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I am writing a book about lions and other African predators. The main focus in the one I am working on is lions, but I do quite often refer to 2 big cats that aren't lions. Those are cheetahs and leopards. I'm worried about the reader confusing these big cats with each other.

When Duma (who is a cheetah) gets scared by a leopard, Anapumua Moto (my main lion character) tells him that it is one of his friends, I want the reader to know that Bella (Anapumua Moto's leopard friend if you haven't guessed) is climbing down as Anapumua Moto is telling Duma not to worry about the leopard. How should I go about telling this story while keeping the points of view clear?

Here is the part that refers to the leopard:

He followed Duma towards a nomadic lioness.

Duma said "Look out! A Leopard!"

Anapumua Moto said "Oh, it's Bella, one of my friends."

Bella asked "Why are you following Duma? Aren't you supposed to be roaring and listening for lionesses?"

Anapumua Moto said "Duma knows of a friendly nomadic lioness. He met her when he was a cub. So I have been following him to this lioness. He will even hunt for me if I get hungry."

Bella said "He will get tired so easily. Why don't you let me hunt for you? I am after all the princess of stealth."

Anapumua Moto said "Okay. So Duma will navigate me, you will hunt for me, and then when I find her I will know whether she will be friendly to me or not."

Bella said "Exactly."

So Bella and Anapumua Moto traveled side by side.

  • General critiques are closed on sight here, but I think you're asking how you can keep the different characters/points of view distinct and clear. I've edited your question lightly to make this more obvious, but feel free to please make any further edits you feel are needed or correct anything I've gotten wrong. – Neil Fein Oct 3 '15 at 18:13
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You don't really have any clear points of view in that excerpt, probably because it's almost all dialogue. Point of view mostly comes out in narration.

But, in general, you can write in omniscient third, in which you can see everything and tell the reader anything you want, often with a clear external narrator telling the story, or you can chose to follow one of the characters, either in first or close third (or, rarely, second) person POV. But just because you're following one of the characters at one point of the story doesn't mean you can't follow a different character at different points.

So, for examples, I need to add some narration, which probably won't match the characterization you had in mind, but hopefully it will be enough for you to get the idea.

For omniscient third, I'd say you're more or less already there. For omniscient with a clear external narrator, try something like:

Duma, cowardly as always, said, "Look out! A leopard!"

But for every coward there must be a hero, and in this story, that hero is Anapumua Moto. "Oh, it's Bella. One of my friends." Perhaps you will think it is not brave to have a friend, but perhaps that is because you have never faced a leopard yourself.

For first person, pick whichever of the characters is the biggest part of the story and tell the story as if you are that character:

I followed Duma toward a nomadic lioness. She was beautiful, tawny warmth in the sunlight, and I was just about to roar a greeting to her when Duma stopped walking so suddenly I almost ran into his furry butt.

"Look out," Duma hissed. "A leopard!"

I took one look and then my back hair relaxed. "That's Bella. She's one of my friends."

Close third person is really almost like first, but with different pronouns.

Anapumua Moto followed Duma toward a nomadic lioness. She was beautiful, tawny warmth in the sunlight, and Anapumua Moto was just about to roar a greeting to her when Duma stopped walking so suddenly the young lion almost ran into his furry butt.

"Look out," Duma hissed. "A leopard!"

Anapumua Moto took one look and then his back hair relaxed. "That's Bella. She's one of my friends."

But then in a different scene you could write from Duma's POV, or anyone else's, as long as you make it clear you've switched.

Is this what you were asking about?

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