A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Writing Wednesday - Multiple points of view

How many of us are not in at least some way familiar with George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series? (Game of Thrones and it's subsequent sequels, for those not familiar with the series name.) I'm still trying to plow my way through the first book, mostly because I get confused by the constantly switching POVs from one character to the next.

That got me thinking about my own stories. I tend to switch POVs between two people. I don't think I've got a full length novel written or planned out that doesn't switch POVs from one person to the next, though I do limit it to two people to avoid extreme confusion. (I hope.)

But what drives me to write it from multiple POVs? What gave G.R.R. Martin the idea to write his epic series from multiple POVs to the extent he did? I think both of us have the same situation: there's a lot of story to tell and we need to have more than one person telling their part of it. Martin's series would be a whole lot longer if he told the same events from different perspectives, repeating things in a book based on each character. We'd get bored. The same problem occurs with my stories. If I told the same events twice, once for each character in separate novels, I'd have an exceptionally long series with a lot of boring repetition.

A story with multiple POVs isn't easy to write. You have to maintain a balance that I'm still learning about. You have to give each person as close to equal screen time as the other so as to keep the audience informed about what's going on. Time lapses have to be explained or referenced at some point to keep people up to date on when in the continuity the events are happening.

Why would anyone put themselves through the trouble of trying to write a story with multiple personalities taking the lead? I'm doing it because I think it'll make my stories better. Or I'm out to torture myself and possibly my readers. I don't know which it is, but I'll figure it out eventually.

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