Author Topic: 'Split' narration  (Read 1737 times)

Offline lamont cranston

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'Split' narration
« on: July 06, 2017, 03:23:21 PM »
I have a story in which two people have (barely separated) paths and they finally come together near the end of the story. 

I've been working on it and it appears to be natural to have it narrated from two different viewpoints.  Split narration, I think it's called?  Both would be third person narrator(I understand first person split narration is often poorly done, confusing). 

What do you think of that type of narration?  I understand it's not a good idea to switch frequently and that it's important to make it clear who is being 'followed'.

hillwalker3000

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 04:37:22 PM »
Alternating chapters should work fine and avoid any confusion - though you can have the plotline of one of your characters (preferably the more important of the two) written in first person narrative if you so wish. I've done it myself on many occasions.

H3K

Offline lamont cranston

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 04:45:41 PM »
awesome, thanks!

Jo Bannister

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 02:49:48 AM »
Sorry to disagree, but I think splitting the narration between a first person and a third person would be a mistake.  I have seen it done, but the only time I tried to do it myself my agent was barely polite about it.  It's the only thing I ever wrote that she didn't like.

I have no problem with two third-person narratives, as long as it's always clear who we're with - and there's a clear understanding of what each character could and couldn't know at any given point.


Offline sallyj

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 02:58:40 AM »
I use split narration a lot. Sometimes I change viewpoint with in a chapter (but never within a scene, one scene = one viewpoint) and I make it obvious the viewpoint has changed by using 3 asterisks '***'.
I've read books that use a first and third person viewpoint and have enjoyed them - so I think this may be down to personal preference.
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hillwalker3000

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 04:32:53 AM »
Sorry to disagree, but I think splitting the narration between a first person and a third person would be a mistake.

Unless it's done properly, it can indeed become a complete mess.

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Offline lamont cranston

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2017, 07:14:26 AM »
Sorry to disagree, but I think splitting the narration between a first person and a third person would be a mistake.  I have seen it done, but the only time I tried to do it myself my agent was barely polite about it.  It's the only thing I ever wrote that she didn't like.

I have no problem with two third-person narratives, as long as it's always clear who we're with - and there's a clear understanding of what each character could and couldn't know at any given point.



That's how this one is going.  It feels more natural writing it this way.  The narrator is more like an omniscient observer of both of them, and they eventually get together.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 12:18:55 PM »
One of the best split povs ever done is Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.  First person present or past depending on what Grace was talking about, then 3rd person present for the doctor interviewing her. Study that technique and be in awe. :)
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Offline lamont cranston

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2017, 06:57:45 PM »
Unless it's done properly, it can indeed become a complete mess.

H3K

What's the proper way to do it?

hillwalker3000

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2017, 04:37:54 AM »
You'll know it when you read it. If the switch from one POV to the next jars, it's not working. Ideally, the writing should be invisible. The reader should subconsciously latch onto each character in turn without knowing why (or realising how the writer made them do it). Trust me. I've had readers tell me they didn't even spot the change from 1st to 3rd person narrative.

H3k

Lin

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2017, 05:50:49 AM »
I was going to do first and third in my second novel. I had so many readers against it, I gave up and kept it all in the first person.  I was going to split the narration and head the chapter 'Ewan' who is a character in the story.  |However, I didn't do that either.  I found it hard for my MC to be out of the story for a while when my other character's story needed to be told.  So I brought the MC back into the scene along with Ewan and he told his story to her. They were in the stables together and he was reminiscing and she knew something he didn't and was about to learn, but she couldn't tell him yet. It was a slight drama.  I brought her home from work early so that Ewan could open up to her. 

Perhaps this makes sense. 

Lin

   

Offline BobbyD

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2017, 12:30:33 PM »
You'll know it when you read it. If the switch from one POV to the next jars, it's not working. Ideally, the writing should be invisible. The reader should subconsciously latch onto each character in turn without knowing why (or realising how the writer made them do it). Trust me. I've had readers tell me they didn't even spot the change from 1st to 3rd person narrative.

H3k

I did note with great interest how you used this in "Dark Sky".  When a scene included Matt, it was first person, otherwise it was third person.  I have never tried anything but omniscient view, but I have notes for stories that will require the use of this technique.  "Dark Sky" was great read, by the way.

Bob

hillwalker3000

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Re: 'Split' narration
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2017, 04:46:20 AM »
Thanks - and I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

H3K