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Writing Tip – POV Switching

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An interesting article on switching between first and third person in the same work of fiction. If you open the original you will find, in the comments, my note about an author who used several first person characters in thee same novel. As a test of your knowledge of Irish literature, try guessing the book and author before you look!

Eric Lahti

The first book I read that switched between 1st person and 3rd person point of view was Charles Stross’s The Rhesus Chart. At first it was the normal 1st person POV I’d come to expect from Stross, but then there were little bits of 3rd person POV that popped up. It threw me for a moment because it was unexpected, but the POV change was handled skillfully enough that it added a dimension to the narrative rather than pulling me out of the story. In a way, it was more like the chorus in Greek tragedies – those folks that told what was happening when the action on the stage wasn’t happening.

I don’t know if this is a new thing – this hopping between the depth of focus that comes from 1st person narrative to the breadth of knowledge that comes from 3rd person – but it seems to be…

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