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ralphie1026
01-25-2016, 11:12 PM
After researching & asking around, it seems like the consensus is to write a query for a multiple POV novel using one character. After playing around with mine, the FMC came more naturally in the query. (It alternates every other chapter.) The thing is, if I use the FMC in the query, will it be a problem when the first chapter belongs to the MMC? I plan to specify in the housekeeping part of the letter that it's told from both POVs but will it still be too confusing?

Thanks!

Dreity
01-26-2016, 01:33 AM
It's hard to say what's best without knowing the query or the MS, so I won't try to sway you one way or another. Here are some questions I asked myself when I was in a similar situation, though, and note that it also involved taking a hard look at the MS:

What makes one POV feel more natural than the other when writing the query?

Is their character arc more easily explained, or more distinct from other arcs potential agents might see that day? Is it easier to become invested in their conflict in three short paragraphs, whereas the other requires some warming up to even in the MS?

What are the problems that crop up when writing the query from POV #2? Do you have to dig deeper to find out what's motivating them? Or is it just not as exciting?

Why was it important to start the MS with POV #2 over POV #1?

Ultimately, conventional queries focus on one character, one conflict, one set of stakes, and the agent reading it knows that there's a lot more to the story than that. I think if the MMC is at least presented in such a way that they're clearly a vital part of the plot, even if FMC is the focus of the query, then it won't throw anyone off if the MS opens with MMC.

Cyia
01-26-2016, 01:53 AM
If you don't have a single, predominant MC, you can always write one paragraph (very short) about the 1st MC's problem, then one (very short) about the 2nd MC's problem, then tie them together with a 1-2 sentence shared ending.

Let me give you a really dumb example:

Heroine Goodgirl wants nothing more than to finish school with a 5.7 GPA, get a full ride to Intergalactic Academy, and - if there's time - cure cancer. Unfortunately, her paperwork got mixed up and it looks like she'll be spending the summer sharing a camp cabin with Hero Badboy.

Hero Badboy couldn't care less about school or the looming war with the Insectatrons, and he's got no long term aspirations. All he wants is to coast through his final year and qualify for his nine quadrillion dollar trust fund. But to make it through school, he's got to make it through camp, and that - somehow - means sharing bunk space with Heroine Goodgirl, aka Miss Perfect.

These two barely have time to glare at each other before the sky turns red and Insectatrons start dropping out the air like spiders. It's up to these two enemies to take back their campground and lead their fellow campers to save the planet, or they might just end up the last two people on Earth.

Very, very bad example, but the point is that you can set-up both POV, if you need to. You might try reading only the back blurbs of several romance novels. They usually have this structure. It might help.

ralphie1026
01-26-2016, 03:51 AM
Thank you both!

I think I'll give that format a try as they're both equally important to the story. If it doesn't garner any requests, I can always redo it and try again. The FMC's was just more natural because it was easier to explain but it feels like it's missing something. Thanks again! :)

Jamesaritchie
01-26-2016, 04:46 AM
I think you have received terrible advice. If you need to use more than one PoV character, then do so. If you don't, an agent will have no idea at all what your novel is like, and this is always bad.

danatcsimpson
02-02-2016, 11:20 PM
I think you have received terrible advice. If you need to use more than one PoV character, then do so. If you don't, an agent will have no idea at all what your novel is like, and this is always bad.

I'm glad to hear someone say this. I have four viewpoint characters. Trimming the query down to two of them was hard enough, never mind just one. There was no way I could get it to make sense.

mayqueen
02-02-2016, 11:27 PM
Just a helpful reminder that QLH exists and is a great resource. Don't waste opportunities querying agents with something that flat-out doesn't work if you can have it vetted and critiqued by other querying writers first.

My understanding is that one character with one interesting problem and one compelling set of stakes is the current query norm. Obviously, there are always exceptions, and obviously, yes, that leaves out the other characters if you have a multi-POV novel. But the point of a query is just to get the agent to look at your pages, not to perfectly encapsulate the essence of your novel in 250 words.

I have queried four manuscripts, three of them with multiple points of view. I've stuck to the one character "rule" and it has served me well.

JJ Litke
02-03-2016, 03:51 AM
Just a helpful reminder that QLH exists and is a great resource. Don't waste opportunities querying agents with something that flat-out doesn't work if you can have it vetted and critiqued by other querying writers first.

My understanding is that one character with one interesting problem and one compelling set of stakes is the current query norm. Obviously, there are always exceptions, and obviously, yes, that leaves out the other characters if you have a multi-POV novel. But the point of a query is just to get the agent to look at your pages, not to perfectly encapsulate the essence of your novel in 250 words.

I have queried four manuscripts, three of them with multiple points of view. I've stuck to the one character "rule" and it has served me well.

Yes, you'll end up leaving a whole lot out of the query. The big question to ask about trying to work multiple POVs into a query is, can you do it well in 250 words or less, and still leave anyone reading the query eager to read the manuscript?