As a reader I am a fan of different POV’s in one book. I feel more connected to the characters and the story line when a story is written that way.
As a writer, multiple POV’s give me headaches.
There are so many rules for writers as to what you should and shouldn’t do in regards to multiple POV’s. Enough to make my head spin.
I can tell you that before I delved into the “world of writing” I didn’t even know what the phrase multiple POV meant. All I knew was, I enjoyed a book more if multiple characters had inner monologues(1 POV inner monologue tends to get boring and repetitive). I didn’t notice or have a preference for how it was done either. The only time I even put thought towards it was when it got confusing (meaning I had a hard time figuring out who was talking).
So why as writers do we stress over this technique so much?
Mainly, I think, because we want to impress other writers who will read our work and of course the agent, editor, and publisher that will hopefully want to work with it.
I’m not going to outline the right and wrong ways of multiple POV’s. If that is what you are looking for check out the following articles:
- 7 POV Basics by Judy Hedlund
- 5 Dual-POV Writing Tips by Ava Jae
- Switching POV Styles by Janice Hardy
I want to talk about a POV style I just learned about. A good friend of mine who is an avid reader and who coincidentally dislikes confusing multiple POV’s texted me with the following message:
“I like this book. When it changes between Day’s voice and June’s voice the font and color of the print change.”
I saw that and immediately loved it! It’s brilliant. Yes I can hear some writers say it’s sort of “elementary in style” but as a reader I think this is a great idea. Most readers don’t care what style or rule of POV that writers are using (unless they have some background in writing). Average readers, from my experience, just care about whether or not they can follow it without getting confused and I think this style of multiple POV’s handles that problem beautifully.
In case you were wondering, the book pictured is Legend by Marie Lu
What do you think?
Are you a fan of this certain style?
What are your feelings towards multiple POV’s as a reader and a writer?
17 thoughts on “Putting Some Style in Multiple POV’s”
I think there can be too many rules sometimes! It is important, though, for writers to be aware of the pitfalls so they can avoid them.
I read a book that was written from a multiple point view perspective where the writer would repeat exactly what happened in the last scene/chapter but from the other person’s perspective. Some things need to be repeated but not everything!
I agree! I’ve seen that with 1 POV too where the Main Characters inner dialogue seems to be on a perpetual loop. That kills my interest in a story faster then confusing multiple POV.
I know, where they go and on about the same things chapter after chapter… Multiple-point of view narratives can provide an escape from that!
The different fonts for change of POV is a brilliant idea! Great post 🙂
Hey Darla, this little post of yours made it to a group on FB 😉 Good material.
Awesome! Thanks for telling me 🙂 What’s the group called?
You know, I still know nothing about groups on facebook, yahoo, or goodreads lol Maybe you can give me a quick run down on what I’m missing by not being a part of one. Or better yet write a blog post about it that I can hoard! lol
I think it is called the sci fiction romance brigade. I tell ya if I learn everything on FB, sheesh. I’m winging it girl! I’ll put FB on my to blog list 😉
pssst check your FB when you get a chance. Look at the top.
Darla, I both love to read and write in multiple POV for the very same reasons you posted about. It is a tricky business for sure, but there are creative ways for it to be done. The example your friend sent definitely looks the easiest for the reader, but when you’re submitting a manuscript to a publisher, you will be forbidden from using any different types of font styles or colors than what their guidelines state – so, that would have to be discussed with your copy editor prior to publication – unless, of course, you’re going Indie!
I’m just glad to see I’m not the only one who enjoys multiple POVs – thanks for sharing and good luck with your writing! 🙂
Thanks for commenting Melody 🙂 It’s sad that different font styles would deter agents and publishers from accepting a great piece of work but it’s the truth. Maybe one day that wont be the case because as a reader I like it and see nothing wrong with it.
As a writer, one POV is easy but…as a reader it’s a bit stilted. You’re confined into one spot and are influenced by that character’s beliefs and motivations. Multiple POVs are extremely fun to read because you can delve deep into the story world. However…it’s a headache to write.
Btw, I’m reading Legend and I love the way it switches between Day and June.
I enjoy reading from multiple POVs, whether it’s first-person or third-person. The book I’m working on will be “journal entries” (i.e. first-person) from two people’s POV, with a third-person POV thrown in as the “story around the story”. I find myself really enjoying the different writing styles (one is pacier, more “from the gut” and more prone to use slang, while the other is more formal and precise) and switching between them, I really get “into character” more than I would’ve expected.
The change of font and colour reminds me of one of my favourite books from when I was growing up, which I blogged about recently (http://amosmcarpenter.com/2014/04/16/the-neverending-story-a-to-z-n/) with some photos of the lovely fonts and artwork from my original German hardcover version.
Great topic, thanks for sharing.
Thanks for commenting Amos. Your current work in progress sounds interesting. I’ll keep my eye out for when you announce its completion. I’d love to read it. 🙂
Oh, how I wish I could say, “You can buy it from your local bookstore in a year or two,” but I do need to be realistic. 😉 I don’t even have any proper “beta readers” yet outside of a couple of people I know personally (who are great and pick up on many little things, but maybe not quite as objective as, say, a fellow aspiring author whom I don’t know personally. I’ll have to figure out how to go about finding those… after I’m done with the A to Z Challenge which is currently eating up my time 🙂
Well I’m always free to beta read. Check out some of the book reviews I’ve posted and you’ll get an idea of what my review might be like. A personal review, not meant to be seen by the public, is more in depth and can be geared toward whatever aspect of the story you need critiquing. Im always upfront in saying that I can not give advice on what the publishers want but I can tell you my opinion as an avid reader of all genres and areas of literature.
Thanks Darla, a very generous offer – I might get back to you on that!
This was lovely to reaad