View Full Version : Point of Views

Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum

July 7th, 2001, 08:15 AM
O.K. The book series I'm writing for myself has many point of views. The problem I have is that I have quite a large cast of characters, and I want to be able to show the reader from a certain character's point of view. In my first book, which I've managed to almost complete planing has about 9 point of views (exc Pro and Epo). I've been planning the second book to the series, and I think I will be using 13 points of view.

I have been told that choosing the number of view points depends on how big the book will be. But I wonder if any of you guys/girls have any tips for me.

Also, another problem I have is sometimes I feel like showing a piece of action from a spectator (A charcter who does not have a view point in the book), for just that one scene. But again, the advice given is never to put a view point from a character who which will have no more chapters dedicated to his view point again. (I hope you understand what I mean). Has anyone got any tips on this type of stuff?

July 7th, 2001, 09:59 AM
This has been discussed before, I think. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif

MHO is that you don't need to tell from the begging your PoVs; just let it come naturaly, as the story leads you, and don't be afraid to use two (or more) PoVs in one scene, if it suits your perpose --just take care to point out who is seeing what, who is thinking what, etc, so the reader would not be confused.

About "unimportant" characters' PoV, I think there are no "unimportant" characters. A character you think now is secondary might become a protagonist, after many pages. Just let them act "naturaly", and treat them as persons, not tools (and I'm not saying you do treat them as tools http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif).

Also don't be afraid to kill someone, if that is where the story leads you.

As you would have figured out by now, I'm the kind of person who lets the story tell itself to the (bitter?) end. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/wink.gif

[This message has been edited by Bardos (edited July 07, 2001).]

July 8th, 2001, 04:51 AM

I'd say that each scene should have a consistent POV. The choice of POV is up to you, but here are some of the factors that I consider:

1. What is the best way to tell the story in this scene?
2. What follows this scene? Given the next scene, or sequence of scenes, would it make more impact to choose one character over other characters?
3. Do I need to create variety?

While there is no set rule here, remember that the reader has to be able to follow you. If you are going to jump around, do it early so you "train" the reader to expect it. What you obviously shouldn't do is tell the story from a single POV except for one scene. You'd lose the reader and cause him/her to give up in disgust.

Best of luck!

-- John Morrison http://ganymede-project.com

July 8th, 2001, 05:13 AM
All good comments, guys!

I think I may have mentioned in previous posts that scene descriptions, regardless of their POVs, as well as advancing the plot or story line, should also have direction. I think each chapter should be leading somewhere in the overall story else you risk what a writer fears most, and that's the "skip", something I've read much about in another topic! http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif I would hate to think that some of my hard-worked-on paragraphs were being abandoned just so their reader could jump ahead of the plot!

I guess the bottom line here is if the words are there, irrespective of their viewpoint, make them count so that above all, the reader will keep reading them, and, enjoy them as well!

July 9th, 2001, 04:21 AM
I have only one comment to add:
About the problem of POV for a single scene.
A sometimes used trick is to have a non POV character tell it a POV one, either in dialogue or a letter.

I wouldn't overuse this one, though

July 9th, 2001, 10:33 AM
I would think of POV from a reader's perspective rather than a writer's.
As a writer, you think you might have this great POV idea, but reading it might be much less fun than the neat idea that is behind the writing.
Just consider how many times you've flipped through large sections of a book just so you could read from your favorite character's POV. Or how two or three POVs interest you, but some characters' POVs just can't hold your attention. I would think for a first book, 9 might be excessive. Because holding the reader's attention is damn difficult. You need to hook them in the first book.
For some informative reading, compare Kay's Lions of Al-Rassan, or his Sarantium series, to Jordan's Wheel of Time. Kay does shifting POV brilliantly. Even though I am anxious to get back to my beloved main character, he keeps the minor characters' stories interesting enough that you can't pull away. Meanwhile, I very often flip right through whole chapters of Jordan's books, because he doesn't have the same craft as Kay. And sadly, I often find I haven't missed anything.
Also consider Donaldson's Gap series. The first two books are told from one character's POV, then as the story grows more complex, then alternate viewpoints are brought in. Not until they are truely needed. Personally, I would not shift POV unless absoluetly necessary to impart vital info to the reader. UNLESS you tackle it another way and make each character's POV of short story and link them all together somehow.

July 10th, 2001, 12:37 AM
I must sound so petty, but just wanted to let you know that the plural of "point of view" is "points of view." Hope I'm helping, rather than sounding like a reprimanding mother...the SAT stuff they ingrain into you just sticks!

Joshua Webster
April 6th, 2008, 05:36 AM
I don't know if you really need this tip, but it's really useful. While writing in different POVs, one of the most important things to be taken care of is vocabulary. This was one flaw I noticed in many best-selling novels, including the whole Narnia series. An example I could give you all is from The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. When Lucy first meets Mr. Tumnus, he asks, "I'm not trying to be inquisitive, but are you the daughter of Eve?" How come does an eight-year old knows the meaning of "inquisitive"? So, according to the characters, you ought to use different kinds of vocabulary. I hope this tip comes in handy.