Multiple POVs in romance?

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

SwallowFeather

Oops I just swallowed a feather
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
241
Location
In the wilds of Illinois.
ETA: I've gotten some good answers to this question & am asking a new, related one in post #14: So how do you make POV decisions in romance, given the way many romance scenes will be equally crucial to both characters?

So... how "done" is it, in a romance, to include multiple POVs, specifically the love-interest's POV?

I'm writing my first romance, and I've been working on the (male in a M/F) love-interest's backstory. And I just hit paydirt--a piece of family-of-origin conflict that will play so deeply into the main conflict of the novel & give him a real cathartic awakening when the climax plays out, and... now it almost feels a pity that so much of it will happen offscreen. I am just slightly toying with the idea of giving him a POV.

I'm not asking "am I allowed?" I am, I know, but what I wonder is what do most romance readers want? It's not only about what they want (another factor is, if I give him a lot of screentime the novel will probably be too long) but I care a lot what they want. Specifically I'm looking to not do anything that the usual market for sweet historical romance/romantic suspense isn't into. Beyond the couple things I'm already doing that're kind of inescapable. It's a long story.

Is a love-interest's POV considered a liability b/c it could ruin the suspense about the prospects for their relationship? Or will the reader go "hey, this guy sounds interesting, why didn't she tell his story?" Or is it fifty-fifty??
 
Last edited:

LJD

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
512
Location
Toronto
Having both POVs is very common in romance. I write contemporary, and every romance I've published has both POVs, though there are certainly contemporary romances with only one POV. Nearly every historical romance I've ever read has both POVs.

Which makes me wonder if you've read much recent romance at all? I spent a year reading romance before I tried writing any, and honestly, I'm glad I did... so I'd recommend doing a little reading.
 

SwallowFeather

Oops I just swallowed a feather
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
241
Location
In the wilds of Illinois.
No, honestly, I've been starting to read more but haven't gotten very far yet. I've had quite a bit on my plate. This might be a good time to go back to it though. Thanks!
 

LJD

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
512
Location
Toronto
If you have an idea of the sort of romances you want to read, you can tell us what you're looking for and we can try to give you recs!
 

Marian Perera

starting over
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
14,170
Reaction score
4,050
Location
Heaven is a place on earth called Toronto.
Website
www.marianperera.com
what I wonder is what do most romance readers want?

Best way to find out? As others have said, read romance. If you wanted to make a killer-robot movie, wouldn't you watch popular movies with killer robots to see what the directors did and what viewers might like?
 

Roxxsmom

Beastly Fido
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Messages
20,235
Reaction score
4,148
Location
Where faults collide
Website
doggedlywriting.blogspot.com
Every romance written in limited third I've read in recent years switches between the two main characters' viewpoints, though that may be a selection effect on my part. It certainly isn't rare or something most romance readers would have a problem with. I've even read a few that incorporate the viewpoint of an important support character or two as well, sometimes spinning off a "side" romance. I've also run across romances in omniscient third, though that's a style that used to be more common.

I second (or third or fourth) the advice that you read some recently published romance novels, especially of the period and style/heat level you want to write yourself. I recommend the same thing to people asking general questions about fantasy or other genres they want to write but haven't read recently.
 
Last edited:

SwallowFeather

Oops I just swallowed a feather
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
241
Location
In the wilds of Illinois.
If you have an idea of the sort of romances you want to read, you can tell us what you're looking for and we can try to give you recs!

Well, you got any recommendations for Christian Historical Romance?

Yeah, I shouldn't have sat on that at the beginning, but I have very complicated feelings about writing in a genre that I've very rarely enjoyed reading and quit years ago. (Rarely... maybe never? I can't think of one. Stay tuned? Redeeming Love, which is pretty much considered the genre's seminal work, is up there with my least favorite books of all time. And I still occasionally search the internet to find the kind of scathing commentary that should exist about A Daughter of Zion.) The story of how I got here would probably exceed my wordcount (yeah I know there's no wordcount, ykwim) but I do have a lot of reasons. There's nothing wrong (for me at least) with Christianity, history, or romance... just like there's nothing wrong with redemption or love... it's just when you bake those things together seasoned a certain way I want to gag. But I have this book. It's got those three ingredients in it. It wants to be written and I am writing it and I have a publisher and the publisher has a category. And this is my last-ditch chance to interest their readers in hopes that they'll pick up the other books I wrote for them. I have my own thing I'm doing with this but I want to write to the category as much as I can as well, because of that. Just have to hope my goals are not completely incompatible.

