HOW TO USE FIRST-PERSON AND THIRD-PERSON TOGETHER
Few novels have been able to successfully use FP and TP. Why? Because it gets too confusing. There are essentially two people telling the story. Or it could be that your FP POV narrator is the one explaining the events as they happened to him.
Either way, this technique is possible, but great tact must be taken.
The global conflict and the immediate conflict have to be balanced so that the reader isn’t caught in an emotional typhoon where no compassion is built for anyone, ultimately meaning that no one cares.
I can’t say that I’ve ever read a novel where this is done, but RICH probably has. So my insight into the topic is based solely on books and blogs that I’ve read.
The first thing you have to ask yourself is: “Why is it more important to tell this story from FP and TP?” Think of your story? Would it be more powerful from the combined POVs? Here’s a good reason why you might want to use both FP and TP.
If you needed to show a dynamic relationship between a father and a son, but you wanted most of the story to be filtered through the eyes of the son. This could be effective. Why? Well, what if the relationship between the two of them is so strained that the father comes off like a deadbeat pig? One way to resolve this is if you were to utilize the TP POV. Then you could effectively narrate the thoughts of the father without having the father’s character be sifted through the bitterness of his son.
WATCH: [For context, David is the son. Grant is the Father.]
I couldn’t even look at Grant, that idiot-of-a-sperm-donor. Did he really think that I could forgive him for what he did to my mom – the woman he treated like a back-alley whore?
Grant was at a loss for words. His son didn’t know what really happened. But Grant couldn’t tell him either. Who wants to find out that his mother is a stripper? Grant loved Tricia. In fact he still did. But he knew that staying with a woman who now made a living servicing other men was not what his battered heart could handle. When he first found out, he didn’t eat for days. If David ever knew, that poor boy would have been ripped apart.
If we were limited to the FP, then we would have only known what David knew. The TP brings a deeper compassion for Grant that David would never have allowed. Keep in mind that this dichotomy can be done in FP or TP. But if using both accentuates things in your novel that neither FP nor TP could do alone, perhaps combining them both is the way to go.