#ROW80 Check-in: a POV question

I wasn’t actually planning on doing a mid-week check-in this week, but when I was writing last night a question came up and I would like some advice on it. 

Without giving too much away, the scene I posted for yesterday’s WIPpet basically leads to Cait getting taken prisoner by the Gallit men. Cait then spends a lot of time in the back of the wagon they throw her in, then in a cell, then unconscious for a bit. It’s other characters (like Meg) who are doing all the important stuff at this point to ensure Cait gets rescued.

The thing is, though, of course, that the entire story up until this point has been told in third person limited from Cait’s POV. Last night I was writing a scene when Cait and Meg are reunited and Meg was filling Cait in on all the things that had happened, but it was very much in the form of

Cait: (asks question)
Meg: (answers)
Cait: (asks another question that stems from that answer)
Meg: (answers that one)

… and so on for a good 500 – 750 words or so. And I mean, there is a time and a place for a good info dump, but I don’t think this is it.

So my question is, would it be strange, 20000 words or so in, to break from Cait’s POV and perhaps switch to Meg’s for a while. Probably only for 1000 words or so, at which point it would return to Cait’s and probably stay there. There might be one other scene that would work from Meg’s, but I think Cait’s reactions are probably more important to that bit.

I’m also having a bit of an issue with the setting, in that in my head the clothes worn by the characters and the buildings and that sort of thing are all quasi-Regency period, and the wartime stuff is more reminiscent of the Napoleonic Wars than anything else. But some of the technologies they use are more Victorian (they have cameras and newspapers, for example, and that magic show that Cait and Ginny go to at the beginning definitely feels closer to turn of the 20th century than the 19th). But I think the best thing to do here is just ignore the earlier-period stuff in my head, and update my descriptions so that everything fits that later period. I don’t go into huge descriptions of clothes or anything like that, so it would basically be a case of ensuring aforementioned technologies don’t feel out of place.

Anyway, I think that’s it from me for today. Thank you in advance for any comments and suggestions.

~ Emily

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10 thoughts on “#ROW80 Check-in: a POV question

  1. Tonette dela Luna says:

    Hiya.

    I’m not sure how long she’s unconscious and what information Meg relays (likely the rescue effort) but how bad is Cait’s injury? You could try writing a passage or chapter where Cait silps in and out of consciousness and it can give you the opportunity to show what’s happening to and around her, even in snippets. Does the wagon and/or cell have windows? What does she hear, see, or smell during those brief moments of waking? I don’t know what genre this is so injecting paranormal or just unusual circumstances into these scenes may or may not prove useful (or mess with her mind, due to the injury). A dream? Hallucination? The purpose of this is primarily to keep the story going in the POV you’ve written thus far (unless you want to do a mini-overhaul and start putting in more of Meg’s POV). It can also serve as an opportunity of introspection. Cait can assess all the events that have transpired on her journey to either cast doubt on her actions or renew her motivation to reach her goal. When she meets up with Meg later, their dialogue won’t seem forced, if you’re worried about the info-dumping Q&A type of conversation.

    There have been debates (or so I’ve read) on 3rd person limited POV and many have cited HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE as an example. He doesn’t appear until page 15 (hehe, I looked it up) and he’s too busy sleeping like a baby–literally to shed insight on his story. His first bits of dialogue on are page 19. Though in the quick reread of that passage, it somehow seems a little more omniscient. Anyhoo, what I mean to say is, if HARRY POTTER is 3rd person limited and this happened right at the start, are there really any strict rules that one must follow? Before anyone plays the ‘but Rowling’s a billionaire author’ card, this was her first offering so there was no way to tell that her future entailed breaking literary records and therefore the leeway to break literary rules, as many established authors have the luxury to do. 😀

    I don’t have much input on Regency settings, but if it’s not a strictly historical novel, then you have wiggle room, i.e. Alternate History/Timeline, etc., and you have the liberty to fudge the technology/attire to suit your needs.

    Essentially, do what you feel works best for the plot and get the words out. You can always decide later if those particular sections need to be reworked and/or removed. It’s Cait’s POV but it’s your story and therefore your decision. 😉

    Phew. I didn’t realize I’d take this long to comment. Kids are napping, I just got off the treadmill and had a burst of energy to get out through my fingers.

    Hope my 0.02 helps.

