Writing Tips

7 Tips to Help You Master Multiple POVs

1. Make the POV characters likeable and unique

What’s the point of having multiple POVS when every character is the same. They think the same, act the same, and talk the same. It’s boring. Main characters can be just as unique as side characters. If you are unwilling to make them distinct from one another, then you might as well as write for one POV.

Even if every POV character is unique, if they aren’t likable, no one will want to read about them. Every POV doesn’t necessarily have to be good. You can have an evil/asshole character but their POV should be enjoyable. If it’s not, readers will dread it. When that shitty POV character comes around, they will want to rip the pages out of the book. They may even skip the POV entirely because they can’t bare to read through it. Make your POVs worth reading about. Make them exciting and relevant. You want readers to enjoy every POV in your book, not be bored to tears.

2. Don’t spoil the story

I know you’re probably thinking no duh, you moron. That’s fucking obvious. Thanks for the shitty advice. Of course, no one wants to spoil their story, but some people who write multiple POVs do it without even realizing it. If multiple POVs are not executed correctly you may end up revealing too much information. You have to be careful. And if you do decide to include a POV in your book that could spoil the story and you know it, you might withhold information because you’re afraid of giving too much of it away. The scene and POV character will suffer because of it. I know it’s exciting to want to write for many characters, including the villain but just because you have that opportunity doesn’t mean you should.

3. Every POV should be relevant

Ooo! Multiple POVs! Let’s write for every character because I love them and I’m sure the readers will too! Wrong! Do not include a POV just because you like them or want them in the story. It’s pointless. Every POV must serve a purpose to the story. Throwing anyone in there will make your story drag. If they don’t add any value to the plot, why bother? No one wants to read about a character if their POV doesn’t tie into the main plot.

4. Stick with one POV per chapter

Readers will be confused if you constantly switch POVs throughout a chapter. So, it’s best to avoid head hopping. It can pull a reader out of the story. A plausible reason to use head hopping is if it’s absolutely necessary to show the POV of a another character. In this case, it’s best to warn the reader ahead of time.

5. Indicate whose POV it is at the beginning of the chapter

If you wait too long to mention the POV character, readers might be confused. You could mention the characters name before the chapter starts or at the beginning paragraphs. I recommend within the first paragraph or two, at least.

6. Choose the POV that is the best for the chapter

If your POV characters are together, decide which character is best to lead the chapter. Does the character add more information to the story? Do they make the scene more interesting and advance the plot? These are things you should look out for. You might end up having to rewrite chapters in other character’s POVs to see which one works best.

Also, avoid repeating scenes if the characters cross paths, this can get boring rather quickly. Readers don’t need to know every characters thoughts and experiences. This too can slow down your story.

7. Practice

It takes time to master multiple POVs. It can be challenging. You might have to rewrite scenes and rearrange chapters but you will eventually get good at it. If multiple POV are done right, they can create a compelling story. I highly recommend using them if it works for your book.

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