Differing perspectives, part four, Hybrid narratives

Part four of a series on differing forms of narratives in stories.

After I finished writing my last post on differing perspectives, I realized that I had one more post on this topic than I had expected. I had forgotten completely about what I term ‘Hybrid narratives’. Hybrid narratives, or perhaps I should I say stories, are where an author mixes both first person and third person narrative styles in a single book.

This is accomplished in several ways:

  1. A forward in first or third person followed by the rest of the book in the other style (forward in first rest in third or vice versa.)
  2. Alternating chapters narrative style (e.g. Chapter 1 in third, chapter 2 in first).
  3. Giving every chapter or every x numbers of chapters a single page forward written in first person. Normally this takes the form of a page from a diary of the main character.
  4. If a book is divided into parts, each part could have a forward of its own written in either style (followed of course by the other style).

While this isn’t as common as either just First or Third person stories, I’ve seen it done many times. It seems to be a bit newer of an idea, but if done well it can work well.

This kind of hybrid narrative structure has several pros and few cons:

Pros:

  1. Utilizes both first and third person narratives.
  2. Allows for easy changing from person to person in first person narrative
  3. Allows a reader to see deeper into the character, while still allowing for the view-point to change to something happening a thousand miles away.
  4. It can be used to lead into a flashback.

I can’t think of any obvious cons, save for the fact that some readers might have a bit of a problem with the narrative style switching back and forth over the course of a book.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series about differing narratives, I know I enjoyed writing it. Please feel free to leave any comments below.

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