Sunday, January 07, 2007

Myth, folklore, and POV shifts

I've been interested in myth, symbol, and folklore for years – since college, lo those many years ago – and those elements have been a big part of my writing. I say that like I've been writing for a million years (it's only been a little over four), but you know what I mean. When I started writing my first novel, I found some fantastic books on the subject, and I thought I'd use this venue to share some interesting tidbits from those sources.

I also thought I'd bring something over from my personal LJ, ye olde word-hoard. I mean, we're writers and readers here, right? Finding fabulous old or under-utilized words to share with you every once in a while should be a blast for me, too. They may or may not have anything to do with anything relevant. But they'll be fun, regardless.

I'm also planning on talking more regularly about the craft of writing, the business of writing, and maybe some book reviews and interesting links thrown in for fun.

So, let's talk craft, specifically POV shifts. I used POV shifts in my first novel, but separated them by chapter. I felt it was important to show how each of the three principal characters reacted to the same events, and I wanted a way to go into more depth into their backstories, as their interweaving threads were crucial to the plot climax. I've kept to a single POV for my second novel and in-progress third novel (20K words as of yesterday, w00t!) because it's right for those stories, and multiple POVs (alternating chapters) for my novella, because it was right for that story.

What throws me is seeing POV shifts within chapters, however. It takes me out of the story – I have to stop and reorient myself every time it happens. So, my question is: when are in-chapter or in-section POV shifts appropriate? What function do they serve? Have you seen them done well? As a writer do you use section or chapter POV shifts? As a reader, do you find section or chapter POV shifts distracting, or a nice change of pace?

polychrestic: useful for many reasons

Myths, symbols, and folklore
glass: "like crystal, it is a symbol of light because of its transparency; in medieval pictures, glass that lets all things shine through without being affected itself is a symbol of the Immaculate Conception"

(cross-posted from my LiveJournal:

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