Just finishing my first draft of OFF THE GRID (just a few chapters from the finish line) when I started thinking about changing POV. OTG is written in third person, but I'm wondering if I might change the main character's POV to first person, leaving all the other talking heads in third person. It feels like I'm changing direction mid stream, but I may still risk it. Anyone out there end up doing this without too too much pain? How did it work for you?

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I think going 3rd to 1st is more difficult than 1st to 3rd. It would require you to rewrite almost everything else, since the narrator can no longer be omnipresent. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't. It'd just be more work.

Thanks, Ben. At this point I feel it might wise to continue down the path I've already written. Going back will be very difficult. Maybe next time.
Thanks for the comments. When I finish the first draft, I think I will stick in a drawer for awhile and (as Stephen King wrote) "let the boys in the basement" work on it for awhile.

It sounds problematic.  The protagonist presumably speaks most throughout the book.  I've seen the opposite done: most of the book 3rd p. and only a few short chapters in 1st (by the killer, for example).


As to how you work your drafts: for me it would be a disaster.  Any book that close to the finish would have been through many drafts already, since I revise as a go, except for the final revisions.


If it bothers you, try rewriting just one chapter to see how it feels.

Thanks, I.J. My method is a little different. The first draft is down and dirty, with hardly any revision or editing. The following drafts are where I edit, clean up, and layer the novel. But still, I can see where changing the POV process at this point--no matter how crude and ugly the first draft might be--would be a monumental and difficult task.

Mark, I think it might not be too painful for you, if you're sure that's what you want to do.  I don't think I'd like reading main character in 1st and the others in 3rd person close even, but that's just me.  Others might not mind at all.  Why are you thinking about making this switch?

Mary: 1st person often allows the reader to readily relate to that character, where the 3rd person is more distant, more removed. It is easier and quicker to create that link between character and reader.


I agree, Mark, that 1st person invites us to relate to characters (I'm finishing reading The Lock Artist, which is in 1st person), and I will never forget the protagonist.  So in most cases, I'd agree that 1st person achieved that goal. 


Yet 3rd person close/subjective can get you close to not just one character but to all of them, which is the reason I was asking.  So my question, which I should have worded more explicitly in my previous post, is: Are you trying to tell OTG from one main character's POV?  And . . . do you want us to follow the story all the way through the novel from that character's POV?  If so, I'd say, yeah, go with 1st, but if not, I'd use 3rd close/subjective.



I find first person more difficult to write. You spend so much time avoiding the 'I' trap.  What I do when I find I need to change POV is to write two or more versions of a section in the different POV and then see how it turns out. Sometimes you can tell instinctively what POV is needed.



Jennifer: Trying out 1st versus 3rd on a small section of the novel first sounds like a good approach. Less painful. Thanks.

I'm bias so take my advice with a grain of salt. I HATE first person with a passion so of course I'm gonna say stay in third. LOL!  I agree with Dan. If it ain't broke don't fix it. I live by that motto. Sometimes we mess things up by changing when we really don't need to.

I will second what Mary said. I wouldn't wanna read a book that's switching like that with the main character and the others. If you wanna do it in third or first, doesn't matter but just stick to one POV throughout the book. I think switching gets too confusing.  But if you really wanna be able to get into other characters' heads you need to stay in third. You can do more in third than in first. In first you're gonna be in that one person's head in every scene and it might not be what is needed. But whatever you decide, don't switch within the book. Just pick one and stick to it.


I also don't feel third person is more distant. It's how you write it and execute. Millions of books are in third person and it's very easy to relate to third person characters. In the first POV you're in the person's head but you can be in their head the same way with third.


Do what you feel is right for you but take some time and think on it.


Best Wishes!



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