Old 01-19-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
rwsteward is offline
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Changing POV


Kicking around a story in my head. I want this to be told in first person point of view. Now, I know I can change that prospective at scene changes. But that's not exactly what I want to do.

I know in first person POV, I can't see or hear what is happening someplace I'm not.

So, let's say the narrator is sitting at a bar and taking to the bartender, ten years ago. How does the narrator explain the conversation later on to a girl friend he just met? Would it be nothing more than 'I said this and she said that?' How would you show the dialogue between two people if one of them is dead/gone/whatever when telling a story in first person POV?

Got everyone confused? I am.

I read Stephen King's "The Green Mile" and the narrator is telling the story to his girlfriend in the present, but the action and dialogue (even dialogue that he wasn't able to hear) is in the past. The narrator pulls in and out of the story by drifting into the present. Typical King stuff.

I'm up for suggestions...
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:29 PM   #2
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I think it would depend on the level of recounting you wanted to do.

Think about how you relate past anecdotes to your friends in real life. Do you sit there giving a line-by-line account? Probably not. You give the loose details and call it a day. So have your narrator just give the gist of it and go from there.

If you need more than that, one thing you might be able to do to help differentiate is have the narrator "tell" his side of the conversation but "show" the bartender's. As an example:
Sally: So then what did he say?
Bob: Well, he said something like, "I've been debating whether to tell you this for a long time, but it's time to come clean. I... Am your mother."
Sally: Oh my god.
Bob: Yeah, seriously. As you can imagine, I didn't believe him, but he said, 'No son, it's true. Many years ago, your father and I came together for one night of passion. I thought we used precautions, but I was surprised to find out a month later that I was pregnant. Not least because I, like you, am a man.'
Sally: ...That doesn't make sense.
Bob: I asked him why he wasn't famous the world over, and he said, 'Well, we didn't want to cause a ruckus. All them scientists who think they know how the world works... They don't like hearing that maybe they don't understand all of it yet.'
Sally: You're making shit up.
Bob: Wh-- Honey, no! I'm not!
CWatson: (from atop white steed) No, but I am!!
Sally: Oh, CWatson! You're so sexy! Sorry, Bob, but I'm leaving you for him!
Bob: ...What the fuck?
I dunno. I am making this shit up--to my knowledge, this is not an established technique. But I can't see why it wouldn't work. *shrug*
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:50 PM   #3
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I think it does depend on the context. One way would be have the speaker start into describing the discussion to the listener and then break away for a sectionalized dialogue from the time and sectionalize to come back. It's how flashbacks are often treated. But it depends on the specific context on what would work best.
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