SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Point of View-MG Novels

Discussion started on

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
I am writing a MG novel and the protagonist is 12 years old.  The entire book is written from his point of view, except for two chapters.  Is this a good idea?  A critique sesson once led me to believe not to ever leave the main character's point of view.  If the two chapters involve something which moves the story forward and the main character is unaware what is happening in them ( even though it is important), is this wrong?
#1 - August 16, 2010, 08:02 AM

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newengland
Is the story in first person or third person?  You can use third person and still be firmly in that person's POV (you'll see it sometimes referred to as "deep third-person POV), then be able to go into other people's POVs in different scenes without being jarring--lots of books have multiple POVs.  It's harder to do that with first person.
#2 - August 16, 2010, 08:45 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

Owl Princess
Admins and Mods Emeriti
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
Although you will hear differing qualities of advice, only follow what makes sense for your book. You can do this successfully. Make the POV clear in the first sentence and stay in that POV for the entire chapter.
#3 - August 16, 2010, 09:07 AM
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 09:12 AM by Owl »
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
http://decoowlpress.com

Barb  :owl

Website: http://barbaraetlin.com
Blog: http://owlsquill.blogspot.com

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
1st person, past tense
#4 - August 16, 2010, 09:11 AM

Cheri

Guest
I see that done occasionally, but I personally don't care for it. I love 1st person, specifically because the reader's view is limited to what the main character knows. To me it feels a little like cheating or info dump to jump into another POV for just a couple of chapters. Things like phone calls, emails or even having the mc speculate on what others are doing can sometimes eliminate the need for the second POV.

That's just my opinion though, obviously some authors do it. And I do agree with Owl, do what makes sense for your book. Good luck!
#5 - August 16, 2010, 09:50 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
I don't know your book, of course, but especially since this is first person, I suspect you're making a mistake. First person does limit you to what the MC knows, so your other chapters seem much more like a POV violation than they would if you were using third. You have to be very, very sure that the story MUST have what's being revealed in the two other chapters in order to work, and also very sure that you can't have your MC experience or somehow find out those things. The chances that you have an info dump problem or are taking too easy a way out are fairly high. You can write a novel with a dual POV, but the second POV would normally have closer to half the story rather than two chapters, and that character would have her/his own arc.

Exceptions to the norm do get published. A few years ago, I read a YA novel that had either 9 or 11 POVs, I forget which. It was an entire class of kids plus the teacher, each one with a unique view of the same set of events, and every chapter was from a different POV. That was a lot of rule-breaking (so many POVs, plus an adult), yet it worked.

I'd suggest finding two or three beta readers or a critique group and see what they think.
#6 - August 16, 2010, 12:25 PM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Thanks to all for your feedback.  I really think I will just stick to the MC's point of view.  Seems like it's the right thing to do. I believe it would become too complicated to be understood by MG readers, otherwise. 
#7 - August 16, 2010, 01:25 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Hi,


After reading what lots of you say about 1st person, present tense, I have changed my story from 1st, past to 1st, present.  I really didn't think I would like it and there's been lots of changing going on since I've passed the 10K word mark.  Anyway, thought I'd let you know I do think it's the way to go with these novels.  Seems more appropriate and more immediate, like you said.

Thanks for the advice!
#8 - August 20, 2010, 11:38 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
Glad you've found what's working, lab. 1st present is becoming widely used, and IMO reads just as easily these days as past tense does. The right POV can make a huge difference in whether a story comes alive, so experimenting is good.
#9 - August 21, 2010, 09:07 AM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

Cheri

Guest
After reading what lots of you say about 1st person, present tense, I have changed my story from 1st, past to 1st, present.

That's funny, lab. I've been toying with the idea of taking my out of FP/PT! Good luck with your re-write.
#10 - August 21, 2010, 11:20 AM

ddpattison

Guest
It always depends on the story, of course. But you could look at Karen Cushman's Newbery book, The Midwife's Apprentice. It has one chapter that is in a different POV.

Then, it will just depend on how you do it.

Darcy
--
www.darcypattison.com
#11 - August 26, 2010, 07:10 AM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Thanks Darcy.  I will check that one out. 
#12 - August 26, 2010, 07:30 AM

deegarret

Guest
It might also depend on how easily a particular point of view comes to you. I am uncomfortable writing in first person, so I stick with third. I admire people who do it well. I also like the flexibility in third to switch characters' POVs if necessary.
#13 - August 26, 2010, 03:03 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Dee,

You're probably right to write in third person.  It is easier for me to do as well.  It's just this one book that I'm working on that I think it's better for the person (a boy who is always and forever getting into trouble) speaks for himself.  It is definitely an experiment for me.  Hope I can pull it off.  And, wish me lots of luck.

Thanks for your input.
#14 - August 26, 2010, 05:09 PM

kangaroobee

Guest
So glad i came across this post, I have been writing pbs for a while but this week dusted off an old MG novel. The pov was a right mess and I have decided to write it from another pov.  I find it SO hard to stay in one pov, so I will do it third person but I am going to see how everyone else manages to talk about other scenes that the protag can't possibly see. I read an MG and analysed it for pov and it was very interesting. The odd chapter started off with another pov but near the end brought the protag in. Another chapter was yet another pov but the setting was very different from usual so it seemed to lend itself to swapping pov. I plan to get a whole bunch of MG books out of the library and see how the published ones do it.
Good luck
Catherine
#15 - September 21, 2010, 08:59 AM

JackRussellTerrier

Guest
I was taking this great class at The Writer's Center in Bethsda, MD and everyone agreed that I should try writing my book in the first person.  I did this (first person, present tense) and it made a huge difference - it really slotted into place and solved a lot of pov and dialogue issues.  Everyone, again, was unanimous that this was the way to go for my book

The whole first person experience led to a discussion about pov.  The instructor encouraged us to re-write chapters from different povs and just shake things up that way, even if we don't keep that pov.  She pointed out, quite rightly, how much we learn from doing -  this about our characters, their attitudes, how the plot develops etc.
#16 - September 21, 2010, 02:40 PM

kangaroobee

Guest
That's a really good idea JackRussellTerrier. I am not pursuing my mg any more, because I had some advice from an agent yesterday saying the pov can't be from an adult's perspective, the kids don't care for their problems, and I so get that.  I've already written the whole thing from one of the pupils perspectives and it got messy. I'm going to stick with picture books for now, good luck everyone.
#17 - September 24, 2010, 10:07 AM

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.