1. texshelters
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    texshelters Member

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    Multiple Viewpoints

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by texshelters, Jan 10, 2017.

    My novel has multiple character viewpoints at the beginning, but I only switch at the end of the chapters and go back to the main protagonist on several occasions and she takes over at the end. Anybody else working on a novel with multiple viewpoints? There are four overlapping characters at the beginning until one gets killed and the other disappears. Then there are two who collide at the end.

    This article is a good primer to the topic.
    http://www.novel-writing-help.com/multiple-viewpoint-novel.html


    Peace,
    Tex
     
  2. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    My second novel alternates between two MC's. Partway through the book I add a third (the villain).
    My female MC is the uber-main character and the story starts and ends with her.
    By shifting POV with each chapter I was able to paint contrasting pictures of each MC. It was fun having each examine the other without their direct knowledge.
    The villain brings tension to the story because you see him creeping ever closer to the other two but you aren't sure when he will actually attack. I liked doing this far better than just springing his arrival on the reader partway through the book.

    I have a WIP that takes place in a snowbound diner that I am toying shifting viewpoints through each character as the story progresses. That may be too challenging and/or hard to follow for the reader however.
     
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  3. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Damn! Lost another one. :P Contributor

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    I am sure it will be fine the way you are doing it now.
    I juggle 3 MCs, but in a different way than the norm.
    They are first POV , labeled and separated by time/space
    markers when not in close proximity to each other.

    But the dividing by chapters angle is the most common,
    and accepted form when dealing with multi-POVs. :)
     
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  4. texshelters
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    texshelters Member

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    That is very brave. I here first persons with multiple main characters is very hard. I won't try that for a while. Thanks! Peace, Tex
     
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  5. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Damn! Lost another one. :P Contributor

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    @texshelters Well that is how it wanted to be written, so I went with it.
    But you are right, it is hard. Only about 44k into it's sequel. :)
     
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  6. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I did multiple 3rd limited POVs (over ten), but a POV shift also included a distinct shift in location. Mostly but not exclusively, this happened in distinct chapters.

    If I had a first POV, however, I think I would limit that to just one, everyone else 3rd limited. There should be no ambiguity over who "I" is
     
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  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I recently picked up Agatha Christie's The Body In The Library, and was startled to realize that Christie does what looks to me like a rapid-fire third person limited head-hopping style, and that it works beautifully. The change of viewpoint is so rapid as to make me assume that the POV is omniscient, but paragraph by paragraph, it doesn't feel that way. Perhaps this is just a form of omniscient POV, but the strict policy of sticking to only what one character knows, within that character's brief section, doesn't feel that way.

    For example, it starts with Dolly Bantry dozing and hearing the early-morning noises of the house--and we're clearly inside Dolly's head. We don't know why the hallway footsteps are early and rapid, we don't know anything until Dolly hears and, when opening her eyes, sees it.

    Then we abruptly, without notice or break, go to Colonel Bantry's point of view, which again feels like third person limited.

    Then we have a brief interlude, with a break (just a single blank line), with Constable Palk and his wife. Here we do feel a distant omniscient; we hear him and see him, but we don't ever enter his head. Interesting.

    Another blank line, and we're with Miss Marple, immediately inside her head ("The sound of it flurried her a little...") and not knowing anything she doesn't know.

    The next section is almost all inside Miss Marple's head, but for a couple of paragraphs we leap into Constable Palk again--this time inside his head, not observing him. ("The inspector, he reflected, need never know about it." And later, "True to his ingrained belief that the gentry didn't let you down...")

    Then Colonel Bantry again. And so on, and so on.

    And, IMO, it works beautifully.
     
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  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Damn! Lost another one. :P Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak
    That sounds like insanity, especially if they are not in close proximity. How does one make sense of all that
    head hopping? It is as if everybody who is character gets to tell the story, so why leave out the rest of the town?
    Sounds like too much going on, and to keep track of. Either that or I am not use to such flights of madness.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It works, I assert! You can read the beginning on Amazon; it has a "look inside" for one edition. Though I am interested to see that they slapped break numbers into what, in my copy, are just blank lines.
     
  10. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Damn! Lost another one. :P Contributor

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    @ChickenFreak It is a little weird, but I see your point using the page breaks.
     
  11. texshelters
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    texshelters Member

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    Book two of my series is clearly from one point of few, the hero of book one. PTxS Thanks.
     
  12. Jacquesari
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    Jacquesari Member

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    Yes, I have two on the go that have multiple POV. One has two 1st person POV that alternate quite rapidly, sometimes mid-conversation (that they are having with each other).
    Another has four I think, but more conventional divided by chapters mostly. The last book actually has five MC and actually centres on the person not getting a POV.
    One thing I sometimes have an issue with is that it can be hard to give each character a distinctive sense of self.
     
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  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you really mean a FIRST person POV that rapidly alternates? Not third?

    As in

    I hit Jane.
    John hit me! I stomped on his foot.
    "My TOES!" I screamed, and threw the pie at her.
    My vision obscured by meringue, I...

    ??
     
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  14. Jacquesari
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    Jacquesari Member

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    Yes, I did mean 1st person POV, but not quite THAT rapidly! More like half a page, then a blank line and then the POV changes. Cause and reaction sort of thing, I guess. The new POV often starts by repeating the last action in the previous POV's narrative, showing it from the other POV.
    A bit confusing I know, but it's sort of an exercise for me to get into the heads of my characters rather than a serious novel, but there are bits where it works surprisingly well and there's something there, I think.
    :)
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, yeah, I was horrified at the idea and then started to dimly view possibilities while writing my weird sample. Not possibilities in the sample, but in the idea.
     
  16. making tracks
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    making tracks New Member

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    The first time I was really struck by a writer using multiple POV was reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. I had read other books with it before, but I had never seen it used to create four such completely different and well-rounded voices.

    It made me realise that in some previous novels I had read, although the plot development might be seen differently according to each character, the style of their thinking and internal monologue was very similar. Nick Hornby made them sound like four very different people from completely varying walks of life by using differing language styles and even writing formats for each of them, and by letting them think about things which were important to each of them, not just the main plot.

    So I do really enjoy novels with different POV, but it made me aware that it's important to remember that not everyone's inner thoughts will have the same tone to them as each other.
     
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  17. texshelters
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    texshelters Member

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    Great suggestion! I haven't read that one. Peace, Tex
     
  18. Reed R Gale
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    Reed R Gale Member

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    I'm helping beta read for a fanfiction online and this is the piece that I feel so many writers miss: different characters think differently. And as such, you should write them differently so you can see the different inner thoughts. But it is stupidly difficult to step outside of your own thoughts.

    Makes you wonder about all the effort that goes into making each characters POV feel uniquely like that character... :0
     
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