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  1. H L McCullock

    H L McCullock New Member

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    Multiple Viewpoint Story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by H L McCullock, Nov 12, 2016.

    Hi

    When I first joined earlier in the year, I posted about a story that I have had in my mind for a long time. I then started university and the story took a backseat.

    Originally, my idea was to explore the idea of an emotional affair, focusing purely on the two characters and how this affair ripples through their own lives. I wanted to try and capture their feelings about never sleeping together and the stress and torture of this endless cycle of being in love with someone else but constantly going home to their partner because it is viewed as the 'right thing to do.'

    My question is, what do people think about me adding the two spouses' points of view to see how the affair affects them? I have also toyed with the idea of one spouse being fully aware of what's going on, and one spouse being oblivious.

    It's important to me that the readers don't hate the two main characters, nor pity their partners. I want the story to celebrate the friendship and love they have for each other, feel their pain that they can't be together, but then also, when they read the chapters where they are with their partners, understand why they have stayed.

    I'd really appreciate any feedback on this idea.

    Thanks
     
  2. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    To be honest, it depends on the reader.

    For me, I will automatically dislike your affair characters because they are having an affair (even if it's solely kept an emotional and not physical one)

    You have characters that deep down are disloyal to their partners, whom they had made a commitment to and took marriage vows.

    You could potentially soften it, if the spouses somehow are horrible people—abusive, manipulative, unfaithful themselves, the marriage was arranged or forced, et cetera

    But it sounds to me you are trying to write a more nuanced and common tale, where the two simply no longer love their spouses

    And that's fine. God knows how many films me and my grandmother have watched with the simple but poignant emotional drama of such a story

    But there will always be people like me who will automatically dislike your characters, no matter how "likeable" in other attributes and character, because that is a big no-no for us. Maybe they're like me where loyalty is a huge deal in their life—they're insanely loyal, so why shouldn't your characters be? Maybe they're like my best friend where they've personally been scarred by an affair or marital fall-out.

    We're likely to dislike the affaires and to pity or sympathize/empathize with the spouses

    You just have to accept that as an outcome, but carry on anyway.

    Tell the story you want to tell, and tell it the way you want to tell it. Not everyone will agree with you, but that's how it goes. It doesn't make your story less valid or worth telling
     
    Catrin Lewis and Carly Berg like this.
  3. Crend

    Crend New Member

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    I'd never look down on a character that cheats, since I can suspend my own emotions while reading. Not sure how anyone would read Game of Thrones if they kept whingeing about how detestable a lot of the protagonists are.
     
  4. Parker101

    Parker101 Member

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    I think adding the viewpoints of the two spouses, if only in short bursts, is a really good idea. Writing a novel from 4 different viewpoints obviously presents its own challenges, but if the story were only from the viewpoints of the two central characters, then it might almost evolve into a situation where their spouses become distant and almost filler characters. The idea of having one knowing what's going on and the other being oblivious is fascinating too, and will really bring the moral aspect into the story. If the views of all four characters are given I feel that readers won't look down on any of them, unless you give them good reason to. Good luck writing this, there's nothing quite so satisfying as finishing a project you've had in mind for years.
     
    H L McCullock likes this.
  5. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Seems to me the more nuanced intention would be to get the reader to sympathize with all four of the characters. Convince her/him it's an impossible situation they're all in (It isn't actually impossible if people would make some hard decisions, but I gather that's not your story.) Let the reader go away full of sighs about la belle amour and la tristesse (sadness), lamenting the hardness of Fate, etc., etc. (French authors have traditionally been very good at this sort of thing.)

    If you like that idea, putting in the spouses' POVs can lend a good deal of heart-tugging irony. Say, if one of the MCs tells the other that her husband doesn't love her, but we see from his POV that he does but doesn't know how to show it, that could be very effective emotionally.

    If you want to stick to your original idea, you probably shouldn't put in the spouses' POVs. Not unless you plan to do your own authorial cheating and set them up as stick figures and effigies.
     
  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    GoT is a very different genre to what the OP is contemplating though , in the 'books about relationships' genre people tend to want at least one PoV character with whom they can sympathise .. if both of they key characters are cheating then that may be difficult (although having feelings for someone other than your spouse and not acting on them isn't as unsympathetic as picking up a different skank every Friday behind her back)
     
  7. H L McCullock

    H L McCullock New Member

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    Hi everyone

    I really appreciate all the feedback. I agree now, that perhaps not everyone is going to like my characters. I need to make a decision to either tweak the idea to enable readers to like all characters as much as possible or, accept that it is not going to work out that way and roll with it!
     
    Parker101 likes this.
  8. texshelters

    texshelters Active Member

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    Frankly, a little hate for a character might be good for the reader. I don't know. The trick is making the characters multifaceted as all humans are, not saints nor sinners, only human. How would your character really respond to the situation? Character sketches help me here. There is no correct response to an affair, only human ones.

    Granted, I'm new to novel writing, and my input is worth what you paid for it. Good luck. It sounds like a challenge!

    Peace,
    Tex Shelters
     
    H L McCullock likes this.

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