Author Topic: Scenes with non-POV characters  (Read 439 times)  

Offline Sheridan_West

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Scenes with non-POV characters
« on: October 23, 2020, 02:05:11 pm »
I have two POV characters in my psychological drama / crime mystery novel.
How can I handle the scenes where none of the main characters are present? These scenes are important in terms of information and also to let important side characters have their say.

Can it be written as a "camera POV" i.e. simply describing what's happening without getting in any of the character's head?


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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #1 on: October 23, 2020, 03:31:09 pm »
    Sure. Thats called Third Person Omniscient.
             

    Offline NikOK

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #2 on: October 23, 2020, 03:32:43 pm »
    Hmm, that's an interesting one.  A lot of it might depend on how long you want to spend with character 1, character 2, and the side characters.  It might be awkward if the majority of the book was the main characters and there were two or three side character chapters in there that break things up.  If there was a flow of chapters with the side character perspectives throughout the book, it might work.  But, I don't know.  To me the idea of a camera pov sounds like the kind of thing that could be amazing, but would be really hard to pull off.  There are a few options I can think of though...

    --You could use the main two characters pov and tell the story through it.  First person is great for having things happen "off camera."  The side characters could have things going on and the main characters have to rush and catch up later.  And when you learn about what the side characters have been doing, it can add a ticking clock because them not knowing that side characters are working other angles can add more stress.

    --Or maybe develop some of the side characters so that they can hold regular chapters on their own.  As long as there is a good flow to it, having 3-4 character perspectives can work great.  Having one or two main side characters could give you the view of the whole group.

    --It would be highly stylized, but you could also create a mystery character.  Like, someone who is spying on the group of side characters or keeping tabs on them or something.  It could be like a camera perspective, but as a P.I. type character who is just describing everyone else and not themselves.  This would give those chapters a character to go off of and make them fit more with the main character perspective chapters.  It could even be someone in the group of side characters who is observing them and trying to play a different game.

    --Or the camera pov could really work.  I guess I'm just having trouble wrapping my head around it, but it can always be great, if it's great  :D

    Personally, I haven't done exactly what you are talking about, so it's all hard to know for sure.  Probably the closest was a book with one perspective, but multiple epilogue pov's to show what the side characters thought about what happened and the future.  I liked how that idea turned out in the end, but it sounds like you want something that's more present throughout the book.

    All in all, this has been a fun question to think about  :D  I hope you find the perfect idea and the book comes out awesome.  Not sure if these ideas help much, but sometimes rolling around a bunch of things to find one that works, well, it works.

    Offline jm2019

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #3 on: October 23, 2020, 04:29:39 pm »
    My books have several non-POV "narrator" chapters. It's pretty much exactly as you described. It's like a camera POV, and I usually avoid omniscient narration (i.e., it's behind some character or scene and describing but doesn't jump geographies or time, and doesn't look at multiple characters in the scene)

    I have two POV characters in my psychological drama / crime mystery novel.
    How can I handle the scenes where none of the main characters are present? These scenes are important in terms of information and also to let important side characters have their say.

    Can it be written as a "camera POV" i.e. simply describing what's happening without getting in any of the character's head?

    Offline boxer44

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #4 on: October 23, 2020, 04:38:58 pm »
    Sure. Thats called Third Person Omniscient.

    When you eliminate everything else, the simplest answer is the correct answer.   :D :D :D

    Offline J. Tanner

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #5 on: October 23, 2020, 06:16:24 pm »
    Sure. Thats called Third Person Omniscient.

    True (and adding, not arguing), but Third-Person Objective is a little more precise.

    Omniscient typically dips into multiple character's thoughts, or the narrator's knowledge unknown to the characters--history lessons, asides, and so on. Objective is just the scene from a fly on the wall perspective. Objective is super-rare because it removes what's special about the novel experience, but it has its uses here and there, and this case might be one of them.
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    Offline Mip7

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #6 on: October 23, 2020, 06:36:42 pm »
    All my books are written from multiple third person POVs. The main characters are simply the ones you encounter most frequently. I will never write any other way because it gives you such artistic possibilities in the prose, and you can build suspense around a single event from different POVs. I often write death scenes from the victim's POV (I usually end it with something like: the last thing Stan ever saw was his motorcycle continuing down the highway without him).

    In my last book an entire section was written from an animal's point of view for a pretty important scene. Doing the same for my WIP (book 2 in the series) and plan to keep that up as the series extends -- one important scene in each book from an animal's POV.
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    Offline Sheri LHP

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #7 on: October 23, 2020, 11:50:56 pm »
    Many romance authors write multiple characters with 1st person POV, past or present. For example, in reverse harem. An author who can write four or five 1st person POV with different voices for each character is impressive. Occasionally it will be a character from a previous book in a series where she or he was a main character with one of the main POV. Sometimes it is a side character who has at least a couple of chapters throughout the book. As long as each change in view is clearly labeled, it isn't difficult to follow.
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    Offline Sheridan_West

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #8 on: October 24, 2020, 10:50:03 am »
    The narrative is 3rd person, non-omniscient, and alternating chapters with two main characters POV.
    One of subplots is a crime a suspect of which is a person MCs care about and I want to add the scene of interrogation in prison. My idea is that the investigator shares this scene with one of MCs in informal way, but it's shown as a flashback rather than investigator's direct speech.


    Sheridan West

    Offline Clay

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #9 on: October 24, 2020, 11:24:52 am »
    I have two POV characters in my psychological drama / crime mystery novel.
    How can I handle the scenes where none of the main characters are present? These scenes are important in terms of information and also to let important side characters have their say.

    Can it be written as a "camera POV" i.e. simply describing what's happening without getting in any of the character's head?

    Yes, as others have pointed out, that's called third person objective.

    But why don't you want to get into the other characters heads? Unless they have information that you don't want divulged then there is nothing wrong with giving POV chapters to side characters. At the end of the day this is a stylistic choice, either option is fine depending on what kind of story you wish to tell.

    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    Re: Scenes with non-POV characters
    « Reply #10 on: October 24, 2020, 11:25:31 am »
    I primarily write in first person from my main character's POV.

    But I also have chapters from other characters' points of view, usually the antagonist's. I never write 3rd person omniscient, where the reader knows what everyone is thinking. The third person chapters are always from one character's POV or another. I get confused reading third person omniscient, hopping from one character's head to the next. So, I break those into separate chapters when I write.

    As a reader, I like knowing something the main character doesn't, having read the previous chapter from the antagonist's POV. It's like when you're in the movie theater and you know the girl shouldn't open the door, because you saw the guy with the axe hid in there in an earlier scene. "Don't go in there!"

    As a writer, I look for those moments, where I can give the reader some insight that my protagonist isn't aware of.
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