POV Question

Janny Wurts Chat Area: General Discussion: POV Question
   By seljo on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 06:25 pm: Edit Post

I love the stories... I'm re-reading them now. But one thing that I struggle with is the constantly changing POVs. Even within one paragraph we see what everyone is thinking; for me this makes a confusing read (was that Arithon that thought that or Lysear?). Some of this is that I've just come off of George R. R. Martin's and Stephen R. Donaldon's books -- both of whom strictly limit the POV (at least within a chapter). In my previous reading of this series I don't remember being as aware of this... anyway...

By example, I refer to Talith's journey to Ostermere. While Talith is on the fishing boat, it's generally from her POV; once Arithon joins his POV is included, once Arithon presents Talith to the King, Sethvir, etc., the POV jumps around including becoming truely omnisicent and describing the scene from totally outside (even delving into the Kings thoughts and motivations).

So the question is why did Janny choose to be truely omniscient with third person instead of keeping chapters/sections limited to a single POV? IMHO limiting POV, even when using Third Person, helps the reader to connect to the characters. Jumping around - I at least - get distanced from the characters even though I may have a broader view of the story... does that make sense?


   By motley on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 06:52 am: Edit Post

I have to respond that this is WHY I like Janny's writing so much - you really have to work at it. With Janny as soon as even a hint of single-minded judgement seems to be coming - another POV comes along to to shake that complacency.

It doesn't make me connect less with the characters, rather, it helps me to connect with more of them. I cannot bring myself to just hate Lysaer nor can I always trust that Arithon is not being manipulated by the mistwraith in some form, or overly conscientious because of his royal geas.

And one thing that is ALWAYS clear to me, is the characters deep intentions. Often I find in other writing, this can get a bit vague and inconsistant and I suspect single POV is the writers way of keeping it consistent.

The whole story is a character by itself...


   By skeoke on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 08:10 am: Edit Post

Kinda funny ~

I've been reading Donaldson and feel very limited by the single POV. I want to know what the other characters are thinking/feeling!

Is it a case of what you are used to? Is it a personality trait? What makes us prefer single/multiple POV? How can we learn to appreciate the other?


   By seljo on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 02:43 pm: Edit Post

The single POV (not to say that an entire book should be from one POV) I find to be the more powerful. Good authors do bring out non-POV characters' thoughts/opinions/reactions through observations of the POV character. Maybe I've grown as a reader that I recognize these things now that I didn't before (maybe I've become too jaded with the world that I now notice these things)? More likely it's just that I've recently read a lot of great stories that used the single POV and starting again with Wurts I found myself halting, re-reading paragraphs, etc. and not able to get into a groove -- I am more aware that I am "reading" a story instead of being "immersed" in the story.

However, to Skeoke's point -- there is plenty to appreciate about this style. The reader is aware of more of what's happening and is able to experience multiple reactions from varying POVs to the same incident. Also, the reader has a broader understanding of the story as a whole. The fly on the wall and in every head, as it was. The reader knows that King Eldir was feeling miffed about Arithon cutting him off on the docks because it was told from his POV -- not from Arithon or Taleth interpreting his reaction.

Anyway -- still love the story. I've been re-reading in order to get to Traitor's Knot; maybe by the time I'm done with all of them the next book will be out, too!


   By StarGazer72 on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 08:02 pm: Edit Post

I think that in many circles omniscient POV is out of favor and even frowned upon these days, although I'm not exactly sure why that is. When I was going through my undergraduate writing program, I know that it was so looked down on as to be essentially forbidden. Probably because it is so easy for it to become too weighty and hard to follow when it's used without subtlety or skill.
I'm of two minds about it, personally. I often prefer a single POV at least in separate sections or chapters, but omniscience can be used to very powerful effect if you know how to do it.
To be honest, I hadn't actually noticed it enough to classify Janny as an omniscient writer in my head, perhaps because she knows how to not hit her readers over the head with it! :-) IMHO, whatever she does is working, so she should just keep on with it!


   By motley on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 03:16 am: Edit Post

As a linguist.. I can't help wondering if the term 'pov' will evolve to identify the concept of 'point-of.view'. :-)

Or imho... for that matter.


