Final Thoughts on Prophecy before NaNoWriMo kicks off

I finally uploaded a synopsis for my novel ‘Prophecy’ for NaNoWriMo. The name ‘Prophecy’ is a working title, and I’ll come up with a better one later.

You can read the synopsis either on my blog page, or in my NaNoWriMo profile:

Blog Page

NaNoWriMo profile

Apart from my synopsis, I really don’t have too much else yet. I have a few scenes in my head which may not even make it into the story eventually. I also haven’t worked out the ‘turning points’ yet, like I mentioned on a previous post, apart from the Inciting Incident, which obviously is the moment when they hear about the prophecy.

Before deciding on the turning points however, I need to establish the different personalities of Davos and Corban, the two protagonists of the stories. How would they each handle the situation individually? And how will that impact their relationship with each other? The answer to these questions will in the end determine how the plot will develop. And of course, I will need to come up with additional obstacles and dilemmas to throw their way to make things even more complicated for them.

One question I also need to answer for myself: what point of view am I going to use? Most of my writings recently have been in the first person narrative, and that was my initial plan, but it seems like a poor fit for this novel. A third person narrative with dual protagonists seems like the most logical choice, as the two protagonists are  equally important, and I might decide to roll with that in the end.

But lately I am intrigued by the omniscient narrator’s point of view. For some reason, this viewpoint seems to be out of fashion in modern storytelling, and if you read books on writing, they often urge you to stick with one POV character per scene. You see this in books by more recent (fantasy and SF) writers like George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan and Neal Stephenson among others. They tend to stick with one character in their scenes, even though they might tell the story from the viewpoints of many different characters.

Yet this is not the case in such classics as Lord of the Rings, Dune or The Once and Future King (not to mention those classic 19th century writers like Charles Dickens or Jane Austen). Tolkien, Frank Herbert and T.H. White do not feel inclined to stick with one character simultaneously and it works wonderfully in all these cases. So I don’t really understand the insistence on sticking with one POV character at the same time. I might still decide that the dual third person narrative makes the most sense, but I’m going to experiment a little bit with the omniscient narrator to see how that works out.

So how about the rest of you? What point of view will you be writing in? Is it a conscious decision, or is did it just seem natural to you?

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2 Comments

Filed under NaNoWriMo, Prophecy

2 responses to “Final Thoughts on Prophecy before NaNoWriMo kicks off

  1. Ishana

    I nearly always stick with 3rd person semi-omniscient. I very much stick by the one PoV per scene rule, though I may switch to another character’s PoV in later scenes. Switching PoV characters mid-scene is called “head-hopping” and it is usually looked down upon unless you’re writing romance.

    You want the reader to get “in the skin” of one character, and you can do so very effectively by having the entire scene based off one character. Switching PoV characters at the drop of a hat can be rather jarring for a reader, thus bringing her out of the story and probably confusing her immensely.

    You can head hop successfully, though. I would suggest only doing it between two characters (such as your protagonists) and give them the same knowledge of the situation. If Davos and Corban are speaking to a third person, for example, but only Davos knows who this person is, it could easily seem to the reader that there are four people. As long as you’re careful and make sure the reader understands that you changed PoV, I don’t see much of a problem with it.

    PS: Am I confused or did you change your theme? If you did, I like it. If you didn’t, I still like it and sorry for being oblivious.

    • The omniscient POV can indeed be a bit tricky, but it’s something I like a lot personally. There is an important distinction compared to head-hopping though, and one I didn’t make very clear in my post I think. If you are telling a story through a specific character’s POV, then I agree switching suddenly is very confusing and should definitely be avoided. But having an omniscient narrator who is ‘looking’ at the different characters is something else entirely, and one that could work well, but also one you don’t come across too often anymore in modern fantasy.

      Yeah, I changed my theme. Although I liked my previous one, there were just too much white spac. Besides, it was too narrow, making it look a bit strange on a wider screen. Hopefully I will keep this one a little bit longer.

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