Oh hey wait, I remembered one I did like. Riders of the Pale Horse by T. Davis Bunn. But was that a romance or was it just suspense? I think there was some romance in it anyhow. And looking at what's come out lately, some of it does look interesting, and I'll look up more Davis Bunn.

Sorry to ask such an ignorant question, y'all. (You don't have to tell me it's not ignorant, I didn't say stupid--it's definitely some common knowledge that I didn't know.) I think as far as the multiple POVs, the real question for me is specifically how my climax would be organized with or without the extra POV and which of those options works better.
 

Roxxsmom

Beastly Fido
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Messages
20,235
Reaction score
4,148
Location
Where faults collide
Website
doggedlywriting.blogspot.com
Romance novels are generally published and marketed as romance, though there are many subcategories. If the book wasn't shelved in the romance section of a book store, or categorized as a romance on Amazon, it probably wasn't. Many novels that aren't genre romance have romantic subplots.

A couple of things that set romance apart from other kinds of love stories or other genres with romantic subplots: the romance is central to the story (what drives the story, even though the characters will have other concerns too), and the couple ends up together at the end with a happy, optimistic ending.

There are all manner of heat levels (how sexy the story is and how sex is portrayed) and time periods or settings within the genre.

I don't know much about Christian romance (I'm fond of historical settings but with a lot more heat and in stories not much focus on the religious beliefs of the characters), but that is a popular subcategory within the genre.

I believe with Christian romance, the characters are generally expected to be of a "born again" or evangelical style of Christianity, and while their faith can be tested during the story, they are together and both Christian at the end. And the heat level is expected to be quite low, with no premarital hanky pankey (I don't know how much temptation in terms of description of sexual tension is permissible there). I understand that LGBT is also frowned upon in traditional Christian romance (though maybe there are progressive branches within the genre). I assume you want to write M/F, though.
 

Dan Rhys

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 1, 2019
Messages
186
Reaction score
13
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Website
www.facebook.com
While I would not disagree with any advice you have received here, at the same time, I would say that you should not fear being a little different in your approach...it could lead to a peculiar trait or style that readers find fresh and engaging.
 

LJD

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
512
Location
Toronto
I admit I am basically useless for Christian romance recs, but hopefully someone else has some. You might look up romances by the publisher you have in mind?

Also, Harlequin has their Love Inspired Historical line.

The books you mention are all 10+ years old...I would make a point of focusing on books from the past 5 years or less, so you know what is currently being published.
 

Marissa D

Scribe of the girls in the basement
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
3,071
Reaction score
364
Location
New England but hankering for the old one
Website
www.marissadoyle.com
While I would not disagree with any advice you have received here, at the same time, I would say that you should not fear being a little different in your approach...it could lead to a peculiar trait or style that readers find fresh and engaging.

Er...maybe. But not so much in Christian Romance, which has some pretty stringent publishing guidelines.

LJD, unfortunately, Love Inspired Historical closed a couple years back (my bestie/blog partner wrote for them.) But they're still available as ebooks.
 

SwallowFeather

Oops I just swallowed a feather
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
241
Location
In the wilds of Illinois.
You might look up romances by the publisher you have in mind?

That's a good idea. I've read some of their women's fiction, come to think of it. It wasn't bad.

The books you mention are all 10+ years old...

Oh for sure--they're from before I quit reading the genre, so, wow, I was barely past a teenager. Yeah, I feel old. Anyway, the newest stuff is probably better, anyhow. It's just the uncertainty of finding my way to the good stuff, if any, and the smallness of my book budget. I gotta figure out the library e-book system, they've changed it *again*...

The guidelines on Christian fiction that people find stringent actually feel reasonably natural to me; sure, it annoys me that you can't even put in the occasional swear (just one where it would have the most impact dammit!), but my historical context makes it so that the expectation of sex scenes would be harder to fulfill than the expectation of some chaste hand-holding & then a single passionate kiss at the end.

Thanks very much for the recommendations & info, all. I'm pursuing this. We'll see where it goes. Meanwhile...

I'd like to pursue my original question in a different way. I'm starting to think maybe yes, love-interest's POV, and now I wonder...

So, how?

