Topic: POV character's "view" of others

I have a POV character named Joseph who is together with his mother, Mary, who is the royal regent of the planet New Bethlehem. Normally, Joseph thinks of her primarily as his mother, not Mary or regent. However, in the middle of an attempted coup, Joseph's mother is very active in the scene (she gives orders, acts, reacts, etc.). I can't keep calling her "Joseph's mother" as it becomes very repetitive in the scene, even within individual paragraphs. Is there any reason I should avoid calling her Mary or regent as well, thereby reducing the repetitiveness? I find this issue comes up frequently, and I'm often told to choose one way that the POV character thinks about someone and stick with it.

I'm curious how others handle this in their own writing.

Thanks.

Re: POV character's "view" of others

Thanks, Ann.

Below is a representative sample. FYI, Rosary is a robot maid, but is considered a "she" rather than an "it" by Joseph. Moses is the palace AI system. This is all from Joseph's POV.

Miss Rosary appeared in the doorway and addressed Joseph's mother. “May I be of assistance, Your Majesty?”
Joseph’s mother waved impatiently and said, “Rosary, get in here! Keep out of the way.”
Rosary did as instructed. As she cleared the room’s entrance, Joseph’s mother spoke into the air. “Moses, secure the doorway!”

As you can see that's a lot of "Joseph's mother", sometimes 2-3 per paragraph where there are three females about, so using she or her doesn't always work. The scene moves so fast, there is no real way for Joseph to transition from his mother to regent and back. I tried to use the words "Joseph's mother" and regent to serve as the transitions themselves, but I can't get it consistent.

Here's another:

Joseph's mother nodded. “Then may God be with all of you, Alicia.” She hesitated, then spoke into the air again. “All right, Moses, close it up.”

The reference to Joseph's mother as "she" in the third sentence is probably technically correct, but in my opinion causes confusion between Alicia and Joseph's mother.

The alternative is:

Joseph's mother nodded. “Then may God be with all of you, Alicia.” Joseph's mother hesitated, then spoke into the air again. “All right, Moses, close it up.”

Too repetitive?

Re: POV character's "view" of others

Norm d'Plume wrote:

Thanks, Ann.

Below is a representative sample. FYI, Rosary is a robot maid, but is considered a "she" rather than an "it" by Joseph. Moses is the palace AI system. This is all from Joseph's POV.

Miss Rosary appeared in the doorway and addressed Joseph's mother. “May I be of assistance, Your Majesty?”
Joseph’s mother waved impatiently and said, “Rosary, get in here! Keep out of the way.”
Rosary did as instructed. As she cleared the room’s entrance, Joseph’s mother spoke into the air. “Moses, secure the doorway!”

As you can see that's a lot of "Joseph's mother", sometimes 2-3 per paragraph where there are three females about, so using she or her doesn't always work. The scene moves so fast, there is no real way for Joseph to transition from his mother to regent and back. I tried to use the words "Joseph's mother" and regent to serve as the transitions themselves, but I can't get it consistent.


Too repetitive?

Your mistake was to have ever consistently called Joseph's mother Joseph's mother in Joseph's POV. I never would have in thought referred to my mother as Charles' mother.  That is absurd.  If you had already established with reader that Joseph thinks of his mother in thought in some appellation(s) as "Mom" or "Mary" or "Divine Lady who gave birth to me" shortened to "Lady" or "that bitch who spawned me" shortened to "that bitch" or "Bitch" or anything which he would uniquely call her, you would have another option than "she/her."

Re: POV character's "view" of others

Thanks, Ann. Your examples are great. I'll play with it some more to see how best to apply them.

Charles, I think you're referring to deep POV. I looked at writing the story that way, but wasn't comfortable with it. I found it too limiting, perhaps because I'm not familiar with it.

Re: POV character's "view" of others

Norm d'Plume wrote:

Thanks, Ann. Your examples are great. I'll play with it some more to see how best to apply them.

Charles, I think you're referring to deep POV. I looked at writing the story that way, but wasn't comfortable with it. I found it too limiting, perhaps because I'm not familiar with it.

For one, I don't see Ann's solution as a solution; she is just writing around  the problem within a particular scene, and real Deep POV, not just so many italicized thoughts here and there, corrects the severe limitations of 3rd limited, and especially multiple 3rd limited you attempt, because the reader is genuinely believing the alternative to Joseph's mother  which is in reality merely omniscient 3rd posing as limited 3rd, is actually coming from Joseph's POV.

Re: POV character's "view" of others

Ann provided some creative examples that reduce the repetiveness of my examples. Those are handy, regardless of how deep the POV. I'm trying to apply some of the basic principles of deep POV as I write (fewer saw, heard, felt, thought, etc.). But, it has its own rules to follow and is not something you can perfect overnight.

Re: POV character's "view" of others

So, is  this the finished edit (containing two, instead of four, Joseph's mother) by eliminating an unnecessary reference to Alicia?

Miss Rosary appeared in the doorway and addressed Joseph's mother. “May I be of assistance, Your Majesty?”
“Rosary, get in here! Keep out of the way.”
As she cleared the room’s entrance, Joseph’s mother spoke into the air. “Moses, secure the doorway!” She nodded. “Then may God be with all of you." She hesitated, then spoke into the air again. “All right, Moses, close it up.”

The fix is to drop a Joseph's mother dialogue tag at the risk of reader confusion on whether it is indeed she who responds on the next line in the context that she is  the only human being in the room and that Moses another AI would not say that. And to drop Alicia from specific benediction, if you intended that.

My original suggestion was not a re-write into Deep POV but only to have given Joseph's mother another appellation by Joseph himself rather than having to be stuck with Joseph's mother in sections that are supposed to be in 3rd limited Joseph. A limited sort of Deep POV, in which Joseph has given his mother a unique moniker, can have been a temporary shift into Deep POV but does have the drawback that readers who skim or have poor memory will be lost.

8 (edited by Charles_F_Bell 2016-12-11 21:32:55)

Re: POV character's "view" of others

I know I am writing off into the weeds regarding your specific question, but POV is actually a more complicated topic than anyone on TNBW wishes to address. It is not a way to eliminate dialog tags, for example. That is just a byproduct of the process. Googling the topic of Deep POV gives far more wrong advice than good. One good from Autocrit is here:

https://www.autocrit.com/editing/librar … t-of-view/

and you will see by every good example that action and moving the plot along is not compatible with Deep POV if chosen for the duration of the story. I am supposing that is why we see it here on TNBW in the atrocious:

Jill hit Jack with her ice-cream cone. But I like chocolate!

This is not Deep POV.

Re: POV character's "view" of others

Even better reference for Deep POV
https://annlaurelkopchik.com/category/deep-pov/

So what the heck is Deep POV? It’s a form of limited third person POV where the narrator takes on the voice of the character and where the reader is deeply immersed in the characters thoughts and feelings. The reader is riding so close to the character, they might be in his or her skin.

Deep POV does not mean that the character bounces between third person limited and first person italicized thought. It does not mean that every single thought and emotion must be voiced. And Deep POV is not achieved by simply replacing “I”  and “my” in a first person narration with “he/she” and “his/hers.”

So the next question is why can’t you just write a first person scene and replace all the pronouns? First person is, after all, a very immersive POV…

Because a first person narrator/character knows that they’re telling a story to the reader. When you’re deep in limited third person, that character/narrator is unaware they are telling a story. The reader is reading the unfiltered thoughts, emotions, and feelings of that character.