Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

Is it okay to switch between 1st and 3rd person narratives?

I'm actually a really crappy writer i've realized. Everything I write, no matter how inspired how whatever I feel, just doesn't LOOK right and doesn't capture the emotion or whatever i see in my head...

but my question is, can you swtich between narratives?

In my story i sort of want to get the perspective of the male protagonist but it's a 1st person story told by a female character. Would it be okay to break in the middle of the chapter and talk 3rd person about the guy character for a little bit? It would only be like a paragraph to let the reader see something that the usual narrator doesn't see...

Can you pull that off successfully or is that a definite no?

11 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes and no. Yes because it can be done. As long as it's done properly.

    No because it gets the reader really confused (especially if you want them to get into the character's head).

    It's better to write a chapter in 1st person, then switch to 3rd person in the next chapter. Just so people know what's going on the whole way.

    At first, I was a terrible writer. I look back at the work I've done a few years ago, and it was TERRIBLE. You always think it's good at the time....then you look back on it a few years from then. Just keep writing. Eventually, you'll stop having so many of those "realizations". Writing takes practice, confidence, and experience. I suggest reading a lot of different styles of books, just to see how different authors write. Then, you can either use many different styles, or come up with your own. Just keep writing and you'll find what you're looking for! Good luck!

    Source(s): Experience, Practice, I read a lot.
  • 1 decade ago

    Well, I wouldn't switch in the middle of a chapter, but alot of authors switch between narratives by chapters example:

    chapter1: 1st

    chap2: 3rd

    chap 3 1st

    chap 4 1st

    you dont have to go comepletely alternative on this like 1st 3rd 1st 3rd 1st, but for it to make sense you cant have just 1 chapter that is 3rd otherwise it will just confuse the readers, so try to even it up a bit

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I would say that is a definite no no. It sounds like you want to be able to show something from his perspective, but you would in fact create a level of alienation in your reader. Think about it. You go from 1st person, which is the most intimate perspective, to 3rd person where there is greater distance. I prefer limited 3rd person POV overall, because it allows the most flexibility while still letting you inside a character's head. You might consider shifting the entire POV to limited 3rd person. You can still use the character voice in the girl's scenes.

    Of course, you need to ask yourself if this bit of information is really needed. If it is then you have to find a way to communicate it using the 1st person narrator.

  • 1 decade ago

    Absolutely. I use the technique all the time. So does James Patterson and a lot of other successful authors. Just change chapters. It is a very interesting way to present a story. Pax-C

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well....You can switch but most writers do it at the end or the beginning. If you do it in the middle it might confuse some of the readers. Hope I helped.


  • 1 decade ago

    If the first person narrative is by other than the protagonist I see no reason why you cannot freelance into the third person narrative whenever it's convenient.

  • TW K
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Its OK. Amy Tan has used this technique with wonderful effects in her bookj The Bonesetter's Daughter...

    TW K

  • 1 decade ago

    It is perfectly fine. Some of my most captivating favorite works use the technique:

    bell hooks - bone black

    James McBride's the color of water, comprises two narrative voices in one text, his mother's and his own.

    go ahead with your story.

  • 1 decade ago

    Read James Patternson's Step on a Crack or Double Cross-you will see it

    Read Robert B Parker's Crimson Joy--read will see it

    so if they can, you can too

    Source(s): Bennet Pomerantz Fiction Fix Magazine
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes, I do it all the time. Its an interesting technique but be careful, because you might confuse the reader.

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