I’m very excited to continue talking about multiple points of view in fiction with you all today! In last week’s post, I talked about three important questions to ask yourself before adding another point of view to your novel (you can read that post by clicking this link here). Today, I’m sharing three tips on writing a novel with multiple points of view. Most of the projects that I’ve worked on have had at least two points of view in each, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned from reading and writing stories with multiple points of view! =)
#1 Let your readers know when you’re switching between points of view.
As I mentioned in my last post on multiple points of view, having more than one point of view can be confusing. Key words: Can be. It can be confusing if you don’t warn your readers when you’re switching between points of view. This is especially important to remember in first person narratives, when there is less use of the point of view character’s name.
For example, there are multiple points of view in the second and third books of Sara Ella’s Unblemished trilogy. To keep everything less confusing, the author dedicates a chapter to each point of view and marks each chapter with the name of the point of view character. Imagine how confusing it would be if she skipped from one character’s journey to another, with just a pretty divider in between!
The Take-Away: Don’t skip from points of view seamlessly, especially if you’re writing in first person. Make sure that your readers know when you move on to another point of view.
#2 Don’t use too many points of view.
Have you ever read a book with more than four points of view? I can’t think of single one, and there’s a reason for that. It can get confusing with lots of different points of view. It would be hard to balance each character’s part in the story equally, not to mention keep the readers interested in all of the characters and their separate journeys. Lots of point of view characters can be okay, but you’d have to be really careful as to not confuse your reader or lose her interest.
The Take-Away: Try to limit how many point of view characters you use.
#3 Make each point of view sound unique.
This is a biggie! It’s not just the confusion aspect that is a problem here. If all of your characters are sarcastic and gloomy or cheery and full of rainbows and unicorns, they will all sound like one person. Having all of your characters sound the same won’t let them shine as the unique and memorable characters that you have created them to be!
Instead of adding lots of snark to each point of view, think about your characters. What makes them special? What aspects of writing could best bring out their personalities? Lots of monologue, more action? After all, would sweet and innocent Sally really roll her eyes or whine on the pages?
The Take-Away: Let your characters shine! Allow them to be their unique selves on the pages, and their voices will stand out as unique and memorable ones.