person they were born to be. If I were to write hoping for approval I probably wouldn't write any more. I know getting feedback and critiques is all part of the process and that is fine, I'll take that but in the end I'm don't get my hopes up by thinking that what I write will get published. That may be short-sighted of me and even harder for you to understand but I just like to put pen to paper and write. Not sure how many people still write stories out by hand first but that is a huge reason why I enjoy is so much. I do things differently from most people, those people tend to not understand me. I am not making a career out of writing, that would kill everything writing is to me, it is just a hobby and hobbies are meant to be enjoyed. Personally I think it's weird if you don't write out of enjoyment, if you don't enjoy what you're doing why the heck would you be doing it?

Now, now, don't misunderstand me wrong. I'm not saying I don't get enjoyment out of writing. It's just that the enjoyment is not derived from the act itself but from the result. What I love about writing is that it allows me to contribute to the lives of others, even if it's just by entertaining them with a story. It's not about seeking approval, it's about sharing. It's about telling a story and by doing so giving something to other people. If my stories were just meant for myself, why would I even bother writing them down? I could just keep them locked inside my head forever, and there would be no reason to improve or refine them because I don't need to move anyone's heart but my own. But by giving my stories shape and form and substance in the real world I can take all the beautiful and painful and exciting and glorious things I have inside and give them away, and perhaps even inspire someone else to do the same thing. That's what writing is to me: A gift.
 

larien

Senior Member
@gamer
Then from what you've said recognition isn't second it's first. Perhaps that's why writing isn't fun for you. I'm sorry but if you don't enjoy your job maybe you need to look into something else cause that's just sad. It sounds to me as though you like putting yourself into situations you don't enjoy just because you're getting a pay cheque or recognition at the end, which is just sad. I could never do that to myself. I do what I do because I enjoy it. If I get recognition great, and yes if I were to get compliments from people telling me I should definitely keep writing it would totally boost my confidence in what I do. If not though, I'm not going cry myself to sleep over it, I still love what I do and what I write because it's something I created.

No matter how you put it, all I can see from what you've said is that you want the recognition and that is most important. If you can't write just to put it on paper and enjoy the process I can't understand why you write unfortunately. Life should be fun and enjoyable in every aspect you can control. If you don't enjoy writing find another medium to get your stories out, that's the only solution that makes sense.

@Anders
I can understand where you're coming from with wanting or needing to contribute to others lives. That is probably how most writers feel. Unfortunately I fail at being like most people most of the time. I guess I'm weird in that no matter what the story is I have to write it down and I don't think I'll be able to get anyone else to enjoy it. My thinking is that I'm just different, cause I am I really don't think the way most people do, and so it's not likely that anyone else will take my writing the way it is and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. That is why I do it the way I do, I have to put my ideas on paper, I just have to.

Sorry if I took things the wrong way, when reading things on the internet I have a tendency to get the wrong tone of voice in my head, it's always a condescending voice. Makes me a little bit angry. I dealt with crap online and via text for a good two years so I'm still trying to get my head out of thinking that way.


To everyone saying to skip the scene and go back to it, it just wouldn't have the same effect because the scene leads into the next big event. Following the event the female protagonist will explain what happened. I know the majority of you think I should skip it but I can't, partly because I know it wouldn't work and partly because I my brain doesn't work the way the majority of peoples do so I can't go with what the majority of people would do, I'm weird that way. I like the idea of going back and trying to change POV on some other chapters, I'm going to do that as soon as I have a chance. I've been busy with school and work so I haven't had a chance yet. Thanks for the feedback, if I have any more questions I'll be sure to post them and see what everyone has to say.
 
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Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
Then from what you've said recognition isn't second it's first. Perhaps that's why writing isn't fun for you. I'm sorry but if you don't enjoy your job maybe you need to look into something else cause that's just sad. It sounds to me as though you like putting yourself into situations you don't enjoy just because you're getting a pay cheque or recognition at the end, which is just sad. I could never do that to myself.

Not even close. I have a real job (which I enjoy), and I haven't made a cent off my writing. Besides, you can't be all about storytelling and all about recognition at the same time. You either write what you want to write at the risk of it not being popular, or you write what's going to be popular at the cost of artistic integrity.

Also, reread my original post and tell me where you see any mention of money at all. Go on, do it. I'll be interested to hear what you find.

