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Pirate Jenn
July 11th, 2002, 05:21 PM
We all know it's true: F and SF stories use multiple viewpoints. My question is this: how much is too much? This question refers to both your stories and the stories of others.

Shef
July 11th, 2002, 05:44 PM
No more than five. I generally stick with one for stories. Two would be alright if done tactfully. A novel on the otherhand, can have as many views as the plot can hold. Five is probably the absolute limit before you start to lose and confuse your readers though.

choppy
July 11th, 2002, 05:56 PM
Short Answer :
I think it depends on the story.

Long Answer:
To know how many viewpoints are appropriate, you have to look at the consequences of introducing each new one.

On the good side, you have a fresh voice that can offer different insight into the unfolding events. You also have a means of letting characters in on what is going on in the world around them - adding more dimesion to the story. Further there is more potential for conflict.

On the bad side you have to introduce each new viewpoint. This can cause an interruption in the flow of the story. And then there's a difficulty that I have when I read. I suffer from CRS - can't remember ...um, stuff. So when a story switches back to a point of view that I haven't seen in a while, I have to sit back and think about what I remember about that particular character- what's important to him/ her etc. With more points of view I can do this a lot, which can pull me out of the story.

I think the trick is to limit yourself to what is necessary. There's a little trick that I use, if I want a different point of view for a small component of the story. I use a secondary character to tell a story to one of the main characters. - a story in a story. This allows you to add another point of view without really switching around.

Keep writing!

Pirate Jenn
July 11th, 2002, 09:36 PM
:)

I wasn't asking for myself. Just wanted to know what others think and do.:)

I've never used more than four viewpoints in a story. I try to use as few as possible because, when I read sf/f, I find that a switch in vp breaks up the rythm and sometimes makes me want to stop reading. Plus, if one character is excruciatingly boring (as, I think, most villians are--esp. when poorly written and stereotyped), I'll skip their entire section.

I've read books (sagas, more like) that used upwards of eight vps--some of them only once or twice. It was the only way to tell the full story, and I like it (now), but it was very hard to get into.

Generally, I think four or five vps fine in a one-volume book. Sagas are worlds of their own :)

milamber_reborn
July 12th, 2002, 12:19 AM
In my novel, I used around ten points of view, mainly due to the vast amount of characters. It works for my book, but for the average fantasy novel, I'd say 6 per book is about enough.

Then there's Robert Jordan who sometimes has a dozen or more points of view, though some are only short sections. It works for him becasue of the way he spins his subplots.

Sonja Ravenscroft
July 12th, 2002, 10:57 AM
Hello, I'm new here, so go easy on me :)

I personally tend to keep my characters down to two or three(with maybe one exception) I think once you get too many viewpoints, your story starts to get bogged down. If you keep your viewpoints as it were to only a few, then I find it's easier to keep track of the story.

Nice to find a board with Writers, both accomplished and Aspiring(like myself) :)

Holbrook
July 12th, 2002, 12:55 PM
Hmmm...... I think in my latest piece I used maybe seven or eight. I tried to keep it to the main characters. But one character I refused point blank to use his view point. The whole frame of the story was structured to confuse the reader a little about this character. I wanted him to be seen in different lights depending on whom was the POV.

Also I wanted the reader to judge him by his actions and words. To never be quite sure if he is telling the truth... Or using people.

It seems to have worked.... Most who have read the whole first draft like this character very much, but they don't trust him at all...

Sonja Ravenscroft
July 12th, 2002, 01:22 PM
Holbrook-

I like the sound of that, what you're doing with the "mystery" character. No doubt the characters you are using for a point of view each have a different view of the character, maybe even looks slightly different depending on the viewpoint. I've always like the characters that you don't know where they are coming from, or what they have in mind. :)

emilyhorner
July 12th, 2002, 07:45 PM
In the first novel I wrote, there were two points of view. It came out to about 60,000 words--not nearly as long as a novel should be--and there are extraneous parts. So, in addition to expanding the main plotline a little, I've had to add two subplots, each with its own POV, and I just hope that it doesn't drag the book down too much.

It does bother me when I get more interested in a minor viewpoint character than in the main storyline, and I end up skimming past large sections of the book to read the parts I find interesting.

Holbrook
July 13th, 2002, 02:51 AM
Originally posted by Tinalera
Holbrook-

I like the sound of that, what you're doing with the "mystery" character. No doubt the characters you are using for a point of view each have a different view of the character, maybe even looks slightly different depending on the viewpoint. I've always like the characters that you don't know where they are coming from, or what they have in mind. :)

It just seemed to fit "Albert". Even the name is not one a reader would expect for a character in a fantasy novel.

I find the character has a life of it/his own. Tastes, habits, mannerisms and patterns of speech. He is so unlike any other character I have created.

Maybe I was Albert in a past life *g*

The others in the book hate him, like him, even love him. BUT and it's a big but even his "best friend" by the end is not sure that he and others are not being used by "Albert" Or am I being used by Albert?