Writing Stories with Multiple Points of View: 4 Quick Tips

If you read this blog, I wrote an article about POV a few weeks back. If you don’t know what POV is start here: https://tammydeschamps.com/2020/10/29/point-of-view-pov-an-important-choice-in-story-craft/

For those who do, let’s move on to the 4 tips:

Photo by __ drz __ on Unsplash
  1. Don’t “head hop” flitting like a butterfly from one character’s perspective to the next. Head hopping, or an omniscient view, is not something you should tackle if you’re not an experienced writer. It’s extremely difficult to do well and might confuse the reader. Learn how to tell a story from a singular POV first.
  2. Don’t retell what happened in the last scene but from another perspective in the next chapter, unless it gives a fuller view of what is happening. A good example of how to do this is Season 2 of Warrior. The last two episodes of the season give what happens after a murder from two different perspectives. You get to find out what happened to the characters left to deal with what happened in one episode and the next you get to learn what happened to the character who ran from the scene. Doing it in one episode (or chapter) would have been less effective.
  3. If you write from dual perspectives because it’s a genre expectation, use the dual perspective to create conflict or tension. The romance genre are masters at creating conflict by the two main characters seeing things differently and resolving issues in the end by seeing what the other saw the whole time.
  4. Read books with multiple POVs. Decipher why the author told the story from different perspectives. Ask yourself did the multiple perspectives enrich the story and in what ways did it enrich the story? Did the author use multiple POVs to keep secrets from one character but not the reader? Did they use it for conflict? What would be different if the story was told from one perspective? Would it be missing something? Apply what you’ve learned to your own work.

Hope you are all doing well. Happy writing!

©TJ Deschamps

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