How do you deal with multiple POV in romance--how do you make those decisions of which scene goes to whom?
It strikes me as somewhat different from some other genres because the major scenes in the story don't just involve both characters, for the characters they are about each other if that makes sense... For FMC the scene is about MMC. For MMC the scene is about FMC.

This one is going to be, like most M/F romances (shouldn't I say F/M really?), a female-driven story for a primarily female audience, there's no doubt the young woman is the main character. So probably most of the major scenes will automatically fall to her POV... but should it be so automatic? What happens when a scene is hugely significant in both their journeys? I think that's the thing I'm groping for that's different about romance--by the nature of it, many important scenes are going to be equally crucial to both of them! (He finds out who's responsible for a family member's death and goes berserk, having to be restrained from going off to go kill the guy on the spot. He scares the crap out of her in the process, provoking a chain of events/crucial inner journey on her part that drives them apart. Whose POV?? They reconcile at the end--whose POV?...) What process do you all usually use to decide?
 
Last edited:

Tocotin

deceives
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 3, 2008
Messages
1,478
Reaction score
407
Location
Tokyo, waiting for typhoons
That's a good idea. I've read some of their women's fiction, come to think of it. It wasn't bad.



Oh for sure--they're from before I quit reading the genre, so, wow, I was barely past a teenager. Yeah, I feel old. Anyway, the newest stuff is probably better, anyhow. It's just the uncertainty of finding my way to the good stuff, if any, and the smallness of my book budget. I gotta figure out the library e-book system, they've changed it *again*...

The guidelines on Christian fiction that people find stringent actually feel reasonably natural to me; sure, it annoys me that you can't even put in the occasional swear (just one where it would have the most impact dammit!), but my historical context makes it so that the expectation of sex scenes would be harder to fulfill than the expectation of some chaste hand-holding & then a single passionate kiss at the end.

Thanks very much for the recommendations & info, all. I'm pursuing this. We'll see where it goes. Meanwhile...

I'd like to pursue my original question in a different way. I'm starting to think maybe yes, love-interest's POV, and now I wonder...

So, how?

How do you deal with multiple POV in romance--how do you make those decisions of which scene goes to whom?
It strikes me as somewhat different from some other genres because the major scenes in the story don't just involve both characters, for the characters they are about each other if that makes sense... For FMC the scene is about MMC. For MMC the scene is about FMC.

This one is going to be, like most M/F romances (shouldn't I say F/M really?), a female-driven story for a primarily female audience, there's no doubt the young woman is the main character. So probably most of the major scenes will automatically fall to her POV... but should it be so automatic? What happens when a scene is hugely significant in both their journeys? I think that's the thing I'm groping for that's different about romance--by the nature of it, many important scenes are going to be equally crucial to both of them! (He finds out who's responsible for a family member's death and goes berserk, having to be restrained from going off to go kill the guy on the spot. He scares the crap out of her in the process, provoking a chain of events/crucial inner journey on her part that drives them apart. Whose POV?? They reconcile at the end--whose POV?...) What process do you all usually use to decide?

If the scene is significant for both their journeys, why not write it from both POVs? Why not have two scenes, instead of one?

For your readers, it's not the simple chain of events that makes your story interesting. The plot is very important, but the personalities of your characters, their life situation (different for both, I assume), and their emotions are more important. The FMC sees the world in a different way from the MMC – for example, the crucial scene you described would be about something else for each of them, right? The boy is thinking about the death and the person who caused it. The girl is shocked and appalled by the boy's behavior. Both have different reasons to behave in the way they do; you can make the reader understand and sympathize with both.

Of course, I don't think you need write every scene, or even every important scene from both POVs. You can, though, just to see what happens, and then leave out the scenes that feel weak when you edit. You can abandon the scene when you see that it has no point, too. You don't have to get everything right in the first draft! Don't be afraid to experiment.

If you feel that you have no time for that, and that your FMC is the primary character, perhaps try the POV of the person for which the scene is more emotionally important. So the boy goes berserk and sees nothing and no one apart from that evil person whom he wants to kill on the spot – in other words, he doesn't see much. But the girl sees everything. She cares for the boy, she wants to understand, she is scared, she is in love, he is behaving horribly, why? What should she do now?

(I don't know how useful it all is, but I'm toying with an idea of a story with a dual POV. I'm not sure if it turns out to be a romance, or a love story. The characters are from very different backgrounds and don't have much in common. In my head I have the scene when they meet for the first time, and I would describe it using both POVs.)
 

