Hot answers tagged

9

The trick here is to bend the rules without breaking them. Including something that the PoV character doesn't know about is technically 'breaking the rules.' But when writing, you have to remember that reader experience trumps all. As long as it doesn't jar the flow, you can get away with something small. For this example, I would simply say what Boy says, ...


9

If the character knows the vital detail, and if the vital detail matters to the character, and you want us readers to be deeply inside the character's head, you have to give the detail. Otherwise, when you reveal the detail, we suddenly discover that we were never really deeply in the character's head after all. If we were, then we too would have known the ...


6

A different slant on things, but Ayn Rand's Anthem has a non-supernatural hive mind (collectivism gone mad, I guess) and she shows it by using collective pronouns even for individuals. So instead of "I" she uses "we", even when there's only one character involved. I hate the book, but the pronouns were interesting. You might also want to check out Ancillary ...


6

The very first story I ever wrote was written from the perspective of a collective mind. So, as they say on /b/, this question is very relevant to my interests. I would approach the concept of an intergalactic hive mind from the perspective of sociology, neuropsychology, and biology. A hive of bees can be considered as a single organism: only the queen can ...


5

Here's a thought: would the infected members of the population even be aware that there is a hive mind of which they are a part? Sure, they experience extreme empathy and are subconsciously driven to act in ways that benefit the whole, but perhaps there is an individual experience that is largely oblivious to the organizing structure in which it is embedded....


5

David Brin's Uplift series has the traeki/Jophur, which are physically connected hive minds of stacked rings. Each ring is nominally a separate entity; the distinction between traeki and Jophur is the presence of a so-called 'master ring', basically an overriding personality which controls the other parts of the hive mind. As the species is only one of the ...


5

I think it is possible to pull this kind of thing off. In this particular instance the intriguing idea of keeping their relationship secret for a while would obviously change what details, memories, etc. you can delve into during inactive periods, but if done right this could lend a strong hand to grabbing the reader's interest sometime in the middle or end ...


5

I don't see the length of each segment done in a particular character's point of view as the issue. I've seen excellent stories split into many short glimpses of the world through multiple characters' eyes, and I've seen stories equally excellent split into just two halves consisting of Character A's view of the story followed by a contrasting second half ...


4

(This might get good answers on WorldBuilding SE also.) I think you have to decide, from a storytelling viewpoint, how these people communicate. Does each individual have his/her own thoughts but others pop in and out like everyone is always in the same room and thinking out loud? Do you only hear the thoughts of people within X geographical distance? Or is ...


4

To me, it would make no difference to the emotional picture painted to have Girl hear Boy's words from behind her (thus keeping to her POV) but be too distracted to respond to them or think about them. Girl suppressed panic as she searched her handbag for her car keys. "Sure, great. Shall we get together here …" The keys, the keys. Oh, thank ...


4

I like to use a lot of dialogue. It draws the reader in. Narrative: Joel didn't like riding the school bus. He was the last one on in the morning, and the seats were always filled. Because he wasn't one of the popular kids, no one made an effort to make room for him. Invariably, the bus driver would yell for him to sit down and the other kids would laugh. ...


4

I like to write in past-tense very close 3rd person. It's almost like 1st person mentally, but the action is viewed as if from a camera. There are several ways to increase closeness: Repeatedly using them as a (or THE) POV character. Having two makes it closer than if you have 5 POV's. Strictly limiting what is perceived to that character, and not going ...


4

A few possibile viewpoints: An omniscient narrator who describes what the machine does and says. One of the nearby sentient beings, when any are available to observe the machine's important actions or communications. Reports from someone who pieces together the machine's communications and actions from available evidence after the fact.


4

Write it as data inputs and responses. INPUT: USER 1 enters room RESPOND Y/N? Y OUTPUT_$content: {greeting}; {Salutation: 'Good'} {TOD: 1415, 'afteroon'}; INPUT: USER 1 response {"Good afternoon yourself. Did you finish compiling that report?"} SEARCH_DB6b.46: report {SMITH, CHARLES: activities prior 72 hours}; LOCATED COMPLETE Y/N? N ET COMPLETION: 4.7 ...


