PDA

View Full Version : Multiple POVs / Character not in sample pages



Little Ming
05-06-2011, 05:04 AM
From what I've gathered if I have multiple POV characters I should focus on just one character for my query. Makes sense. But what if the character in the query doesn't show up in the sample pages?

I have three POV characters and I've found that the most concise, most interesting query I can write is for a character that doesn't show up until about 10,000 words into the story. Depending on how many pages an agent ask for, she may not show up at all.

I really don't want to change POV since I think it has the best hook. But I'm also afraid that I'll either confuse or piss off an agent if they can't even find the character in the sample pages.

Suggestions?

Sage
05-06-2011, 05:15 AM
That's a pretty long time for a MC to show up for, especially the one you're hooking with. Are you sure the book itself is focusing on the right characters for the first 10K words?

maestrowork
05-06-2011, 05:35 AM
Whose story is it? If your hook (and the character) doesn't appear until 10K in, that's a long time. Where is the story before then? Backstories? Or a subplot? Maybe it's time to think about if you have a structure problem.

Your inciting incident may happen at 10K, but if the most interesting/relevant story and character don't appear until then, it's a bit late, IMHO.

pilot27407
05-06-2011, 08:16 AM
Here is my personal experience with the same problem. My MC didn’t show up until chapter 4…he was talked about in the opening chapters but had no presence. Finally, a top agent told me what to do. I wrote a new first chapter, introducing the MC. Then I moved some of the unrelated ones to different parts of the book. I didn’t lose anything. Just added a chapter and moved some around. The query must concentrate on the MC. Without that agents will shy away.

Little Ming
05-06-2011, 08:58 AM
I think I might have been unclear in my OP. :o

There are three MCs, and the story is told from three alternating limited-third POV, this one just happens to appear a little later than the first two. And the hook doesn't start with her, she's just one of the hooks, the other two characters have their own hooks. All three characters come together at about the beginning of her POV.

My problem is that I think I can write the best query for her POV (though that query might be crap too :tongue ). Can I get away with this? Or does my query have to focus on the first character that appears? The second? The first 1000 words? The first 5000? What are the rules for these things? Arrgg... so confusing...

Becca C.
05-06-2011, 09:50 AM
I would say write the query for the hook/plot/character that is the most important, with the most screen time overall. I have one MC that takes up 75% of the narrative, the other takes about 25%. I wrote the query about the one with 75%, even if that query didn't entirely reflect the whole story because it didn't mention the second character's arc at all.

PinkAmy
05-06-2011, 02:39 PM
I would say write the query for the hook/plot/character that is the most important, with the most screen time overall. I have one MC that takes up 75% of the narrative, the other takes about 25%. I wrote the query about the one with 75%, even if that query didn't entirely reflect the whole story because it didn't mention the second character's arc at all.

Agreed, although I think the query needs to reflect what you're sending in terms of sample chapters. So if Becca's MC didn't appear in her first ten pages, she could write the query in her voice as an author so it's not a drastic departure from the voice of her MS.

Bufty
05-06-2011, 03:16 PM
Eh?


Agreed, although I think the query needs to reflect what you're sending in terms of sample chapters. So if Becca's MC didn't appear in her first ten pages, she could write the query in her voice as an author so it's not a drastic departure from the voice of her MS.

Re the OP -

The Query is a very brief selling tool, the sole purpose of which is to get the Agent sufficiently intrigued and interested to request the manuscript or sample chapters or whatever. Concentrate on the main plot thread and reveal an interesting character in an intriguing situation - that's all.

Covering the whole story is neither needed nor necessary

If the only reason for picking one character over the other as the focus for the Query is that focusing on either of the other two characters - who appear first for a substantial part of the tale - would make for a less interesting Query you may have a deeper problem than wondering about the Query.

Surely you have one main character even though the tale involves multiple POV's. Maybe the characters are introduced into the tale in the wrong sequence - I dunno.

Are you simply - and maybe mistakenly- using multiple POV's to make sure the reader knows what everybody is thinking about everything and everyone else?