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Character Biographies: Point of View?


Started by Tarkil Indoril
Post #163265
Member

7
Faction & Race:
Ebonheart Pact
Dunmer
So, after having read a number of character biographies and written a few of my own, I'm really curious about what the TESOF community has to say about the PoV used for the background section in their character sheet. (Referring to the story of the character.)

I've seen a number of different styles used, but the three that I see most often are first person (See Hobado's Lyihna Kyoren; "I remember when my father...") third person omniscient narrative (See Lurgahk's Lyric Romalius; "Lyric was born into a family of three in Bruma.") and then a more limited form of third person, which I can't even find in this site. (See Baldur Gate's Minsc; "When asked about his past, Minsc proudly announces...")

They obviously all have benefits and weaknesses and the choice would really be a matter of personal preference, but I'm curious why I've yet to see biographies done in a manner similar to the third example. It would theoretically have the benefit of allowing to give the reader an idea of what the character is like to interact with in both words and actions, instead of only words (First example.) or only actions. (Second example.)

I'm not going to pretend that I'm an expert, and I'm honestly curious what you all have to say about why you choose the style you choose. I'm also curious what which style you would prefer to read in a biography, as well.


Duran Vaynas
Absit Invidia
Odvuach
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Post #163272
Member

202
Faction & Race:
Aldmeri Dominion
Bosmer
I used first person for my character Lyihna just because it helped me picture her personality while I was writing it. I normally don't use first person, but I tried something new to see how it turned out, and it didn't turn out too bad. Normally I write in third person, but I found myself explaining her baskstory instead of showing her backstory through writing,... if I am making sense.


:)
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Post #163450
Member

179
Faction & Race:
Daggerfall Covenant
Orc
I never considered writing a bio in first person...

I think that the prominence of third person omniscient in bios stems from the need to factually state the backstory. Instead of showing the backstory through the lens of the character (first person, provides a biased view...may not be what actually happened) or presenting the story by giving some of the character's thoughts and sharing surroundings (third person limited), third person omniscient allows the writer to share the attitudes of all characters involved, give equal weight to characters, and focus more on what happened than what one character was feeling.

And @Hobado, I believe the word that you are looking for is imagery (showing vs. telling).


~~Welcome to a world of impure imagination!~~
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The following 1 user likes cyfiawnder hiraethus's post:
Hobado
Post #163464
Member

7
Faction & Race:
Ebonheart Pact
Dunmer
You both have some interesting things to say.

I hadn't really thought about using first-person as a way to explore the character's personality as you are still developing the character until now. I'll have to try that some time.

Third person omniscient has the obvious benefit of factually stating what has happened to the character, although it doesn't capture how the character perceived the events or show much the character would alter the story in the retelling, something the other two would do. The question must be asked, then, would it be better in a biography to represent the character's past impartially, or through the eyes of the character and in the way the character would tell the story? (Including intended or unintended omission and the falsification of facts.)


Duran Vaynas
Absit Invidia
Odvuach
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The following 1 user likes Tarkil Indoril's post:
Hobado




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