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3

Confusion arises when readers can not orient themselves in the story. While complex storylines, lots of characters or multiple parallel events can lead to disorientation, they are not the source of it. What you need are anchor points so the reader is never lost. The more rapid your pace or scene switching, the stronger they need to be. Cyn is right that ...


3

Index event(s), things that either happen to everyone or that everyone is expecting to happen will help keep the timing of the various POVs synced up. Examples of things that happen include loud noises, physical motions of the setting such as a house shuddering or a ship turning, or completely non-physical event that makes the characters collectively react ...


6

This rapid scene-switching works in film because you can establish exactly where you are and who you are with in an instant, with a framing shot or something else that recalls one. In a novel, you either have to re-describe the setting or you need shortcuts for recalling it. Lauren Ipsum's example of starting each short scene with the primary character's ...


31

You could try using a common element outside of any of the scenes themselves to establish a common reference point in time. For example describe Alice and Bob having a heated marriage argument but being forced to resume their happy facade by the dinner gong calling everyone together. Charlie and Danielle are describing their plans to murder the Countess ...


18

If your goal is hectic momentum, then two-sentence paragraphs with a visual indicator of "scene change" might work. Colonel Mustard frantically wiped up the table. No one would believe he hadn't done it. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Miss Scarlett straightened her dress, patted her hair, and checked her makeup in her compact. She had to look impeccable or the detective ...


5

There are no hard and fast rules about POV. There are different techniques that you can choose in order to produce the effect you want. Some of the techniques are harder to carry out than others. What generally goes wrong with unskillful handling of POV shifts is that shift is either jarring or confusing to the reader, which breaks the "reader's trance" and ...


3

The traditional way of doing things would be to have one POV per chapter, or, if you must switch within a chapter, to divide them with a section break. But, as a general rule, less "head hopping" makes for stronger writing. Multiple POV changes are hugely popular with newer writers, but you don't see it so often in successful published works. It's a very ...


2

I think it is fine to shift, but I think you need a marker of some sort to ensure the reader is aware of whose POV they are in. This could be done in prose, but it might be easier to just use the scene separator within the chapter, usually three dashes centered on a line, to signal to the reader something is changing. Normally this is a time skip within the ...


18

There are two questions hiding in your question, 1. Can the POV character not be the character who's most active? Consider Sherlock Holmes as an example. Watson is the POV character, the story is told in first person by Watson, it's Watson's opinions and emotions we share. But Watson is passive. It's Holmes who is active, it's Holmes who is interesting, it'...


8

Break the chapter into three scenes. Each scene has a POV character. First and last scenes have one POV character. Middle scene has the other POV character. Since the scenes in the chapter will differ only in time, make it clear on the scene transitions that the POV has changed. For example, scene two starts with the clearly identified POV character of the ...


0

There are two styles that come to mind: the Epistolary Novel is the first example, in which the narrator is a character in the story who serves only to tell the story with limited knowledge to the actual hero of the tale and the character in the context of the story is more of an observer reporting after the fact. Perhaps the most famous work in this style ...


1

Your narrator can be a character in the book --for instance, Nick, in The Great Gatsby. In that case, he or she can simply interact with other characters as any other character would do. Your narrator can also be the disembodied voice of the author. If the narrator interacts with the characters in that second case, you are writing experimental metafiction. ...


5

The biggest difficulty with this idea is that from the moment the narrator calls a character me/I/myself, the reader will see the character and the narrator as the same person, and they won't stop seeing it that way unless you start a new chapter that refers to a different character in the first person (and are very careful to do this without making the ...


3

I'm in agreement with Amadeus here. It's just not a technique that is going to work. I'm trying to think of an exception, and I can't. Already you're messing with things by having the 1st person narration know what's in Jason's head. Since the main character is telling this part of the story, s/he shouldn't know what Jason is thinking of and it makes ...


1

Plot twists are actually easier to pull off in first person, because the first person perspective shapes what the audience sees. There's a famous plot twist at the end of The Sixth Sense, and the clues are all present throughout the movie, but the audience doesn't pick up on it, because we see the entire movie from the perspective of the protagonist. Make ...


5

Is she supposed to be aware of everything happening around her and to her if I'm writing in the first person? Yes. But she can be aware and not understand. She can see and describe things she doesn't understand, but perhaps the reader does. Likewise, she may be involved in conversations, or overhear conversations, that only in retrospect make sense to her....


3

I can think of a TV example where the timelines are not synchronous and it was a big part of the surprise at the end of S1. On Westworld, you have human-identical androids (called "hosts") who are not sentient. The androids' attempts to become sentient is part of the season's arc. One host, Dolores, spends a lot of time with one thirtysomething human (...


4

Here's an example of multiple timelines done in a way I found not just confusing, but random and unnecessary. Chronological can mean in order by date and time, or it can mean that the different POVs line up with each other (even if each story is moving forward). My example is more of the former but also contains the latter. A Place for Us by Fatima ...


14

It is not necessary to run different character arcs chronologically synchronized. However, it is important not to create a false impression that these arcs are synchronized. For example in "A Song of Ice and Fire" (which I refer to quite often) first 3 books George Martin tried to run all chapters chronologically. Next book was split into two ("A Feast for ...


8

I believe the importance of chronological POVs is directly related to the tension of the story. My first attempt at a thriller required me to have everything in strict chronological order because there were three different characters/heroes (and POVs) working on three different levels of the story. The success of the heroes as a whole depended on each ...


2

Similar to Amadeus, I think the goal isn't to balance the protagonists' "on-screen" time but to take care of the dramatic pacing, character arcs, and somewhat less tangibly the lingering effect on the theme. You might signal to the reader the 1st protagonist's arc is "on hold" where they are in a situation that is stable but unsatisfying. They compromise ...


4

I don't think it is too important. I read a story (can't remember the name) in which two POVs were presented, one from like a century ago, and one in the future! The early POV was an ancestor of the later POV, and his descendant was unraveling a mystery about his ancestor, while the early POV was actually about the circumstances that led to this mystery, ...


4

A crucial question: does the psychiatrist contribute anything to the story, or is he mainly the setting, the excuse as it where, for your protagonist to tell the story? If the psychiatrist makes no meaningful contribution, you can have considerable chunks of your story in first-person narration, no interruptions by the psychiatrist. Let the readers all but ...


5

If you're writing from the patient's POV, it's probably easier. You can show the patient's unfiltered reactions and thoughts to the doctor's questions before writing the patient's answer. "So, when was the first time that happened?" "A month ago," he said automatically. The doctor made a note and he frowned, the confidence of a moment waning. ...


7

That's tough, it sounds like a hundred page wall of dialogue to me. To eliminate most of it, I'd resort to flashback. Flashbacks are not that popular anymore; but they would be better than an endless wall of dialogue or thoughts. For flashback, write the recollection as a story, with a neutral narrator, third person omniscient limited, focused on the ...


0

Be consistent. It can be a narrative technique where the main character is first person and the others are third person. This is useful for if you want to hide things from the reader. The main character will have their flawed perception, and the third person view can be used to explain how characters in the other parts of the story are progressing. It can ...


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