    Cheers,

    Tonette dela Luna

    P.S. It’s always good to do check-ins, so I’m glad you did and I’m glad I saw the tweet. I’m checking in late tonight but I always take comfort in our awesome #ROW80 community. No matter my writerly struggles, I know there are others in similar situations. I love the support. That’s what we’re here for.

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    • Emily Witt says:

      Wow, thank you for such a thought-out response! My apologies for taking so long to respond to you. My main issue with the rescue effort in my story is that a lot of it is not taking place anywhere near where Cait is. She’s dragged off and then they have to get word to people who can help them, organise something and then get to where Cait is. Once they get there, it can revert to Cait’s POV even though she’s not entirely aware of what’s going on for some of it.

      That is a great point about Harry Potter, though. The majority of the books started with scenes that Harry wasn’t in any way a part of. I would definitely say it is 3rd person limited overall, though; we definitely see Ron and Hermione through Harry’s eyes and we never get to see what Dumbledore is thinking when he and Harry have their Deep and Meaningful conversations at the end of each book, only that Harry tends to find Dumbledore’s cryptic-ness incredibly frustrating!

      I think for the moment I’m going to experiment with a few different options with regards to both the POV issue and the setting, and see what works best. Things can always be removed later if they turn out to not be useful.

      Thanks again for stopping by! I do not mind lengthy comments at all!

      ~ Emily

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  2. katemsparkes says:

    I had to deal with this in early drafts, too. I originally had one first-person narrator, knowing all the while that she was going to spend several days out of commission near the end. I considered handing the narration off to the love interest at that point and then giving it back, but it felt unbalanced, and I felt a little like I was cheating. 🙂

    In my case what worked was re-writing sections throughout the story and giving them to him, balancing out the narrative and turning a love interest into a true protagonist (though the FMC still gets far more pages than he does, mostly because the girl can’t shut up). That causes its own set of problems, of course, and I know what wouldn’t work for you. But maybe you could find balance by handing occasional scenes off to other characters throughout the book instead of just in this one place? It would give you an interesting outsider’s perspective on Cait, too. Just a thought. Good luck with it! Not that you need it…

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    • Emily Witt says:

      This was something I considered when I first set out to start the second draft, and I think it is something I will revisit. I initially wanted to have the scene where Cait and Felipe meet for the first time to be from Felipe’s POV, but then the scene developed and it worked better from Cait’s, and I actually found it very tricky writing Felipe (I think mostly because I don’t want to reveal prematurely that he’s not actually the annoying spoilt brat that he prentends to be). But I’m sure he actually has plenty to say so perhaps some free-writes are in order. I will keep you posted on how it works out!

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    • Emily Witt says:

      Thanks for the link! That was actually really helpful! I think I will have a little bit of head-hopping throughout, but not too much. I think that writer makes a good point about making sure the narration is grounded so the reader can get their bearings quickly and then lose themselves.

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  3. elainejeremiah says:

    I think on the issue of whose POV you’re writing from at any one time is it’s up to you. I’ve experimented with different POVs over the years. I think it’s good to try your hand at different styles, see what works for you. As for which time period it’s set in/is like I’m not sure it matters too much in fantasy but again, it’s what you’re comfortable with. If it grates with you then maybe it’s no good. I think the world you create needs to conform to the rules you set for it.

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    • Emily Witt says:

      That’s a good way to look at it, actually! I think maybe I need a few other things that fit in with the setting as well, so that it’s not just those couple of things standing out and determining the period. Thanks for the comment!

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  4. Gloria Weber says:

    My 1.5 cents: I just finished reading a MG novel called 13 TREASURES. For the most part it is from the main character’s PoV. However, on 5(ish) occasions, for what had to be no more than 500 words at a time, it switched to one of two other characters. Characters in basically the same situation as yours (they were helping/saving the main). I didn’t find this odd at all. I especially found it okay for one character that was practically always there anyways (he’s in like 75% of the book), so switching to him for those moments (he had 3 of the PoV scenes) seemed acceptable.

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    • Emily Witt says:

      Thanks for your comment, Gloria. This is probably the sort of thing I will end up going for; good to know it didn’t seem to weird. l’ve come up with a couple of other short scenes from Other characters’ points of view, so hopefully switching to Meg’s won’t seem to jarring.

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