Friday, 13 January 2017

Different sets of eyes (writing in multiple points of view)

Lately I've been falling in love with writing in multiple points of view (POV). I didn't used to, and in fact the first three books I ever wrote were only in a single POV. I liked staying in one character's head, I liked having the world defined by that one character not only because it was easier but because that is how I see the world. Everything I see and do and everything that happens to me is defined and filtered through my eyes, through my mind, my experiences and beliefs. It's the exact same with a single POV character. 


Besides, as a reader I was never a huge fan of the multiple POV books. There was always that one character who I hated reading and forced myself to slough through their chapters. In other cases, the POVs were near impossible to tell apart, or the extra POV added nothing to the story. Why would I do that to any potential readers of mine? 

Then I started writing in multiple POVs and it changed my writing life. For a while now, I've been interested in how different people see others compared to how people see themselves. That contrast has always fascinated me. If the prince sees himself as the good guy, how would the princess see him? How would the dragon see him? And how would those views of him impact his view of himself? Or, how is an event in life viewed by two different people? How would a friend getting cancer be experienced by a seventeen-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl? If a robot falls in love with a sick girl, what does that relationship look like from the girl's POV? 

The truth is that the world is messy. Everyone has a different view on the people around them, on themselves, on the world and everything in it. I love seeing that twisted messiness, the clashing of core beliefs with desperation, the contrast of how you see yourself and how others see you. Multiple POVs gives me more room to explore, to see the world through more sets of eyes to get a greater understanding of an issue or a question, and it's kinda beautiful. 

Do you write in multiple points of view? Have you considered trying it? Do you enjoying reading it or would you rather stick with a single POV? 

6 comments:

  1. I like writing in multiple POVs, personally, because I feel that I'm far too restricted in one character's head. I mean, one of my protagonists spends a good portion of my current WIP as a prisoner in the enemy's castle, whilst the other is gathering a rebellion to rescue them. If my WIP was in just one POV, I wouldn't get to include all of these experiences and wonderful settings as I'd be stuck in the head of one character.

    But I hear you when you said about one POV always being a little boring: that is far too common with multiple POV books. Although some do manage to pull it off quite nicely, I must say.

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    1. That's very true. *nods wisely* It can be really frustrating to be stuck in one person's head while all the interesting stuff is happening elsewhere.

      Mmmm, it's definitely an interesting problem and not everyone can pull it off. Thanks for commenting, Sunset!

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  2. When I started, I was very much interested in multiple POVs, probably because I got started as a writer through RP games. The first things I ever had to write had like, 8 main POV characters, which was kind of ridiculous but I didn't know that then. I've actually come to prefer singular POVs instead as I've grown as a writer.

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    1. Oh goodness, 8 POVs? How on earth did you manage to keep track of everyone? The most I've ever done is 3, and I mostly prefer to keep it to 2. That's very interesting that you've grown to use 1 POV more as you've grown, any ideas as to why?

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  3. YES! Yes! I love multiple POVs, in reading and writing. Mostly because I like getting the big picture of the story, but I agree with what you're saying too. It's fascinating to see how characters view each other and how that affects the way they view themselves. It's also awesome on a writing level to know what character has an incorrect view of another character, like a bad first impression. Because then that'll create misunderstands and that creates TENSION!

    It's awesome that you're having fun experimenting with different POVs. :)

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    1. *high fives* It really is fascinating, and it makes you get to know your characters better, and yourself too because it forces to you think about how others see you and how that compares to how you see yourself. Very very interesting. GO TENSION!!!

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