Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Multiple perspectives

First, sorry for not having Marketing Monday feature this week. My scheduled author had to do some last-minute edits so that the ARC of her next book will be out on time. Hard to compete with that! I'll feature her in May, after the A to Z Challenge (since her initials don't fit with any of the Mondays in April).


I didn't post on Monday because my life is about to enter a tail spin, and I really wanted to finish revising my WIP before that happens. So I was working. Really. Hard.

And now I'm trying to figure out the best way to proceed. You see, this novel has chapters from more than one character's point of view. The secondary character provides important information about what's happening in the story; information the MC can't provide. But for this approach to work, each character has to have a unique voice. Therein lies the challenge.
Now I have the storyline where I want it, and I plan to go through only the chapters from the MC's POV to check the voice in those. Then I'll do a second pass with the chapters from the secondary character's POV. Beyond that, I don't know how else to approach it.

Have you ever written from the POV of multiple characters? How did you ensure that the characters' voices were distinct?


  1. Alison, with multiple POVs is really hard. I think your strategy for checking the voice is good -- I tried that before when trying to alternate POVs between two girl characters. The hardest thing for me was that I found one POV to be more engaging, and she took over the story (so much for writing using multiple POVs).

  2. Agreed, it's hard to make them distinct. I love using more than one character's POV, but I've been told they just aren't distinct enough (does that stop me? of course not).

    What I think helps is taking a day off when it's time to switch POVs. Then I try to get in the new character's head, their mannerisms, their way of thinking so that when I start up again, I'm in a completely different mindset.

    Good luck!

  3. Andrea: fortunately, one is a boy and the other a girl, which helps. They also come from extremely different family backgrounds.

    JEFritz: I might be told the same! Now I'm worried. :) But I like your suggestion to take a day off in between.

  4. I haven't ever tried a multiple POV, but I'm considering a dual one for my next YA novel. Gulp! I think it's easy to do wrong, but two POVs will be easier than multiple, more than 2.

  5. George R. R. Martin is the master of multiple POV characters. He does something like thirty of them and makes it work. You might take a look at his book A Game of Thrones. It is what inspired me to do my multiple POV novel. As far as making voices unique, that was tough. I had to initially just start writing without worrying about the uniqueness, and then go back and edit once I knew each character well enough to understand the diffences.

  6. Good luck with your WIP. My current WIP is written from the POV of 4 different characters. I change chapters to signal the change in POV and try to really get into the way that characters thinks and feels. I did have a fifth POV but decided that was too much :O)

  7. Carol: You're right. I have two. Well, there's sort of a third, but she may not last long. We'll see what my readers have to say.

    Ted: I'll look into it, thanks!

    Madeleine: Thanks. Five does sound like too much. But then, I don't think I could do four! :)

  8. Found you from the A-Z Challenge, it sounds like it’s going to be so much fun (with a bit of stress thrown in) and I can’t wait to get started!! I’m now following your blog on GFC and I hope you have a chance to check out my blog.

  9. Hmm, have written from multiple POV but I'm not convinced the 'voices' I used were actually all that different. It was more that each character's thinking and motivations was unique and this was reflected in their POV section, if that makes sense. Good luck with editing!

    Will still be in hospital for next month but not A-Zing so hope to make as much progress with new WIP as you have with yours.