SwallowFeather

Oops I just swallowed a feather
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
241
Location
In the wilds of Illinois.
If the scene is significant for both their journeys, why not write it from both POVs? Why not have two scenes, instead of one?

For your readers, it's not the simple chain of events that makes your story interesting. The plot is very important, but the personalities of your characters, their life situation (different for both, I assume), and their emotions are more important. The FMC sees the world in a different way from the MMC – for example, the crucial scene you described would be about something else for each of them, right? The boy is thinking about the death and the person who caused it. The girl is shocked and appalled by the boy's behavior. Both have different reasons to behave in the way they do; you can make the reader understand and sympathize with both.

Of course, I don't think you need write every scene, or even every important scene from both POVs. You can, though, just to see what happens, and then leave out the scenes that feel weak when you edit. You can abandon the scene when you see that it has no point, too. You don't have to get everything right in the first draft! Don't be afraid to experiment.

If you feel that you have no time for that, and that your FMC is the primary character, perhaps try the POV of the person for which the scene is more emotionally important. So the boy goes berserk and sees nothing and no one apart from that evil person whom he wants to kill on the spot – in other words, he doesn't see much. But the girl sees everything. She cares for the boy, she wants to understand, she is scared, she is in love, he is behaving horribly, why? What should she do now?

(I don't know how useful it all is, but I'm toying with an idea of a story with a dual POV. I'm not sure if it turns out to be a romance, or a love story. The characters are from very different backgrounds and don't have much in common. In my head I have the scene when they meet for the first time, and I would describe it using both POVs.)

It's a good point, trying the scenes from both POVs. I'm afraid I always have a bit of an "oof" reaction to something that sounds like it's going to mean more work, but I'll set that against the fact that I know I've got the opening right this time and don't have to spend three months turning 4 chapters into 2 like I did on the last book! It definitely would be worth doing on a few important scenes especially. I've seen storylines very enriched by my having written a POV that I later cut, and this would be similar--even if I didn't keep Love-Interest's POV in a particular scene, having written it would deepen my understanding of what the moment means to him.

I do tend to feel like the same exact scene from two POVs wouldn't work on the page, though--I feel like repetition might slow down the narrative too much for the reader, even if they might be curious about the other perspective. (I might tend to do the first half of a scene in one POV and the second half in the other, maybe, or have the alternate POV recap their reactions later to an event we didn't see through their eyes.) Although I know it can be done in some forms... I think my instinct would be to say it can be done in literary fiction. And even though I have some literary pretensions, I'm in a place where I need to be aware of the reader of commercial fiction & what they want. Is your dual-perspective story going to give both perspectives in full? I do think you could pull it off. (I'm starting to picture the full story--all in order--told twice, the second time in ways that give the first some surprising new interpretations...)

It's also true that in the example I mentioned the girl sees more--that's a really good way of putting it. Come to think of it, if I was going to do the "half the scene from one POV and half from the other" technique, what I'd probably do is write the scene where he finds out the identity of the person responsible from his POV--then his reaction from hers.

Thanks for your thoughtful post!
 

LJD

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 12, 2010
Messages
4,220
Reaction score
512
Location
Toronto

How do you deal with multiple POV in romance--how do you make those decisions of which scene goes to whom?

I have been struggling to think of an answer to this, because it's something I don't think too much about...I just naturally do it? I think I've seen some advice that says to write it from the POV of the person who has the most at stake, but my brain doesn't really think that way.

I would never write a scene from both POVs, though I may switch in the middle with a break. If it helps you to think about things, then by all means do it as practice! But it is not really something I come across in books.

This one is going to be, like most M/F romances (shouldn't I say F/M really?), a female-driven story for a primarily female audience, there's no doubt the young woman is the main character. So probably most of the major scenes will automatically fall to her POV... but should it be so automatic? What happens when a scene is hugely significant in both their journeys? I think that's the thing I'm groping for that's different about romance--by the nature of it, many important scenes are going to be equally crucial to both of them! (He finds out who's responsible for a family member's death and goes berserk, having to be restrained from going off to go kill the guy on the spot. He scares the crap out of her in the process, provoking a chain of events/crucial inner journey on her part that drives them apart. Whose POV?? They reconcile at the end--whose POV?...) What process do you all usually use to decide?

