Thursday, January 29, 2009

First-Person Shifting Viewpoint Narrators (8th In A Series)

This style of writing uses a POV that shifts from one character to another. It seems to be utilized more of late than at any time in the past. Many thriller writers use different variations of this. As an example, James Patterson has used it in several of his Alex Cross novels in which he tells the story from Cross's viewpoint in First-Person Protagonist narrator and also relates the antagonist's viewpoint, usually in Third-Person Protagonist (maybe Antagonist is a better choice of words) narrator. Mr. Patterson it should be noted is an extremely experienced and accomplished writer and he is able to do this without revealing the antagonist's identity unless he expressly chooses to (as he did in his most recent Alex Cross novel, Cross Country).

Some writers will use a mixture of viewpoints using this one and Third-Person Shifting Viewpoints. Patterson does this in Cross Country.

However, this POV can be very useful if you are relating a story from the viewpoint of multiple characters. For instance if your novel deals with a sequestered jury, you might alternate chapters so the story can be told from the viewpoint of each juror. The writer should take great care to ensure that they do not become redundant by rehashing facts and event the reader is already aware of.

Another novel that uses this POV is Wilkie Collins's classic The Woman In White .

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