1. Sa'di
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    Sa'di Member

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    Two Viewpoint characters?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sa'di, Jul 27, 2012.

    My story has two Viewpoint characters. Is it a serious problem?
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on how experienced and skilled you are. If done well, it's fine. If done poorly, you've just screwed up your entire novel :)
     
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  3. ThievingSix
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    If you mean the story is presented from the perspective of two separate characters, then it is fine as long as you do it well, Dan Brown did it effectively in my opinion i would read some of his books for ideas.

    As a rule i'd say if its a short story its a problem. If its a novel, its fine, but the characters should be physically separate(or it gets very difficult) and never engage in dialogue that would result in the viewpoint shifting several times in a chapter. It gets far too confusing.
     
  4. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    It works. Use a separate chapter, or at least a separate scene with a break, when you shift POV.

    You should probably use both POV early in the book. I have a problem in my novel, according to some advice, in that I don't use the 2nd POV until later. I know it would be bad if the 2nd POV character was unfamiliar. The character has been involved throughout, but not the one followed closely, so I'm not sure how serious a difficulty this is.
     
  5. epicfailpig
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    epicfailpig Member

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    Technically, having two perspectives isn't a problem. It's the presentation that can be a snag. I'd say be clear about what POV you're using, and keep the two from interchanging. The idea behind two POVs is that two perspectives are shown - and those perspectives are radically different from each other. They're like oil and water; you can attempt to mix them, but they won't merge smoothly.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I've never found it a problem, as long as both have a strong enough voice so that the reader doesn't go - who's this again?
     
  7. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    As mentioned earlier, there should be separated in some sort of fashion otherwise it's confusing and jarring to a reader.
     
  8. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    I would suggest using different chapters to separate the two voices. The chapters may be small, but it is a simple solution to break up who is speaking. Always clarify by using the person's name at the beginning of a character change-over. It should easily be able to be done.
     
  9. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    You need some type of scene break between each viewpoint. Every time you switch POV's you need to break the scene withpreferrably a new chapter. Avoid "head hopping". That is when you jump back and forth from on character to the other in the same scene.

    This is what I have to say if you write in third person, whether its limited or Omni. If you start a scene of action with say Dave, then everything in that scene should be a "Dave observation" even if Dave is talking to Jade. If Jade is the other major viewpoint character and their is a pause and a sentence about Jade that is not a "Dave observation" that is a decent segue to get into Jade's head.

    If its in first person, chapter's are essential, We can't start a chapter with Dave and finish With Jade unless its a large chapter broken into subchapters. There's no real point to that either. The "strength" of the character's voice isn't as important as the "distinction" They can have nearly the same voice as long as they have obviously different opinions and thought patterns. If Jade is a photographer and Dave is an entrepeneur, they will notice different things. to Jade the park may be a great place for pictures, while Dave may find it sublime for advertising.
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Not necessarily true. C.L. Anderson wrote a book called "Bitter Angels" that had multiple POV, some first, others third, each one a chapter with the character's name on top to differentiate. That was, singularly, the hardest, jarring read I've ever had. Even with a high level of reading comprehension, it gave a headache.
     
  11. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    That is also a good way to do it. I had not thought of that one. Some writers don't feel comfortable with first person, so I suggested that one. If they are, then that will be the better method of writing the type of work.
     
  12. Aeschylus
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    Ultimately it depends what you're writing. Dan Brown and other thriller authors can afford to have tons of viewpoint characters because he can show more about the story and have different protagonists doing different things at once, while keeping the mystery and energy going. I'm a very character-oriented writer and my writing often hinges on limited narrators and often unreliable narrators, so I'm really hesitant to use other narrators because that sacrifices the integrity of my unreliable narrator. Of course I also write in a stream-of-consciousness first person style; having multiple first person narrators can get really annoying.
     
  13. Bagabon
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    Bagabon Banned

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    Not sure if I'm wrong but I heard that the YA fantasy novels 'Witch and Wizard' switched view points each chapter between two characters. I think so at least...

    But if you do it correctly it should not be a problem. I enjoy when books switch view points, in the novel I'm working on I plan to have chapters that are in first person while the rest of the book is primarily in third person.
     

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