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Thread: How many pov shifts are too many?

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  1. #1
    coffee and pistols at dawn KateJJ's Avatar
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    Jul 2012

    How many pov shifts are too many?

    My epic fantasy is primarily written from two (3rd person) POVs, one female, one male. Female POV has about 65% of the story. There are occasional other POVs as I need them, only one of whom has more than say three short scenes. Most of the time the POV character has a large section of a chapter, 1500 or more words.

    I find myself switching rapidly between POVs in one critical chapter. The male and female POV characters are fighting each other. Neither of them knows it and each of them is trying to win in order to marry the other. It's delicious. But I'm shifting POVs a lot. Like, after as few as 200 words, back and forth. This isn't the climax (where, er, I again have shifting POVs but they're in longer chunks and seeing radically different things so I'm not as worried). There's probably ten POV shifts in 4000 words....

    I'm trying to remember if I've seen multiple rapid pov shifts in a fantasy novel before. I'm planning to ask beta readers if this is too confusing, but off the top of your head, would you write a scene this way?

    Every other scene I'm able to pick one POV and stick to it using the guideline of "show whoever hurts the most". This scene just doesn't seem to work from one or the other, though....

    ETA: most of the POV shifts are between the two main characters, back and forth like volleyball. If that makes a difference.
    Last edited by KateJJ; 12-12-2012 at 06:52 AM.
    Published: "The Golden Knight", B@en Fantasy @dventure winner

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