I do what I do because I enjoy it. If I get recognition great, and yes if I were to get compliments from people telling me I should definitely keep writing it would totally boost my confidence in what I do. If not though, I'm not going cry myself to sleep over it, I still love what I do and what I write because it's something I created.

Look at it this way. Let's say you run a mile in 30 minutes and are thrilled with that time. Then you learn that a good mile time is 6 minutes and a great one is 4 minutes. How can you still be happy with your "achievements" once you learn how much they actually suck? External recognition is important because it pushes you to be the best you can be.

No matter how you put it, all I can see from what you've said is that you want the recognition and that is most important. If you can't write just to put it on paper and enjoy the process I can't understand why you write unfortunately. Life should be fun and enjoyable in every aspect you can control. If you don't enjoy writing find another medium to get your stories out, that's the only solution that makes sense.

Some people find their greatest joy in actual achievement. Admittedly, there's something to be said for doing something just for the sake of doing it, but LOTS of people aren't satisfied with that. They want to be better. They want to improve. And you know what? Sometimes getting better means doing things that aren't fun. Sometimes reaching the high goals you set for yourself means unpleasant work. That's why I made the comparison to weight-lifting in my last post. It's not fun when you're doing it, but when you look at the end result, you feel a great sense of achievement. In this case, it's because I know I've bitten the bullet, worked hard despite not wanting to, and produced a result that I (and others) can be proud of.

What's so wrong with that?
 

larien

Senior Member
My point about you putting yourself into situations you don't enjoy just to get a cheque out of it was directed at the fact that you said "For me, writing ISN'T fun, but it's not fun in the same way lifting weights or working at my job isn't fun". Sounds to me like you DON'T like your job and are doing it for the money. Now you're telling me you do like your job. You're starting to contradict yourself.In regards to writing and sacrificing artistic integrity, it's obvious that's not something I am interested in as I am the one saying I enjoy writing for the process.

If I ran a mile in 30 min and it was a personal best, I'd still be extremely happy with that. That being said, I would keep working to get better, which is why I signed up for the site. To get feedback so I can get better. I know there are problems with my writing, as much as I enjoy what I've written, so I want to get better. None the less, I still love what I've written and the process of writing it. Like I said, if someone decides they also enjoy my work then great, if not, I'm not going to cry about it.

I have to say I think it's sad that people can't do something like writing and enjoy the process of it at the same time. Obviously you're not the only person who feels that way but you can't seem to accept that I don't feel that way. I love writing for the sake of writing, yes I want to get better and I'm going to get better. For me, though, it's not a painstaking task to work at. I also happen to know plenty of people who enjoy working out and lifting weights. What's wrong with it is that from the examples you given me, it sounds like I'm am talking to a person who is very pessimistic about so many things aspects of their life and it is very sad. You should maybe look into talking to someone about that, there's lots of fantastically fun things in life. Your writing, career, and extracurricular activities should all be part of that. So I'm sorry you can't enjoy those aspects of your life.
 

Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
My point about you putting yourself into situations you don't enjoy just to get a cheque out of it was directed at the fact that you said "For me, writing ISN'T fun, but it's not fun in the same way lifting weights or working at my job isn't fun". Sounds to me like you DON'T like your job and are doing it for the money. Now you're telling me you do like your job. You're starting to contradict yourself.

If given the choice between not going to work and going to work (while getting paid the same), I'd choose the former. Still, I recognize that as far as work goes, my job isn't too bad. There are a lot worse things I could be doing to make money. In that respect, I enjoy my job, but compared to doing many other things, it's not "fun."

Obviously you're not the only person who feels that way but you can't seem to accept that I don't feel that way.

I'm not the one who's been pushing the issue and I don't think the discussion has been about you ever since your first reply. At your own prompting, we only been talking about me, not you. So where the heck does that claim come from?

it sounds like I'm am talking to a person who is very pessimistic about so many things aspects of their life and it is very sad. You should maybe look into talking to someone about that, there's lots of fantastically fun things in life. Your writing, career, and extracurricular activities should all be part of that. So I'm sorry you can't enjoy those aspects of your life.

Ah, internet psychologists - so amusing, especially when they're wrong. We've discussed two things about me: writing and work (I'm not counting lifting weights because it was only an example, not something I do anymore). How presumptuous is it to assume that those are the only things my life consists of?
 
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