A POV question
I read the POV article on your site and I have a question. I am currently writing a novel in the first person POV. There is a conversation between my main character’s sister and his girlfriend toward the end of the story. I NEED the reader to know this information before my main character does. The reader needs to witness this conversation, if you will. How can I do this without switching POV to third since the entire novel is first person. It seems off to all of a sudden have a chapter that’s in the third person. Any help would be greatly appreciated. — Michael Harrison Tennessee
My first, instinctive reaction is that you may need to find a different way to approach the information. A sudden, unexpected shift in the voice from first person to third, and a shift to a new POV, this late in the story would most likely feel very jarring and yank the reader right out of the carefully crafted first-person narrative that you’ve created over the course of an entire novel. It might feel to readers as if the author wrote himself into a corner and had to resort to a different voice to get out of it.
So before deciding to switch to a different voice and POV, I’d look for other options. Is is absolutely critical for the reader to know the info before the main character? Is there a way that the MC can hear the info (so the reader hears it too) but the MC misunderstands it or doesn’t realize its significance, but readers will understand (the unreliable narrator approach)?
It’s tough to make any sensible recommendations without knowing the whole story, of course, so I’m pretty much shooting in the dark here. But the general idea of introducing a new POV and switching out of a first-person narrative late in the novel might, I’m afraid, feel like a cheap trick to readers. Introducing new information to the reader–which the first-person narrator doesn’t know–might feel a bit too much like the deus ex machina twist that makes readers feel cheated at the end.
I wish I could give a more positive recommendation or suggestion, but without knowing the whole story, I’m just not able to do more than suggest you avoid the late POV and voice switch.
Any readers out there have more suggestions?