Sunday, January 10, 2016

Unconventional Narration

I tend to write from the point of view of the main protagonist in the story.  It helps the audience see things through that character's eyes, thus creating a bond between the character and the audience.  I want them emotionally invested in that characters, so sharing their eyes is a good thing.

That said, I recently ran across a technique I'd never really given serious consideration to.  Serious consideration?  Shit, I never gave it any consideration.  That was to tell the story from a totally different point of view, like that of the villain.

I pondered this when I saw someone argue the merits of it recently, and I thought doing so might be fun.  Most of us don't see the villain's point of view, so how would we react to their take on the narrative?  Would it throw us for so much of a loop that we couldn't handle it?  Could it make us hate the story so much we put down the book in disgust?  Admittedly, I have no idea, for I've never done it or read a story like that.

Okay, that's not completely true.  In Salvation Day, there's a small part in which we see the murder of a mother and her daughter through the eyes of her killer, but I did that as a way to demonstrate callousness and show how the tables could get turned in Hell rather than as a serious vehicle for a large part of the story.  After I did it, I discarded the technique as a one time deal and promptly forgot about it.

But I now wonder if I could write a whole book like that.  I think it would be quite a challenge to write from an evil point of view and see if I could maintain reader sympathies in the right places while not causing a mass exodus of fans.  I think that I might try this in a limited way at first - write part of a story from the hero's point of view and part from the villain's to blend the two together - but I want to see if I can eventually stretch myself to write an entire novel that way.  No, it wouldn't be an all-the-time thing, or even a half-the-time thing, but rare occasions could shake things up.

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