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  • Kayleigh

Friday Tip: Writing Multiple Points of View

Writing your story from multiple points of view can allow greater perspective and a slow reveal of the full picture, but this structure needs to be used with intention and each character needs to have equal purpose within your story.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that every POV character needs an equal number of chapters or pages within the story, but rather that each one needs to have an impact on, be impacted by, and find closure or resolution from your plot.

That is, each POV character should be compelling and have their own narrative arc, with them undergoing a transformation (big or small) by the end of your story.

Each POV should also be able to provide a UNIQUE element or thread. This may be simply that they have distinctive skills, information, or clues they can offer, or it may be something greater, such as your POV characters being separated, by distance (or space) or time.

When this structure is NOT written with these factors considered, we often get repeated information, scenes, conversations, etc. with nothing new other to drive the plot forward. Voices may be too similar. The POV switch may be used to excuse info dumps, etc.

If this happens, you're going to receive feedback from your developmental editor to consolidate characters or to trim down points of view and rewrite the remaining POVs—basically, to restructure, reorganize, and make cuts.

Stated simply: "But I like stories with multiple POVs" is not a good enough reason to write a story with multiple POVs. There ~must~ be purpose.

Have you written a manuscript using multiple POVs? What was your reasoning? Did you find it effective?

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