1. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    POV's and tying subplots together

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Protar, May 23, 2011.

    So I'm writing a book and I'm pretty set on having at least a dual POV but I've been toying with the idea of having more than that. So I've got 2 questions.

    One: What would you say is the ideal amount of POV's?

    Two: How do I tie the different plot lines for each POV together? Is there any specific way of doing it? I can't really have all POV's in the same place else it'll take away much of the variety that I'm looking for. But I also need them to mesh together.
     
  2. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    Good question.

    I know it's beating a dead horse (with me at least) but the novel Soon I Will Be Invincible is exactly what you're looking for.

    Honestly, I can't tell you an ideal POV because I've read novels/watched movies with 2-4 POVs and they were great. However, I think Vantage Point had like 6-7 POVs and that got a little redundant. In the end, it comes down to how well each character intertwines with the overarching story. If there is one character with a small role that doesn't have much weight in the overarching plot then their POV will be wasted. Every character has to have a great level of significance worthy of the reader's attention.

    Merging plot lines is completely up to you. It depends on the story you have written. For example, let's say you are just doing two POVs, a police officer and a serial killer. Let's say the serial killer targets a person in the officer's apartment complex and kills someone. From there, you'll have to write about the murder's POV and then the officer's POV as he is awakened by the screaming or whatnot. You really need to find links that one or many of the characters have been at and then give the others a reason to visit it.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    That's like asking "What is the ideal story?" There is no ideal number of POVs. Some writers - Tom Clancy springs to mind - use many POVs in a given novel. How you tie plot lines together for each POV strikes me as putting it backwards. Tie your plot lines together for your overall story, and the POVs will march in line (as long as you're writing in a logical and consistent manner).

    I honestly don't understand the flood of threads on POV. There seems to be an assumption out there that there are lots of rules about it, but there aren't, really. Using two or more POVs makes it easier to tell a more sweeping story, as long as you always make it clear to the reader whose POV is being shown at any given time. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    Your subplots don't have to tie in (at least not overtly) if you don't want to. If there's a general theme to your book, or a specific period, you could get away with not merging the plots. But in this case, I guess you'd have to limit the number of POVs more.
     
  5. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    I agree with EdFromNY. There is no right or wrong to this answer. Some novels are good from multiple points of view and others are not. Some first person and others third, etc.

    That being said, I think novice writers too quickly embrace multiple points of view. My first novel had like 10 POVs and people started getting really confused and not being able to follow my story anymore. The more POVs you add, the more you risk this and also . . . . . .

    Having only one point of view is actually pretty awesome. I usually force myself to have only one now and my writing is better because of it. Because readers don't need to know EVERYTHING that is happening while its happening. It's often more interesting and exciting when there's more mystery to the story and that's easily accomplished by having one POV that's limited.

    When I write a romance, I do not use both POVs, that way my readers are just as confused and in suspense about what the other character is thinking as the main character is.

    If I'm writing about a mysterious murder, its more interesting not to ever write from the killers perspective and instead to leave clues that lead you in the wrong direction initially and make you slap yourself in the forehead when you find out the truth along with the main character.

    When you find out that the main character's best friend has been betraying her through out the whole story and had no knowledge about it like she had no knowledge, then you are just as hurt by it as she is.

    So on and so forth.

    Not telling you not to have multiple points of view, just know that not spelling out everything to the audience and having them discover things about people while the main character does can make a story very interesting.
     
  6. roseberryse
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    roseberryse Member

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    I'd have to agree that no one can give you an exact number not to exceed, but be careful. There are times I have put books down because I'm just so sick of jumping around. Most people love reading because the love the characters, and staying away from one for too long could be a disservice to your reader -- just a thought.
     
  7. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Thanks for all your advice everyone. I know there's not an ideal amount but I just wanted some opinions. @ Katica, there's still going to be some mystery of course as not many characters are getting POV chapters. I think I'm going with four. It's not very much so it shouldn't be too hard to pull off. The first two POV's are going to focus on the main story. The third is going to be a subplot that ties somewhat into the main story and also gives some stuff for later books. The fourth POV is going to be a separate story which is going to meet up with main one later on (should I get to writing more than one book.).
     

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