1. jmh105

    jmh105 Member

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    Plot summary for book with two POVS?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by jmh105, May 19, 2017.

    Hey, everyone,

    My project will be written from the point of view of two separate characters, whose plotlines converge and separate in a way that measures character development of one character against the other. They both live in the same place, but their perspectives often take them elsewhere until they meet again in a significant way.

    Is there any special way to write a plot summary that incorporates both characters while making it clear that the story will be told through both of their perspectives in separate chapters?

    I am looking for more of a general answer because I don't have anything clearly set-in-stone for my story. There are so many kinks to work out, so I feel like I will benefit the most from guidance that could fit any novel with the two-person structure I proposed. Even so, if you guys need more clarity or specifics to answer this question, let me know and I will try my best. :D

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Contributing Member

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    Not really, no. The summary is the same no matter the number of POVs. You just summarize whatever is relevant for plot and characters. Bing bing boom...
     
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  3. Teresa Mendes

    Teresa Mendes Member

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  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    When you say "summary" what do you mean? A synopsis for an agent or publisher? A blurb for the back cover? A longer blurb to put on Amazon and other websites?
     
  5. jmh105

    jmh105 Member

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    Thanks for your advice, everyone!

    I am thinking more of a blurb to the back cover or whatever people see when looking up the book. Teresa Mendes posted a link to what I had in mind. :)
     
  6. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Are you making a heavy weather journey over the fact that you have two POV characters, @jmh105 ? That's not unusual at all. In fact, many books have more than two POV characters. I wouldn't worry about it at this stage. Just get your story written. Then, after you've finished, look at what you've got and decide how best to summarise it. Perhaps something along the lines of "Mary wants (this) to happen, but Paul wants (something else instead.) Can they both get what they want, and still manage to stay married?"

    I would caution you to be careful on one particular point, though. Be cautious about showing the same events through the eyes of two different characters. I discovered (having done this myself) that readers can get bored living through an event a second time, from the POV of a different character. I know it sounds appealing (two different perspectives, right?) but apparently it doesn't work all that well in practice. The reader can get annoyed, because they realise 'hey, I already know what happens here.'

    It might be a better idea to have one character simply reference or react to something that happened, without re-running the actual event in 'real time.' That way you can create a different perspective and get the second character's opinion of the event and the other character, without putting the reader through the same event twice.
     
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  7. Micheal

    Micheal Member

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    Try to avoid keeping going over the same situation, from different characters point of view, going back repeating what has happened with a different character, is okay once or twice.. but try to push the story along by jumping from one character to another, a few paragraphs or page from one person, side of the situation.. then next page, or a few paragraphs continue the situation from the other character, so the reader knows what is going on, seeing a progress of the situation, but seeing the point of view from different sides at the same time.
     
  8. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok, this is one I've not heard before. From context I take it to mean...deliberating over? worrying about? Perhaps "making a big deal of"?
     
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  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    To give another opinion, I recently read a book that took this approach (flipped between POV characters every few paragraphs in the same scene) and it didn't work for me at all. I couldn't relax and get into the story because I was being pulled around constantly.

    My preference as a reader and writer is to stay with the same character for an entire 'event' unless there's a really good reason to jump around.
     
  10. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ha ha! Making a big deal of ...kind of, but not exactly. A big deal implies you're exaggerating something. Making heavy weather means you're making something more difficult than it needs to be.
     
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  11. Jupie

    Jupie Contributing Member

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    I think I'd be one of those readers unfortunately. I love seeing two POV's closely linked but probably don't want to see the same scene twice unless it's done very cleverly or there's a twist or the shake up in the chronology of the narrative makes a second go around necessary. Otherwise I want to know what both characters are thinking even if it's only narrated from one perspective. I mean it might not be there in black or white but hopefully we see by their reactions, expressions or exchanges that they feel this way or that they are different because of this. Then later when we return to their point of view we can get more insight about them later down the line.
     
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  12. Minty Talons

    Minty Talons Member

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    No need to specify that's it's from multiple POVs just be sure to mention both POV characters in the summary.
     
  13. jmh105

    jmh105 Member

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    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful answers as well as reassurance. I definitely feel like I am heading in the right direction. :)
     
  14. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/make-heavy-weather-of-sth

    Think square-rigged sailing ships struggling against a storm at sea.

    Sorry. Alliteration and assonance.
     
  15. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Another vote (with @jannert) for not worrying about it. The synopsis/summary is about the plot, not about how you've structured its development. No one ever decided to read a novel on the basis of how many POVs it had.

    At least, I seriously doubt it.
     
  16. RaitR_Grl

    RaitR_Grl Member

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    Maybe, you could say something like...

    (Character A) has this kind of problem, and doesn't know what to do.
    Meanwhile, (Character B) has returned after several years, and can't seem to escape his inner ghosts.
    But after something tragic happens, the two will soon realize they were destined to help each other.

    I've seen other book summaries like that involving a brief thing about multiple characters.
    Good luck!
     
  17. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I probably had ten or fifteen different POVs in my book, each with a different scene in a different location. Maybe more, and everyone liked it. POV was given to the character who had the most emotional investment in that scene. And since my characters were often scattered around different places, I didn't have competing POVs.

    My female major character, for example, went through about the first 3rd of the book before she got her moment on stage... she was there, she talked to other characters, other characters formed opinions of her, her brother talked about her, the reader knew the relationship with her consort was bad (from her brother talking about it, and the fact that she wouldn't) but what was bad the reader didn't know... just that she was beginning to bloom with the prospect of never seeing him again. Then that all ends, she is downcast, going back to the life she hated as the other ship rejoins hers, but still, as observed by others.

    Not until she is on the other ship, and her consort begins verbally abusing her, beating her, raping her, that we get inside her head to find how she copes with this... she had previously retreated to happy events in her childhood, letting the beating go on around her, something outside of herself. And she is surprised this time to find that warm, gentle, awkwardly shy, but very powerful man she knew from the other ship was there in her memory, respecting her, concerned for her, putting her on a pedestal, afraid of offending her in any way.

    She gets a lot more opportunities for POV as her character arc begins to bend up, and she becomes central to the whole story, taking the reader along on her emotional journey as she grows into a strong confident woman by the end.

    Since your OP indicates you haven't written anything yet, the plot summary will be simply your outline of how you think now the story will evolve. It is for you, and depending on whether you are a planner or a pantser, you may or may not even need it. And in any event, if you are like most of us, your story will go off on its own direction anyway... which is fine. That makes it more real.

    So relax and start writing the story! I want to know what happens!
     

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