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itsvictoria_b
03-29-2016, 09:44 AM
I'm in the process of rewriting a submission that requires me to add another POV in order to properly fix an issue in my story. I was wondering if dual POV was okay or would I be better off writing in third person? I've written in first person for long that I'm a bit nervous to switch to third, but if it's something an agent prefers over dual POVs, then it's something I'll work on. Any insight?

L. OBrien
03-29-2016, 09:57 AM
I think that if you've only got two point of view characters, as long as you clearly mark POV shifts and have sufficiently different character voices, first person won't be a problem. Plenty of successful novels use dual first person POV. That said, third person does have the distinct advantage of making sure that the reader can't confuse who's speaking, provided that you're comfortable writing it.

itsvictoria_b
03-29-2016, 10:02 AM
I think that if you've only got two point of view characters, as long as you clearly mark POV shifts and have sufficiently different character voices, first person won't be a problem. Plenty of successful novels use dual first person POV. That said, third person does have the distinct advantage of making sure that the reader can't confuse who's speaking, provided that you're comfortable writing it.

I would title the section with who's speaking as to not confuse them. I just wasn't sure if that was frowned upon or looked at as lazy writing if I didn't write it in third. I plan to have both POVs in each chapter. For example:

Chapter One

Anna
Blah blah hooplah, bloop bloop bloop.

Steve
Yada yada yada, blah blah bloop.

That sort of thing.

leifwright
03-29-2016, 10:14 AM
I think a dual-POV shift can be effective.

But you have to be careful that it's clear when the shift happens.

StoryofWoe
03-29-2016, 10:36 AM
Dual first POV is fine, but you'll want to make sure the characters' voices are distinct enough that the reader can tell the difference between his POV and hers. If their inner voices sound the same, you might be better off going with limited third person. Third makes POV shifts mid-chapter cleaner (no names/headings cluttering up the prose), but as long as they're clear breaks, you're probably fine. Use whichever one sounds best to your ear and makes your characters feel "real."

Are you by chance writing a romance? Most contemporary romance is written in third person dual POV, but I've read some great first person erotic romances; it lends an immediate intimacy when done well. I'm pretty sure those only had one POV though. One thing to keep in mind is that these days first person is often attributed to new adult romance. I've seen one agent request new adult submissions written in third person so that there's the possibility of crossover with contemporary adult (http://emeraldcityliterary.com/mandy-hubbard-founder-and-agent/).

In the end, you have to do what's right for your book and your characters. Thankfully, switching from first to third and vice versa isn't difficult, just time consuming. Make sure the new POV is as well-developed as your original MC and go for it. Good luck. :)

Old Hack
03-29-2016, 11:06 AM
I'm in the process of rewriting a submission that requires me to add another POV in order to properly fix an issue in my story. I was wondering if dual POV was okay or would I be better off writing in third person? I've written in first person for long that I'm a bit nervous to switch to third, but if it's something an agent prefers over dual POVs, then it's something I'll work on. Any insight?

Write it in the POV which is best for the story. Don't write for agents' preferences: you want people to like this book, not just one agent.


I would title the section with who's speaking as to not confuse them. I just wasn't sure if that was frowned upon or looked at as lazy writing if I didn't write it in third. I plan to have both POVs in each chapter.

You could, but ideally you shouldn't have to. See what StoryofWoe wrote:


Dual first POV is fine, but you'll want to make sure the characters' voices are distinct enough that the reader can tell the difference between his POV and hers.

Exactly. If you're using multiple PsOV, you need to use them effectively. However, I disagree with Story's next comment:


If their inner voices sound the same, you might be better off going with limited third person.

If their inner voices sound the same they're probably not distinct enough as characters, and you need to work on that.


In the end, you have to do what's right for your book and your characters. Thankfully, switching from first to third and vice versa isn't difficult, just time consuming. Make sure the new POV is as well-developed as your original MC and go for it. Good luck. :)

Yep.

itsvictoria_b
03-29-2016, 11:53 AM
Dual first POV is fine, but you'll want to make sure the characters' voices are distinct enough that the reader can tell the difference between his POV and hers. If their inner voices sound the same, you might be better off going with limited third person. Third makes POV shifts mid-chapter cleaner (no names/headings cluttering up the prose), but as long as they're clear breaks, you're probably fine. Use whichever one sounds best to your ear and makes your characters feel "real."

Are you by chance writing a romance? Most contemporary romance is written in third person dual POV, but I've read some great first person erotic romances; it lends an immediate intimacy when done well. I'm pretty sure those only had one POV though. One thing to keep in mind is that these days first person is often attributed to new adult romance. I've seen one agent request new adult submissions written in third person so that there's the possibility of crossover with contemporary adult (http://emeraldcityliterary.com/mandy-hubbard-founder-and-agent/).

In the end, you have to do what's right for your book and your characters. Thankfully, switching from first to third and vice versa isn't difficult, just time consuming. Make sure the new POV is as well-developed as your original MC and go for it. Good luck. :)


It's more of an erotic romance. I think I may be better off writing it in third person then, but the plot involves the heroine being interested in two guys (one in real life and one of her callers [she's a phone sex operator]), but the guy is the same person. He knows this, but she doesn't, which is why I have to add his POV. My friend said I'd have to add it so that the reader knows, but the character does not (or something like that). But don't quote me on this. I still have a lot of kinks to work out because the idea is still a bit rough. I also wanted to include why they're both the way they are so that their conflict makes sense, and I know I wouldn't be able to do that with only her POV alone without doing a massive information dump when she finally asks about his failed relationship.

