Biased points of view in stories


#1

So… what do you think of stories whose narrator has a (very) biased point of view?

I’m not talking about the omnipresent narrator, but the one that belongs to the main character of the story. For example, if I’m writing a story from the point of view of a character named Jane, and Jane happens to hate cats, it’s totally fine to write:

Because since it’s from Jane’s POV and she’s a person with her own thoughts, we will be able to see her personality quite well, naturally. But what happens if Jane is rather narrow minded? Like, a racist, or very conservative? It’s fine if, from her point of view, the author shows how nasty she can be?

The same way Jane is not nice and says terrible stuff about people (showing us what kind of person she truly is), then there’s this other character’s point of view, which is totally different in style and beliefs. As an author, would it be possible to write as such without people calling for my blood because they think I’m just using Jane as an excuse (or mean) to spew hate? :open_mouth:

It doesn’t necessarily have to be hateful POVs I want to write, but it could be delicate things like suicide idealization or extreme cynicism with characters who have a harsh view of the world, for example. Since that’s how they see things and the story is from their own point of view, would it be fair to do such?

What do you think?


#2

I think it would be fine but if you’re planning to have a narrow minded or otherwise possibly offensive character narrate you may wanna consider a disclaimer or something just in case.


#3

Write whatever you want tbphyw. People need to understand this is a work of fiction that has certain characters with certain attributes.


#4

Ooh yes, love me some unreliable/biased narrator. It can be really good for characterisation rather than having the narrator just be a cipher. I think the important thing if you were going with more controversial narrator opinions is to have it clear that this isn’t the Word of God. Have other characters disagree with them (who are otherwise treated well by the narrative - if only bad guys disagree with the PC it starts to look like a strawman). Have arguments that the PC doesn’t win, have their opinions disadvantage them.


#5

I would think, that if your narrator has a biased point of view, in a way that opposes the ideals that Choice of Games espouse, you might have difficulties getting published through them.

I won’t play games with protagonists that have bigoted views. Not even if the point of the story is to have them overcome those prejudices. I also avoid games with protagonists that have views I might find upsetting.

Unless it’s wrapped up in fantasy narrative, like the bigotry presented in Choice of Rebels. I need that one step away.


#6

Depends, are we talking traditional writing or writing for choice games here?

In traditional novels that’s no problem. When done right it can be a great way to bring a character and its’ development closer to the reader. Biased narrators are pretty common actually.

But when talking about games…Honestly I don’t like it when authors tell me what my MC should feel. It’s immersion breaking.

It’s a little bit different if the author is good in wraping those things in a way that’s not too hamfisted. Give me the why for the feelings if you can’t give me a choice how to feel. Try to give me a bit of acclimatisation for that role, not just “this is the way the MC thinks, full stop”, but give me the context.


#7

What’s wrong with being very conservative?


#8

Does this rule apply to other forms of media for you?


#9

That’s a bannable offense.


#10

@AverageJoe1 of course, disclaimers are a must :relieved:

@Harlox123 haha, the thing is that a lot of people don’t quite understand the word “fiction” :smile:

@Scribblesome of course, what I thought of was a book that had several chapters, each with a different POV, in order to be able to show how different are the characters from each other :smile:

@FairyGodfeather, @Sammysam I wasn’t talking about CoG, but a traditional novel :sweat_smile: I want to work with characters that are everything but nice and have different backgrounds that make them the way they are. I also happen to dislike games that tell me how my MC feels, that’s why in my WIP I try to let the player pick how they feels as often as I can.

@person59 well, the world is always changing, so being stuck in the past forever is not good; like when women couldn’t wear pants because “they always wore dresses or skirts, as it’s proper”. You can be conservative (because you were raised that way, or you happen to favor that train of thought) and it’s fine, but very? Extremes are never good.

For example; a very conservative Jane would slut shame her friends for sleeping around (because girls have to save themselves for marriage, blah blah bah), which is not cool because it’s not her life. It’s wrong to judge, same if her friends start to call her a prude 'cause she doesn’t want to do the same as them.


#11

We’ll be the one who’ll decide what’s a ban-able offense, thankyouverymuch. Please don’t bug the person.


#12

I was obviously kidding, friendo.


#13

Even though a thing may be fiction, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some sort of impact. It doesn’t automatically mean that it’s okay, just because ‘it’s fiction’.

I don’t think you can write a hate-filled, bigoted novel, that espouses terrible ideas, and then hold your hands up and say “it’s fiction” in order to shake off responsibility for what you’ve written.

But, novels are filled with nasty characters. I’m sure some of the literature greats are simply not nice people.


#14

Please don’t be stingy about using emoticons. They’re really the only thing that makes a clear distinction between serious and not serious over the internet. And as an added bonus they’re nice and colorful :confetti_ball:


#15

Can you define “okay”?


#16

I can understand not wanting to read something that promotes bigotry, but I see that as a major difference than reading a story with bigoted characters. But to each his own I suppose.


#17

I see where you’re coming from, I’m not really even that far right. But I think you should no doubt write any character you choose, that’s the great thing about artistic expression. I’d be willing to read anything as long as it’s not mein kamf. :joy:


#18

Meh, too many writers worry about coming off a certain way when they should just be writing. Lol.

The writer should write what they feel and shouldn’t worry about what the masses might think. If the writer wants to paint everyone who doesn’t agree with “x” as a bigot, hey they got the freedom to do so.

Some people are going to like it, some won’t. Follow your own vision, but obviously be prepared for the inevitable fallout regardless what that may be.


#19

Whoa, it’s not like I want to create a second Hitler and praise all of their wrong doings :disappointed_relieved:

The idea I had was a that whoever was narrating had to show their personality; since the book would have several POVs, we would be able to tell the differences between Jane and her friends. The story would revolve around one event (like, an upcoming party or get together), and then every character would give their two cents. The point is to show just how different they can be, even if they don’t show it outwardly, hence the use of different POVs.

As @person59 says, the idea is to write a book with nasty characters, not one that promotes hate.

And I think we got mistaken with the word conservative, whether it’s the politic related term or the one that means “not wanting change” :joy:

@EndMaster right, there’s going to be backslash (that’s how it is called?) regardless of what we do :relieved:


#20

This, violent books doesn’t mean the author is violent. Don’t censor yourself from great pieces of media because it contrasts with your views. Remeber the parts about Jews in the Great Gatsby?
The main character in Child of God is a racist, murdering, raping, necrophiliac, still a good book though.