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Thread: How do you like multiple point of views to be divided?

  1. #26
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    It depends on what works best for the story. That's going to be different for every story you write.

  2. #27
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Aug 2017
    American Midwest
    I think it really depends on your own preferences. For example, T.A. Barron's Great Tree of Avalon series has multiple perspectives, but it's clear in the beginning (at least the first book) that the there is one MC with several other supporting characters, whose POVs also get explained and expanded on as the series progresses. There are other enjoyable and skilled authors, who decide to stick to one POV for the first several books in a series and then switch it up later (Veronica Roth and Patricia Briggs come to mind). Whatever you're comfortable and happy with is your best bet - you're the one who knows what is best for your book!

  3. #28
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Both sides of the Atlantic
    I love POV questions!

    I don't mind multiples or even how many there are as long as they're distinct and the story really needs them. I also don't mind how the shift in POV is shown as long as there is some signal. Definitely don't feel the need to follow a strict ABAB or whatever, and characters should have only the POVs and page time they need.

    As for pitching, I was also told to pitch one character even if the story has two protagonists. The book that landed me my agent had two pretty equal protags with one slightly more significant than the other, and their POVs reflected this. But then after a lot of discussion and soul searching, I flipped protagonists so that the formerly main protag was downsized, the other upgraded. Now the book is very clearly one character's story with the other POV playing a strong supporting role. That's how it'll be pitched to publishers, and it'll supposedly make things a bit easier, since the story is complex enough without being fuzzy on whose story it is.

  4. #29
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Apr 2017
    I agree with what a lot of people are saying about it depending on the story what POV works best. I recently read a novel that fell short of my expectations because there were so many POVs, I didn't feel I was in the head of any one character long enough to connect with them. At the same time, I've read some books with multiple equal protagonist POVs, like Six of Crows, that I really enjoyed. The same goes for the other variations upon multiple POVs you mentioned.

    I'm not an industry professional, but I read somewhere yesterday from something I believe was from one of the Pitch Wars mentors that it can sometimes seem like agents are acquiring fewer multiple point of view novels than they are because the pitch for a book sometimes won't bring up all the point of views. Anyway, I could be remembering wrong, so take that with some skepticism. I haven't heard anything about what specific type of multiple POV in terms of the variations you mention that agents prefer.

  5. #30
    practical experience, FTW LeftyLucy's Avatar
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    Aug 2016
    Another vote for "it depends on the story."

    Something I'm a stickler about in fiction is distinctive voices - that's among all characters, not just POV characters. If you're going to make me read something a character says or thinks, it better not sound like the same things another character is saying or thinking, or I'm going to question the precision of the characterization. So that goes x10 for POV characters. Distinct voices, with crystal-clear transitions between them. Beyond that, as far as I go as a reader, it's all fair game.

  6. #31
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    Dorset, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by andiwrite View Post
    Interesting. Is your opinion on this the same if it's limited third? I have 3 different POV in my opening chapter, but the three people are all together experiencing the same story. I don't know if that makes a difference.
    Sorry I missed this question first time around...

    It depends on how deep inside the character's head the POV is. If it's like first person where you're deep inside the character's head, then POV changes are likely to be as potentially jarring as for first person. If i'm not so deep in the character's head then it's easier to transition between POVs. But as per the previous post, The Girl on the Train is an example of a book that IMO handled 3 deep POV characters very well so it can be done. If your book is deep POV 3rd person, then limiting POV changes separating them with chapter breaks would help.

    Also bear in mind that I'm just one person and I don't know how many other people have this issue.
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  7. #32
    Dead Men Tell No Tales Chasing the Horizon's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    Like so many others have said, it mostly depends on the story. But there are a few methods of using POV which I universally hate.

    -Sticking a scene break in the middle of a scene just to change POVs. When I see a scene break, my brain drops what I was visualizing and prepares to have a new scene constructed. Having this expectation not met is super jarring for me, and also, IMO, incredibly lazy writing. If you're going to write first person or third limited, pick a POV and stick with it to the end of the scene. Otherwise learn to transition POVs and write omni.

    -Scenes that are nothing but characters thinking about stuff that was already shown in another POV in order to communicate their internal feelings about it. Again, I feel like this is lazy writing. You should be able to show how the people around your POV character feel about stuff as it's happening and not rely on everyone's internal thoughts.

    -Overly structured POV switching. Someone else mentioned this, how having a strict structure (like alternating POVs each chapter and making the chapters similar lengths) is artificial and annoying. It takes away an essential tool in writing multiple POVs in third limited, which is the ability to choose the POV character who will best be able to tell each scene.
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  8. #33
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    The land from whence the shadows fall
    hello oldish thread... >.>

    I'm currently reading a philosophical fantasy with multiple *first person* points of view. Very rad.

    -Overly structured POV switching. Someone else mentioned this, how having a strict structure (like alternating POVs each chapter and making the chapters similar lengths) is artificial and annoying. It takes away an essential tool in writing multiple POVs in third limited, which is the ability to choose the POV character who will best be able to tell each scene.

    I do this (although not similar length chapters). I've toyed around with putting in multiple points of view within a chapter and it doesn't work as well *for me* in this particular MS. I would be jumping around all over the place otherwise, and I don't want to do it some chapters but not others.
    Last edited by Harlequin; 08-13-2017 at 11:39 AM.
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  9. #34
    lethargically ardent, fervidly agog JCornelius's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    While I can't stand fantasy epics, I do love space opera epics*, and apocalyptic epics, and in those--the more POV's the better.

    In a space opera the characters tend to be humans, humanoid aliens, non-humanoid aliens, robots, androids, clones, planetary intelligences, ship computers, so their voices, as well as perceptions, values, motivation, etc., are different from each other by default; while the apocalyptic epics tend to be written by horror or sci-fi writers, whose characters are frequently freaks, losers, insane generals, gang-members, maniacs, devolved cannibals, telepathic mutants, etc, so there is also more than enough diversity in the character voices.

    In a non-epic multiple POV books, I tend to prefer one central protagonist lead with a limited cluster of auxiliary POV's who get stage time only when they really need to, and one central antagonist lead who gets at least half as much space as the protagonist.

    *In TV terms--Game of Thrones *groan*, The Expanse *yay!*
    Last edited by JCornelius; 08-13-2017 at 03:11 PM.

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  10. #35
    figuring it all out xanaphia's Avatar
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    Feb 2015
    So far, out of 11 chapters, my MC has 5 full chapters from her perspective, and 14 scenes in the split chapters from her point of view. The male MC has only 2 full chapters from his POV and 6 scenes in the split chapters. and as far as I can tell, that will be the ratio for most of the rest of the book.

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