Earthling
03-29-2016, 12:25 PM
I've written dual and single perspective romances (not erotic) and dual is definitely easier in many ways. It's especially useful if you have morally ambiguous characters, because it's easier to gain reader sympathy for a POV character.

It also comes with challenges. It's tricky to balance POVs, as readers will tend to get attached to one more than the others. If you don't make all POV characters as interesting, they can get annoyed spending screen time without their favourite. I struggled to complete two character arcs, with equal weight and good pacing, in under 100k words (eventually managed it).


I know I wouldn't be able to do that with only her POV alone without doing a massive information dump when she finally asks about his failed relationship.

Having said all that, this doesn't seem a strong enough reason (to me) to add another POV. Most authors overestimate how much information readers actually need to understand backstory, or understand a character. Obviously I don't know what happened in your character's relationship or the effect it had on him, but I'd be surprised if you needed a massive info dump for readers to get it.

StoryofWoe
03-29-2016, 12:48 PM
It's more of an erotic romance. I think I may be better off writing it in third person then, but the plot involves the heroine being interested in two guys (one in real life and one of her callers [she's a phone sex operator]), but the guy is the same person. He knows this, but she doesn't, which is why I have to add his POV. My friend said I'd have to add it so that the reader knows, but the character does not (or something like that). But don't quote me on this. I still have a lot of kinks to work out because the idea is still a bit rough. I also wanted to include why they're both the way they are so that their conflict makes sense, and I know I wouldn't be able to do that with only her POV alone without doing a massive information dump when she finally asks about his failed relationship.
Yeah, from what you've written here, I think this kind of story could be served by being told from both POVs. I'm not sure how you'd inform the reader that the man and the caller are the same person otherwise. You could hint at it and surprise the reader alongside your heroine (aka, a twist) which could be fun, but it depends on how well you want the reader to know your hero. Do you want him to be mysterious or do you want the reader to connect with him from the outset? You could tease out his backstory and motivation gradually through dialogue rather than a dreaded info-dump so that when he does tell her it feels more like a reveal. In this case, you wouldn't need to write from his POV. It really depends on your vision for the book.

So many possibilities! But you'll figure it out. I'd suggest taking a peek through your favorite romances and seeing which POV and perspectives you prefer as a reader.

One last thing: I saw your other thread about resubmitting to agents who told you there wasn't enough conflict. Adding the hero's POV might solve that or it might not. In my experience, general critiques are very easy to run wild with. Be careful. Make sure you aren't just grasping wildly for what you hope will be the panacea to all of your book's issues. Increasing conflict doesn't necessarily require experiencing the dilemma from both sides. The story could be better served by upping the stakes or increasing tension and making sure you're following through and including consequences to your characters' actions (something I recently learned is a problem of mine). You could add another POV only to find yourself in the same boat with two characters instead of one. Be sure that any changes you make are actually going to improve the story.

randi.lee
03-29-2016, 02:01 PM
Nothing wrong with dual POV so long as you make those POV breaks clear, as stated above.

itsvictoria_b
03-30-2016, 08:57 AM
I've written dual and single perspective romances (not erotic) and dual is definitely easier in many ways. It's especially useful if you have morally ambiguous characters, because it's easier to gain reader sympathy for a POV character.

It also comes with challenges. It's tricky to balance POVs, as readers will tend to get attached to one more than the others. If you don't make all POV characters as interesting, they can get annoyed spending screen time without their favourite. I struggled to complete two character arcs, with equal weight and good pacing, in under 100k words (eventually managed it).



Having said all that, this doesn't seem a strong enough reason (to me) to add another POV. Most authors overestimate how much information readers actually need to understand backstory, or understand a character. Obviously I don't know what happened in your character's relationship or the effect it had on him, but I'd be surprised if you needed a massive info dump for readers to get it.

The main reason for the added POV was to reveal to the reader that he's also the caller, not just because of the info-dump thing. I haven't fully decided on what I'm going to do exactly because I'm still trying to finish up this book I'm reading to make sure I can get a better grasp on what I want to do to make the first 50 pages great. This is stressful!

Parkinsonsd
03-30-2016, 04:18 PM
Chapter One

Anna
Blah blah hooplah, bloop bloop bloop.

Steve
Yada yada yada, blah blah bloop.



Sounds very Seinfeldian.

blacbird
03-30-2016, 10:25 PM
Nothing wrong with dual POV so long as you make those POV breaks clear, as stated above.

Unless one of those POVs isn't really necessary. A lot of beginning/inexperienced writers seem to get caught in the seduction of switching POV for reasons of "convenience", when it is neither necessary nor really desirable.

caw

Treehouseman
03-30-2016, 10:47 PM
Gone Girl is a very famous recent dual POV story. The author really uses it to get the unreliable narrator effect going.

I think if first person isn't capturing everything, you might look at going into omniscient third as well?