So the romance audience is mostly (but not exclusively) female, yes. But I wouldn't say that m/f romance is primarily female-driven? Some might be, but I usually see the man and woman as being of equal importance in the romances I write. It's BOTH of their stories...not her story with him as the love interest. There are even, in fact, some very popular contemporary m/f romances entirely from the man's POV.

I do have one book that I see more as her story than his...but POV is still close to 50/50 in this case, partly because the way he sees her is important? It was important to me to show her from his POV.

If something is very crucial to both of their journeys, then I will probably have a break somewhere in the scene to switch POVs...or have the event in one POV and the immediate reaction to it in the other POV, for example.

(Now, of course, I say all this with the caveat that I don't read Christian romance at all, and I'm not sure what might be different there.)
 

Sonya Heaney

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
565
Reaction score
78
Location
Canberra
It's completely normal to have both the hero's and the heroine's point of view in a romance. If you aren't aware of this, I'd STRONGLY recommend you read some more books in the genre (to do a good job, a person should have to have read dozens - if not hundreds - of books in a genre before attempting to write it). All of my books have both points of view, and - honestly - many romance readers will give you the side-eye if you don't include two perspectives.
 

Sonya Heaney

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
565
Reaction score
78
Location
Canberra
This one is going to be, like most M/F romances (shouldn't I say F/M really?), a female-driven story for a primarily female audience, there's no doubt the young woman is the main character. So probably most of the major scenes will automatically fall to her POV...

How do you deal with multiple POV in romance--how do you make those decisions of which scene goes to whom? It strikes me as somewhat different from some other genres because the major scenes in the story don't just involve both characters, for the characters they are about each other if that makes sense... For FMC the scene is about MMC. For MMC the scene is about FMC. This one is going to be, like most M/F romances (shouldn't I say F/M really?), a female-driven story for a primarily female audience, there's no doubt the young woman is the main character. So probably most of the major scenes will automatically fall to her POV... but should it be so automatic? What happens when a scene is hugely significant in both their journeys?

Two things about this:

#1 Yes, women might be reading it more than men, but you'd be surprised where the readers expect the focus to be. Ideally (in a dual POV book), it should be about 50/50. Why? Because women want to meet and fall in love with the hero, and they want to know why he loves the heroine.

#2 Deciding who to give the POV to in a scene is down to which character has the most to learn/lose/gain. Whose stakes are the highest at that point? If it's both, split the scene in the middle. I do that all the time.

However, what you really need to do is start reading the genre you want to write. If you're an avid reader you absorb a lot of this knowledge without being taught the "rules". I'm a published romance author now, but I'd read a thousand romances before I submitted anything to my publisher. Editors know when they have a newbie approaching them. Every genre has conventions authors need to understand.
 

SwallowFeather

Oops I just swallowed a feather
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
241
Location
In the wilds of Illinois.
I have been struggling to think of an answer to this, because it's something I don't think too much about...I just naturally do it? I think I've seen some advice that says to write it from the POV of the person who has the most at stake, but my brain doesn't really think that way.

I would never write a scene from both POVs, though I may switch in the middle with a break. If it helps you to think about things, then by all means do it as practice! But it is not really something I come across in books.



So the romance audience is mostly (but not exclusively) female, yes. But I wouldn't say that m/f romance is primarily female-driven? Some might be, but I usually see the man and woman as being of equal importance in the romances I write. It's BOTH of their stories...not her story with him as the love interest. There are even, in fact, some very popular contemporary m/f romances entirely from the man's POV.

I do have one book that I see more as her story than his...but POV is still close to 50/50 in this case, partly because the way he sees her is important? It was important to me to show her from his POV.

If something is very crucial to both of their journeys, then I will probably have a break somewhere in the scene to switch POVs...or have the event in one POV and the immediate reaction to it in the other POV, for example.

(Now, of course, I say all this with the caveat that I don't read Christian romance at all, and I'm not sure what might be different there.)

Thank you. This makes a lot of sense. Especially the idea of showing the way he sees her (which of course is going to be important to a reader who may be identifying with her.) The question of whose story it is is interesting. The truth is (in my case) it was her story, till I started understanding his story better, and now I'm not sure--it may be both.

I really do like the idea of splitting some crucial scenes down the middle and it's good to hear it's something you've done.

I've got a few Christian romances lined up now to read, so we'll see if I find similar or different, but I think really it's probably going to be similar.

