1. Berniemeister

    Berniemeister New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1

    Moving from one POV to another

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Berniemeister, Dec 1, 2016.

    What is your approach to writing multiple points of view into your novel? And how you determine when to bounce from one POV to another?
     
  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,212
    Location:
    London, UK
    I separate POVs by chapter, and to keep a balance I alternate. So Chapter 1 - female MC POV. Chapter 2 - male MC POV. Rinse and repeat.

    A VERY clear delineation of POVs is my strong preference as a reader, and I tend to write the way I like to read. Other readers don't have the same preference, or as strongly.

    I did experiment with separating by scenes, and having multiple POVs per chapter, but beta readers had the same reaction I would have: that it was often confusing and they didn't know whose head they were in. Rather than force a concrete clue into the first sentence of each scene, I abandoned that structure.

    I will never mix POVs in a scene or, even worse, in a paragraph/sentence. I don't think that is ever a good idea.

    I determine when to switch by asking myself who is best placed to tell each part of the story. From which POV is it more interesting? From which POV can we learn more about the character? Will it create more tension to keep the reader guessing about Character 1's inner thoughts in this scene, or Character 2's?
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,854
    Likes Received:
    11,675
    I switch at either chapter breaks or scene breaks.

    I think if you're writing first person you have to be a bit more careful about super-clear delineations. When writing 3rd person, using the character's name is usually enough to help the reader get oriented.
     
  4. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3,414
    Likes Received:
    2,923
    My Urban Fantasy only uses one narrator, but for my Doctor Who fanfic's 5 protagonists: sometimes I would only use one POV for a chapter, but if I did use 2 POVs for the same chapter, I would split them up with dashes (though asterisks would also work)

    **

    For deciding which character(s) to use, the first thing I always ask myself is "Do any of my characters experience anything that my other characters don't?"

    This includes "Does anything happen to one character that doesn't happen to the others," but also "Does one character react to what happens in a uniquely interesting way compared to the others?"

    **

    I'd also recommend keeping track of how many words each character gets over the course of their chapters.

    Anytime I found myself neglecting one of my protagonists over the course of my writing, I would always force myself to try coming up with places to use him again.

    It didn't work out to perfect evenness, my word count for the protagonists ended up being

    20,000
    15,250
    12,750
    8,000
    7,000
    But it could've been even more lopsided if I hadn't been paying attention.

    Anything can be made to work, and wildly lopsided POVs are no different, but you need to be doing it on purpose.
     
  5. Viridian

    Viridian Member Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2015
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    288
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I use a different POV for each chapter - I currently have three POV's on the go and may have to go with a fourth and maybe fifth, depending how the story goes - though I would prefer to stick with three. I don't particularly like it when a POV changes mid paragraph, I find it disrupting, though that could simply be because I write, therefore it stands out to me - I notice the switch like a big glaring lightbulb whereas when I was just a reader that sort of thing never bothered me in the slightest. Its also important to maintain a balance between the POV's, as @Simpson17866 said, though I don't necessarily think you should worry too much about word count per chapter or that you should force it - the head hopping should flow naturally with the story and if one particular POV needs more word count then so be it.

    Of course you may prefer to do things differently, and that's fine as long as it works and doesn't confuse the reader - just experiment and see what works for you ;)
     
  6. hirundine

    hirundine Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2016
    Messages:
    652
    Likes Received:
    1,039
    For my novel I'm writing from one character's point of view per scene. So if I want to change the point of view, I start a new scene.
     
  7. Berniemeister

    Berniemeister New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    I guess what I was really asking in the original question is how do you reach a decision to change the POV. At any point in the narrative, you have many options--many ways you can tell the story. What makes you choose the option to change the POV?
     
  8. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2016
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    123
    1) Which character's inner state (thoughts and emotions) I want to relate.
    2) Which character would know or experience what I want the reader to know about.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice