Hi dear friends,
This Thursday’s topic was inspired by a conversation I recently had with my daughter.
We discussed the pros and cons of single or multiple POV in books!
Let’s state upfront that I think multiple POV are way more difficult to do right for the author! Especially if we have male and female POV. How do you find the right tone for a male if you are a female writer? Or write from a female perspective if you are a man?
But even if you have the same gender characters, giving each one his or her unique voice and distinctive traits is way more daunting if you see the story through the character’s eyes!
That being established, what could be the pros and cons of single or multiple POV?
You only have to write the story once!
If you write the book from a dual POV (the two main characters and usually the two lovers if you read romance like me) you don’t need to write a “companion” story written from the other’s perspective to have his say.
I honestly hate these companion novels written from the other main character’s POV because they nearly all the time tell the same story but with another voice. If some can find it interesting to understand the motives of that character (maybe reading Harry Potter through Voldemort’s eyes could be interesting) I just don’t want to read about something that I already know!
So if you insist on giving us the other’s voice then better make it a dual POV than a companion novella.
You sometimes frustrate your readers!
If you write from multiple POV, the chances are real that some or all readers will root for one character in particular. If your book is quite long and you always alternate the POV between chapters you take the risk that your reader might lose interest and just get bored with one or more of your characters!
I recall Furyborn and I just cared about Rielle (how that changed later by the way) and was only interested in reading her chapters.
When this happens it can become really frustrating for the reader.
You allow your readers to breathe and not drown in emotions
If you write a particularly heartbreaking story with one character having a dramatic life changing POV can be a good idea to lessen the drama and the tension. Some stories can become so overwhelming that the reader needs to pause, to breathe just because they are so immersed in the hero’s suffering that they can’t stand it anymore!
Introducing some chapters from another character’s perspective might be a good idea to make it “bearable” for your reader.
You keep the mystery and the interest whole
When you write a mystery or suspense introducing a second or more POV can send the reader on a goose chase! He is diverted from the main plot and you can introduce doubts in the reader’s mind thanks to the other person’s intake. Sometimes you can even use an “off voice” to add a dramatic element.
Alternating POV can also keep you reader focused on the story as when one chapter ends they want to know more and just have to go on reading to get back to that particular’s hero’s part of the story and know more. When it’s smartly written these are books you can’t put down even to do chores or sleep!
You create potential for side stories or main stories about the other characters.
I don’t speak here of the same story from another angle (see above) but rather of new series featuring one of the characters whose voice we heard in the book! Think of Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series where many characters had their chapters and will now give birth to a whole new series, continuation of the old one but focused around other main characters.
Pfew these are some reflections about single or multiple POV but please, do add your two cents!
Do you like of hate multiple POV stories? Why?
Thanks for reading!