I have to admit the 50/50 idea is a real hurdle for me though. I have a lot of plot planned. There's courier missions and guerrilla warfare, people get shot, all of it is integral to the heroine's journey... it's not the type of book that has a lot of margin in it. I'm real worried that even 30/70 or something would push me over my publisher's preferred wordcount range. That's my own problem to solve of course, I'm just worried about it.
 

Jan74

Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
1,072
Reaction score
134
Location
Canada
I think sometimes jumping to the other pov is a great way to move the story forward, as a reader I don't need to know both pov on the same scene, unless of course it crucial for me to know the other pov. I have to say as a reader, I actually prefer to read the male pov more in the romance than the female pov.

I've really enjoyed this thread!
 

Earthling

I come in peace
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Messages
1,210
Reaction score
190
In m/f I start with the heroine's perspective for chapter 1, then the hero's for chapter 2, and so on. I like a very clear break between POVs and I like the 'screen time' to be roughly equal. I write how I like to read, and I don't like books that hop POV too much or that have wildly imbalanced POVs. If the hero's point of view only pops up now and then, it jars me and feels shoehorned.

I second what KBooks said - I would strongly recommend not showing the same scene from both points of view. I've read a few manuscripts that did that and it was really annoying to read.
 

polishmuse

I'm a cookie
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
Messages
687
Reaction score
99
Location
Fort Nabisco
Jumping in here to this great discussion.
One way to plot out who does what is to figure out what changes in each scene, who knows what, etc. My agent makes me reverse outline projects to show what happens in each scene, what changes, and what secrets or unknowns exist from whose POV. The same can work from the prewriting stage. Figuring out the physical plot (FMC and MMC meet, blah blah) but also the emotional arc (FMC used to, now she..., he doesn't know ...., he finds out...) can help figure out who does which scene. Readers love to feel like they're given inside knowledge that the other characters may not have access to, which is one of the great tensions of dual POV romances done right-- we get to see the tension from the inside from those secrets and changes throughout.
Completely ditto the "don't tell the scene from both POVs".
Hope that makes sense. Didn't have enough coffee today.
 

Roxxsmom

Beastly Fido
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Messages
20,235
Reaction score
4,148
Location
Where faults collide
Website
doggedlywriting.blogspot.com
For some reason, it's sort of "cool" to dis romance. I'm not sure why--maybe it's the bosomy and manchesty covers that once characterized the genre. Maybe it's because it's targeted so towards women (and everything woman-focused is lower status in our culture). Maybe it's because our society embraces cynicism, so a genre that unapologetically embraces happy endings that most see as "unrealistic" is seen as frivolous. But this forum is about taking romance writing seriously and respectfully.

I am guessing there is plenty out there that is good and entertaining in romance of varying styles and subgenres. Quality is a very subjective thing, but I've found plenty of well-written and entertaining books in the romance categories I prefer, even some that are self published by the authors (this option is fairly popular in romance nowadays). Whether or not the books currently being written are to your tastes is another question, of course, and it's one you should pursue

If you can't stand anything that's been published in Christian romance over the past five years, that's useful information too. Then you get to decide what you don't like about it and whether or not you can write something that is "better" by your standards that will still attract the genre's core readers. Also consider whether or not you really want to write in a genre you dislike, and consider whether or not your story is "really" a romance, or is some other genre. I only say this because we get a lot of posters here who want to publish non-romance stories as romances.

I think a good general rule of thumb for deciding from whose pov to portray a scene is to determine who has the most at stake in a given scene. Other factors, like whose hiding what from whom (with consideration of what the reader needs to know at that moment in the story) can also factor in.

There are ways of establishing patterns too, like alternating chapters or whatever, but they can be rather confining if the story doesn't flow that way.
 

SwallowFeather

Oops I just swallowed a feather
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
1,053
Reaction score
241
Location
In the wilds of Illinois.
In m/f I start with the heroine's perspective for chapter 1, then the hero's for chapter 2, and so on. I like a very clear break between POVs and I like the 'screen time' to be roughly equal. I write how I like to read, and I don't like books that hop POV too much or that have wildly imbalanced POVs. If the hero's point of view only pops up now and then, it jars me and feels shoehorned.

I second what KBooks said - I would strongly recommend not showing the same scene from both points of view. I've read a few manuscripts that did that and it was really annoying to read.

I'm curious--would you prefer a romance with only 1 POV to a romance with 2 POVs but a big imbalance? Or would you simply be more likely to put the book down b/c of either of those?
 

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn image for Thanksgiving