1. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    Using multiple POVs

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by michaelj, Mar 18, 2012.

    In my story I've copied george martins approach to add multiple POVs, because of this there is no real hero in the story. Has anyone else tried this approach?
     
  2. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    If you got the characters, go for it. I actually don't know if he writes in third person or first as those books are on my wish list.

    There are plenty of books out there with switching POVs. Now, my personal preferences as a reader, I actually don't appreciate it if it's just between two or so characters unless there is a reason for it, i.e distance or something or when it's short scenes and chapter because I find it jarring as all nonsense, but that's my personal feelings on it.

    I haven't ever written with multiple POVs. Not on purpose at least, I've got a handful of scenes that I need to figure out how to fit in the right POV.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've used multiple POVs for me it is more challenging than have one. Giving each a distinct voice and remembering that each character sees different characters differently is difficult.

    With my large cast with no real hero/or villain I did it first person and filtered everyone through the same POV character.
     
  4. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I haven't read George Martins, so I am a bit confuse here. Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that POVs means broadly first person, second person and third person. Are you saying you are mixing two or more of those POVs? I think you got to be a very competent writer to pull it off. However, if you mean multiple viewpoint characters (the writer is privy to the minds of those characters), then it is not necessary that the viewpoint characters should all be heroes or otherwise. What the minor characters (or, supporting cast, in terms of movies) think, hear, see should contribute towards the progress of the hero's story. If you keep this in mind while you head-hop, you'll definitely have a hero.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Narrative = first, second, third.
    POV = is the character/person doing the narration.
     
  6. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    hmmm I don't want to derail this thread discussion, but for the sake of all the people like me who may be a bit confuse :)

    Elgaisma, what I understand is:

    POV= first person narrative, second person narrative, third person narrative.

    Viewpoint characters= The characters whose senses the writer is using to communicate with the readers, these characters may or may not be the narrator depending on the choice of POV.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry I was wrong not sure where my brain was lol I was trying to keep it simple. Narrative mode encorporates all that is the style and voice of a piece of work.

    First, second, third is the narrative point of view.

    The narrative voice is what determines who tells the story, how many narrators etc. ie is it omniescent, limited, reliable, epistolary, stream of consciousness etc Which is where the point of view and voice overlap.

    The narrator is usually either the viewpoint character or author
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    killbill - what you're listing as "POV" is actually narrative voice. The POV character(s) are those characters through whom we are seeing the story unfold, regardless of which narrative voice is used.
     
  9. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I guess I will have to read and clarify my doubts elsewhere. Thanks for the replies and apologies to the OP.
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I almost always use multiple povs, I find it too boring and single sided using just one and my stories seem to almost demand a multiple perspective. I think that makes it more interesting, but then I write about love, relationships and stuff like that and there are no "heros" in my stories so I guess that is why, lol. I use third person pov for my stories, have never written from first person actually, except for the first draft of my first novel, which I later rewrote to third.

    edit: in a future story I'm going to experiment with 6 different povs, I'm looking forward to that :)
     
  11. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    I haven't tried it, but I intend to; I've read books like that, and as will be intoned routinely on most threads around here, it depends on your level of skill whether you can make it work. (Some enterprising mod should just make that an automated thread reply.) I think it's a good idea; it's like circling an opponent to get a target always seeing more from different angles; it gives in general a fuller picture of motives and feelings. But like you said, it generally precludes individual heroes. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. Depending on your type of genre you may want to make it one person against the world, and focus on him as he struggles heroically; other times you may want to show everyone sympathetically, or more commonly, follow multiple storylines. I tend to follow one character in particular throughout a story. (But don't take my advice unless you want to risk ending up like me.)
     
  12. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    I'm currently using this myself for my WIP (an epic fantasy.), and I've also been directly inspired by Martin. I'm using 9 POV characters (seven main story POV's and two one offs for the prologue and epilogue.). I think it's one of the best approaches especially for large, sprawling stories as it gives multiple different views for the tale and lets the character see more of it. I think an important thing to do is to make sure these characters aren't just a pair of eyes in a choice location. Breathe the character's personality, thoughts and opinions into the chapter so each is distinct. And if you find an important event happening away from your POV's, try not to just throw in a new viewpoint character. Instead think up a creative way of getting your characters to the event, or at least having them hear about it.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Only use as many POVs as you need to tell the story you wish to tell.

    Maybe there is no character who is present in every scene you need to present, so you switch your POVs such that you have full scene coverage. Or maybe you need different interpretations of the same scene.

    Every switch of POV requires the reader to make the transition as well. Spare your readers that disruption unless you have a compelling reason that outweighs the disadvantage of dislodging the reader's focus.

    There are good reasons for swiotching POVs. Just make sure you know what YOUR reason is, and that you have weighed the costs against the benefits.
     
  14. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    I'm making the POV characters try to link in with the main story. I think i'm having 4 pov chars maybe 5 tops, its gotta be done in a way that the main story won't just drift further and further away..
     

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