   By Auna on Thursday, May 11, 2006 - 07:09 pm: Edit Post

In honesty, the reason I don't like/trust Davien right now is because we haven't gotten a glimpse into his head. We also don't have a clue on the Paravians - both are definite mysteries that serve to tantalize even more I think because we do get the views of everyone else. The contrast is very striking, and I for one really enjoy it, although I'm about ready to pummel Davien ;)


   By Hannah on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 12:09 am: Edit Post

I think getting into Davien's head would be a book in itself... or possibly an entire story arc!


   By Maddie on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 01:31 pm: Edit Post

I dunno what it is but I actually like Davien. I think he is just misunderstood like another certain man.

Spoiler Spoiler
He mentions to Arithon that the downfall of the high kings was his version of the Havans. Didn't Arithon kill at the Havens to try and stop a pending war? May be Davien thinks there was a flaw with the high king system and as he said it worked about as well as Arithon's did. I don't think Davien agrees with the others that the Clans can only be high kings (I could be wrong about clans being high kings anyway)

Anyhow I like him he's a little devious and I really don't think he is a threat to Arithon as why keep him alive. Puting my neck on the line here, I don't think Arithon will become a king of any sort either, who would accept him?


   By Technetus on Monday, May 15, 2006 - 12:46 pm: Edit Post

Rathain's clans would, though he'd probably have to converse with each one personally after answering Jeynsa's challenge over his involvement with necromancy at Etarra. The lad does have a way of winning people over, given the chance.

Paravian acceptance, as well as that of the Fellowship, also seems a foregone conclusion to me. Even Davien's own words while Arithon was out cold in the Maze's Chamber of Midway: "In truth, you are Teir's'Ffalenn, _a spirit worthy of crowning_." (emphasis mine)

Also, Eldir was able to get -- and keep -- Havish back under crown rule while still in his teens, and he doesn't exactly have Arithon's penchant for convoluted strategy, does he? :-)

There is one thing that nags at me, though, now that you raise that point. "Embracing kingship" (as per the Black Rose Prophecy) is not necessarily the same as being crowned...


   By seljo on Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - 02:40 pm: Edit Post

Back on the topic of Point of View. I was reading through the Writer's FAQ and found this Q&A where Janny explained her views on POV:


quote:

Q: Can you give any writing advice on point of view?

A: My 2C worth - point of view is not a hard and fast "rule" as some people claim BUT - it is a tricky, slippery skill to master....scenes written in 3rd person CAN change POV - but - it takes skill and experience to know how to handle this. Therefore, starting writers are best to keep some firm boundaries UNTIL those skills are firmly in line. The easiest way NOT to goof is start in the first person....you can't mess up, having one character know what another is thinking if you are in the "I" moment. Some stories will NOT write in the first person. OK. Then best rule of thumb - do NOT change point of view during a scene. Make SURE you select one character per scene - tell it from their POV. How do you know if you "slipped?" Insert the "I" viewpoint, where that character plays and see if you stepped out of their head. If you didn't, you win....if you did, correct it. Scene ends - change characters as need be. Always pick which character "tells" that scene very Carefully..... New writers are wise to stick within limits, but nothing's WORSE than sticking to training wheels and insisting that's the ONLY way to write. there's 3rd person, VIEWPOINT - one character, one view point, told in 3rd person grammar. There's OMNISCIENT view point - told in 3rd person, but from multiple views - this is the one that's hard to do, and one needs a master's skills to KNOW how to handle it. At any given moment, the author MUST know who, and why, and what they are depicting - both to avoid confusion, and to wring the most out of the scene in question. New writers - working to tighten and shape their craft - would be smart to avoid this one UNTIL they have the clarity of awareness to handle it. And yes, absolutely, I DID follow my own advice, here.




Which basically answers my original question


   By seljo on Wednesday, July 19, 2006 - 02:51 pm: Edit Post

By that answer, I would interpret that she views this truly Omniscient view point as an advanced writing skill (with which point I agree) and would deduce that with an ambitious an undertaking as this series is that 'advanced skillsets' are clearly required.

I will say that now that I've been re-reading these books since about May and am firmly in the grove of these books now (just finishing GC) that I don't notice the jumping around quite as much as I did in the beginning.

And of course -- the story is fantastic!


   By Blue on Thursday, July 20, 2006 - 01:27 am: Edit Post

I don't notice the jumping around quite as much as I did in the beginning.


Seljo there are two things that might be influencing this statement:

1. You are enjoying Janny's style so much that if there IS something that others might consider jarring, it does not bother you.

2. Janny, like everyone, improves with practice, and her style is even BETTER than when she started this little epic.

Your choice! :-O


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