Friday, November 5, 2010

Narration and Third Person POV

I've always wanted a brother. I suppose my view of what a brother would be like is probably skewed because it's something I never got to experience growing up in a family of three girls. However, I have been blessed with three boys and thus have a very good idea of how they interact with each other.

This is very useful in my current project, Times Heart, which I've begun. Times Heart is a YA novel about the birth of a storyteller. It's coming of age story involving the passing on of an age old art and the responsibility that goes with it. The main characters include Fabula and his two brothers, Sitku and Anik.

This week has been a lot of fun as I have revised the first couple scenes, playing with the point of view and narration. The story is told in third person, but some of it is from Fabula's point of view. The sections in Fabula's POV were very active and pulled the reader closer as opposed to the parts, such as backstory or additional information the reader must know, which are more narrated. In order to make this seamless I've played with active language in the backstory summary. These techniques, if you would, give the story a very different feel, but seem to work.

The closest example I can think of to what I'm trying to accomplish and how the story feels are the movies The Princess Bride or The Polar Bear King. In both these movies there are times when there is an outside narrator, which we accept and it doesn't pull us out of the movie. This story is the similar in design, but of course is told through the narrative window as opposed to a motion picture on a screen.

Of course, this all means that instead of writing some 1600-17000 words a day (the Nanowrimo requirement which enables one to reach 50,000 words by Nov. 30th) I'm averaging 250 - 800 words a day, but what I do have is good. I believe if I can set up a solid foundation in structure and characters the rest of the story will progress much more easily as I get further into the novel.

About the photo's: Top Right - taken at the headwaters of the Takhini River (the lower end of Kusawa Lake). Bottom Left - my eldest son's and their father returning from an afternoon of fishing. 


  1. Hi Leonie,
    Good luck with your novel. I like to write each scene or chapter in close limited third from a main character's point of view. I think it's interesting and good that you know how you want to structure your novel and how the narration and point of view will interrelate. Great photos, too!

  2. Thanks Annie,
    I have the feeling this novel will take a while to complete, but I'm happy to at least be working on it. I used to write in third person all the time, but then switched to 1st a couple years ago. It's now interesting to be playing with third person especially as I haven't played with close third person before writing more in an omniscient or semi-omniscient style. I enjoy seeing my writing progress and trying new things.