1. Paladin92
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    Paladin92 New Member

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    How to break up character POV chapters

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Paladin92, Feb 21, 2016.

    Hi guys,

    I am currently in the midst of starting a duology/trilogy in which I have multiple POV characters, 4 to be exact. I know there isn't necessarily a write or wrong formula to the process but what do you feel would be the best way to divide POV chapters amongst them to keep the readers interest in each of the story arcs instead of getting bored or disinterested? The reason I ask is that I have read books which will continuously switch between the POV's regularly and others where they will chunk chapters for characters together three or four at a time before returning to another POV, as well as sometimes mixing both of these methods. Therefore I am undecided in which way to tackle the switching in and out of the POV character chapters. What do you think is the best way to keep the plot for each of the characters story arcs moving at a good pace that will keep readers engaged?
     
  2. DarkusTerror
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    DarkusTerror Member

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    If your POV characters are all witnessing the same events together, then you should take some time to think about which one's POV will be most fitting for that scene. So for example, if the scene is going to be revealing something, which character will be impacted on the most? If somebody is going to die, who will react to their death more emotionally? Or alternatively, who will react to their death with a nonchalant shrug? Consideration is quite important. The other thing you can do is see which perspectives flows the most smoothly, and is least likely to confuse the reader.

    If your characters are separated and their storylines are running parallel to one another, write it in chronological order. Focusing on the perspective that occurs first will be less likely to throw off your readers on what and when things are happening.

    You could also let a beta reader to look over what you've done, and ask them to point out which character they are drawn to the most, or which perspective they are more interested in.

    I can't really offer much advice beyond that because this is a issue that I am facing a bit as well. But generally I find that following these methods helps smooth out the process a bit more.
     
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  3. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I would recommend a whole bunch of beta readers because a lot of preferences are just going to be while character they liked rather than the effectiveness of their POV representation. A character can be more involving simply because you agree with them or empathize with the situations they have encountered.
     
  4. Paladin92
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    Paladin92 New Member

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    I have got a few people who read over chapters for me when I write usually so there shouldn't be any issue with getting a mixture of people to read and alert me of any blatant flaws that they notice when reading from the different characters POV's. For the most part they are separate at the start of the tory and then further in they will become more aware of each others presence so I can use the idea of which person the scene will impact the most in the later chapters. The earlier chapters I will approach chronologically and see where that gets me. Will have to consider what order events occur in as my book series is going to be set in two worlds, that of the mortals and that of the gods whom they pray to. Thanks for the advice though guys.
     
  5. Caterwaulings
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    Caterwaulings Member

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    I think it's going to help you a lot having them start apart.

    One thing that I think would make things interesting is that they would be keeping secrets from each other. Also, brainstorm ways that they can view the world differently instead of just having different personalities. A noble will view a scorched farm differently than a milkmaid no matter what their personalities are. These different viewpoints will enrich your story.

    Also, even if they are all 'on the same team,' they could have very different ways to want to go about things. They could have different motivations and expectations which will make your story more complex and multi-layered. I have written a book from 4 POVs (it was the book I got my agent with), and I think that it worked because I made sure that everyone viewed the events differently.

    (also, hi again from your other thread...)
     
  6. Paladin92
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    Paladin92 New Member

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    As far as the seeing the world in a different way to each other goes when compared to others I think that will be a big part as the two characters I am using that are human both have extremely different religious views, one of them also being a practicing blood mage whilst the other is just a normal run of the mill war veteran, as well as both being from different kingdoms. The other two POV characters are a centaur and a lowly god so they will have a different outlook on the world just through the fact they aren't human and have different goals and things they find important then that of which humans would find important to them. Thanks for the advice though.

    Also that is cool that the book that got you an agent had the same amount of viewpoints as my own current piece. Did you divide the chapters evenly between the characters or did you find certain POV's had a larger proportion of chapters then others?
     
  7. Caterwaulings
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    Caterwaulings Member

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    Looks like you are off to a good start.

    I did divide them evenly. However, before attempting to send it to publishers she had me eliminate one POV. I think it did make my novel stronger, although it ultimately did not sell.
     
  8. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my WIP there is a scene where two characters talk about what they will be doing the next day. I chose to write it from 1 character's POV because the majority of the interactions will be from the 2 character's POV.

    Now, I could make the conversation from either POV, as the point if it is information for the reader. I choose to give 1 char the scene because their state of mind will be known to the reader in the next scene, even though it is from 2 chars POV.
     
  9. Tyler Montyson
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    Tyler Montyson New Member

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    Rick Riordan does this rather well in his Heroes of Olympus series. Basically, he gives each character the same amount of chapters, and gives logical transitions between POVs. For example, the story is told in A's POV until A is thrown into the sea. After that, B's POV is shown.

    I believe that you have to focus on developing each character, and giving them each something unique to bring to the table. You seem to be doing that well.
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't make the mistake I spotted in a debut authors book: forcing a strict order: a,b,c,d, a,b,c,d... in her case this didn't work very well because sometimes it meant she caught up with a character even though there was nothing happening in that characters life at that point. At other times the calendar became totally screwed up so in one scene from Character A's pov it was july, and in the next, for character B it was still May. This caused a really weird effect when I read. So I'd say bring in each character when it's really necessary, not because you have to follow a certain sequence. If that means some characters have more chapters than other, so be it. Its not the end of the world, as long as it benefits the story. :)
     

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