4

Internal thoughts are usually expressed either by italics or by quotation marks. If you don't want to use any special formatting and you’re writing in third person, you can just tell the reader what your characters are thinking. You have to be extra careful to make it clear that these are the character's thoughts and not the narrator's voice forgetting his ...


3

I put some extra thought into it, Justin. Hope I can help: Does each character have their own compelling story? It is not enough simply for Robin to have a story outside of Batman. It seems to me that a third-person omniscient choice would be better at least for the Robin side of the story in this scenario. Is each character equivalently important? The ...


3

Two things: 1) Be aware of how you refer to your main character. The names make a huge difference. Use "he" and "she" as much as possible without causing confusion because the reader can imagine themselves as that more so than a name. Titles create the most distance (Officer, Detective), last names less so, and first names are the closest you can come to "...


3

How about: Girl left him standing there, knowing their relationship was tenuous. She had no choice; she had to get back to the hospital. What she didn't hear, but would've left her with a small sense of comfort, was "Uh yeah, I would love to."


3

(1) explaining the thoughts of a character other than the protagonist (2) depicting events from which the protagonist is absent (3) depicting the protagonist in non-conscious states (i.e., sleeping, dead… I guess) Those are just a few. You can think of it this way: could your protagonist narrate this prose to his- or herself in the third-person? (Maybe ...


3

If you're writing in 3rd limited, then you should only be sharing information that the POV character knows. I don't think there are any specific words to watch out for - it's more the content than the style. If there are parts of your story that absolutely MUST be shared that your POV character can't know about, you may want to look at what Rowling did in ...


3

So far as I can see, the extract you quote is having John as a viewpoint character, albeit only briefly. It is not currently hugely in fashion for writers to briefly dip into another character's head when apart from that the book has a format in which POV characters all have a significant fraction of the text to themselves. So, yes, in a sense you are ...


3

I like Kai's answer, one thing to add though is that you should make sure that you leave teasers throughout the book. Flashbacks to the two of them playing together or other clues, this is the main key to having a twist like this not feel like a cheat. When you can look back and see all the things you missed and go "of course, that's why". Think of the ...


3

This can be done in a number of ways, but it may affect the plot to your story depending on which you choose. 1. They don't know it's their brother This one is pretty straightforward. Either they are working freelance to save "someone", (perhaps they know it's royalty that they are rescuing, but have been told no more than that) and when it is revealed ...


3

(spoilers) I second the user who recommends reading Agatha Christie's novel, One of the finer points of the novel was the fact that the narrator spends much of the time dwelling on other characters in the story rather than himself, its almost as if he is a secondary character rather than the arch typical narrator who is almost always assumed to be the '...


3

You don't need to overthink this. Readers will accept whatever reality you present to them so long as it is consistent. Just create a set of rules for the robot's AI then write the character as you would for a human. For example: It can only use 100 basic words and key phrases. It will only process the world as raw data. It doesn't see colors or humans; ...


3

You've written the thoughts themselves very well. When I read those, I feel as if I'm in her head. What pops me out of the viewpoint are the places where you tell us that she's thinking: Her mind immediately flooded with panicked thoughts. She realized... These are not her thoughts in the moment. They are some narrator's commentary on what's ...


3

There's no one right answer. You have to write your story and let other people read it, and ask your readers if it feels too jarring. Maybe one POV per chapter is correct, or maybe your story requires a frequent POV shift. But there's no generic template or requirement.


2

Also check out And Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris. It's second-person, and it works. Where you seek an effective hive-mind, Ferris sought an effective Office — the collective murmurings of a bunch of coworkers. The use of second-person enables an omniscient narration — all of the events are well-known gossip, water-cooler talk — while still ...


2

It's called a "braided novel" or "braided narrative", because you have several points of view, or storylines, merging into a whole later on. For example, George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones books are like this.


2

Immediacy and Connection with the Protagonist. Because the audience is given the experience of being “inside” the protagonist’s head, there is a direct link between protagonist and the audience. Emotions don’t become filtered through the distance of a third person narrator, instead the emotions happen in the moment, as the protagonist feels them. As the ...



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