Annnnnddddd I’m back. xD Apologies for the unplanned hiatus! Life has been a bit crazy, what with the start of my first draft of my novel (I AM SO EXCITED GUYS) and a whole lot of other exciting stuff (such as the fact that I finally got INSTAGRAM!!!!!). I am so happy to jump back into blogging. I’ve got lots of exciting things planned for you all, including more book reviews, photography, and details about my current WIP! =D
But for now, let’s talk about points of view in novels. Specifically adding points of view to your novel. Is it good? Is it bad? The answer to both of those questions can’t be found until you ask yourself these three very important questions. 😉
Will this work with the narrative voice I’ve chosen?
Other points of view just might not sound very good with the narrative voice you’ve chosen. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer having multiple POV stories in a third person omniscient narrative voice. For example, here’s a snippet of writing featuring two points of view in the first person narrative voice:
My heart hammered in my chest. I couldn’t believe it. What had he just said? “Say it again,” I breathed.
Timothy ran a hand through his hair and met my gaze. “I like you, Amber.”
There. I had said it. I liked her. I looked down at my feet. I wouldn’t expect her to feel the same way, especially since I had lied to her about the letters, but still….
Is it just me or is that a tiny bit confusing? We skipped from Amber to Timothy SO quickly. It felt a little choppy, even with the “divider” signaling a change, and the voices didn’t sound very distinct. Let’s look at this same snippet in third person omniscient, shall we?
Amber’s heart hammered in her chest. She couldn’t believe it. What had he just said? “Say it again,” she breathed.
Timothy ran a hand through his hair and met her gaze. “I like you Amber.”
There. He had said it. He liked her. Timothy looked down at his feet. He wouldn’t expect her to feel the same way, especially since he had lied to her about the letters, but still… He could hope, right?
In this third person omniscient voice, it’s not only easier to add extra points of view, but it is also less confusing and has smoother transitions. This by no means goes to say that first person narratives with multiple points of view are bad (they can be done well!). I’m only bringing this up as something for y’all to consider. =)
Will the other points of view weigh the story down and take away from it, or will they move the plot/theme/arcs/etc. along?
Adding some extra points of view might not make your story better. Those extra points of view could weigh it down instead. For example, if I’m reading a story about a little girl named Lilly who’s buying ice cream from an ice cream truck, I don’t want to know what the ice cream truck driver or the boy riding his bicycle past her are thinking. I’m only concerned about Lilly getting her ice cream. Reading those other points of view would drag the story along and add a bunch of unneeded story.
However, if the story was about Lilly and the boy riding his bicycle past her, it’s okay to include his point of view. Adding his point of view would help introduce him, move the plot along, and even help reinforce a theme, amongst other things. It would deepen the story and help the reader understand things that one couldn’t understand with just Lilly’s point of view.
Will these extra points of view confuse my readers?
Has anyone else ever read a book with what seemed to be only one point of view character, but then later, about halfway through the book…. There’s for some reason another one? And then you only hear from this POV for five pages? It can be confusing, y’all, trust me. Multiple points of view get confusing when there are too many of them or if they’re introduced too late in the novel, amongst other reasons. If you think that your extra points of view might be confusing to your readers, have another person look over your manuscript with this specific question in mind.
I hope that you’ll join me next week as I share three tips on writing multiple POVs in your novel! =)
Do you prefer novels with just one POV or multiple POVs? Do you have anything that you’d like to add to my thoughts? =)