1. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Can there be more than one POV character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Annihilation, Dec 10, 2015.

    I made a thread a few days ago about a certain death of one of my POV characters and found it weird that I have three other POV characters who don't even know each other. That is why throughout the story, it shifts between their "personal story" inside the overall story.

    I was wondering, what are your thoughts on this writing style? Do you think it is an effective way to write the novel?
     
  2. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    This is how GRR Martin wrote the "song of ice and fire" (game of thrones) series and its seems to be going ok for him.
     
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  3. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's certainly doable and has been done successfully. Shifting POV during scenes is usually a bad idea, but shifting with scene breaks and chapter breaks isn't uncommon. Just make sure the reader always knows who she/he is in any given scene and you're good to go.

    This can allow multiple different biased perspectives to slant the same events in different ways. Gives you interesting options to play with. Sometimes those options benefit a story, sometimes they don't. All depends on what you're looking to accomplish.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes, lots of books shift around between different characters' POVs.
     
  5. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    It can certainly work well. GRRM has already been mentioned. He has 23 major and minor POV characters, not including the prologue and epilogue ones. A number of those major POVs have kicked the bucket so far.
     
  6. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, it's doable. People do it all the time. I do it.

    That said can also be hard, and you have to have good POVs with good voices, not make people dizzy with POV changes, etc. So there's work involved every time you add an extra layer of technique - whether that's multi-POV, non-linear timeline, etc. Every time you add a new trick there's more work.

    That said - do it if you like it. I'm doing both multi-POV and non-linear. It's hard and some sequences crash and burn on first reading. But it can be superfulfilling. When it works, you feel like this....

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. uncephalized
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    uncephalized Active Member

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    I'm shifting between about a half-dozen POV characters in my WIP novel. I think it's working fine.
     
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  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Multiple POV characters have been done in hundreds, if not thousands, of books over the years. Not a problem.
     
  9. ShannonH
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    ShannonH Senior Member Supporter

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    GRRM has obviously been mentioned and is my favourite example. Just started the first novel in the 'Expanse' series and it alternates between two POV characters for every chapter.
     
  10. AmberPenglass
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    AmberPenglass New Member

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    I actually find it more difficult to stick to one POV. I think it can be more difficult to keep the story moving, keep things interesting, when you're only working with one as opposed to multiple. So long as POV changes are clearly marked (to each their own on how this is done), and each one is sufficiently long enough to be worth the time invested in the change, I tend to find it a superior writing method depending on the genre/topic/etc.

    The challenge, I think, comes in when writers get carried away with POVs, and the number of characters increases until you start to lose track of what's going on with who. Since Martin has already been referenced, I'll stick with him; I think he does a good job overall, but there's been a number of times when we've returned to a character that we haven't seen in awhile, whose story might not connect with anyone else's (at that point) and suddenly I'm in need of a refresher, which kills a lot of my reading momentum.

    If you want one of the best (IMO) examples of multiple POV storytelling, look up The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Just my two cents. :-D
     
  11. Kayla's Labyrinth
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    Kayla's Labyrinth New Member

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    I agree that it is workable to have multiple POV. Even Dracula was multiple POV. I remember it switching from diary entries to correspondence, to another characters diary, etc. As long as it's clear when the POV switches.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can absolutely have multiple POV characters. I tend to dislike novels that have too many of them, like, for example, all of the Game of Thrones novels. But that's purely a taste and preference thing.
     
  13. Wolfy Snackrib
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    Wolfy Snackrib Member

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    A franchise of novels I plan to write in the distant future have probably around 8 POV's and I'm hoping that that won't be regarded as something that breaks the writing or the reading in general. It seems like it would be alright when I think about it anyways.
     

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