As a fantasy reader and writer, I’m most comfortable in the world of 3rd person POV. However, if you’re writing a fantasy epic, how do you manage multiple POVs in your novel? Here are my top three tips:
1) be picky with your POVs
2) write a unique character voice for each POV
3) use your POVs to advance the story
Be picky with your POVs
Be really picky about who you give a POV to. Each POV needs to give something new – for example a new perspective for the reader or to follow a plot point. And remember, each POV will require a lot more in depth backstory and nuances for each character.
If you’re starting out, I would say limit your POVs to no more than three (especially for your first draft). Once you’ve got your first draft down, and you have the overall shape of your story, you can then consider adding more/less.
Have strong character voices
I’ve spoken before in my newsletter Writing on Caffeine about character voices and how to write a strong character voice. Having a unique and identifiable character voice is vital to selling a POV, because it really draws your reader inside that character’s view of the world.
Not only does this help your worldbuilding and characterisation, it can also help your reader follow who is talking at any one time. They’ll pick up on the phrasing cues or ways of deception to identify a POV beyond just the character’s name.
Use your POVs to advance your story
This is a key one – whilst its great fun to explore multiple points of view, each pov should serve a purpose to the wider story. There is no benefit to the story if your pov is not adding another layer to the story.
The easiest way to do this is to try and link your plot threads to a POV – for example if you have a sub plot that takes character B away from character A, then it might be worth giving Character B a point of view so the reader can be shown that plot thread. Or, if there is a big reveal or you’re trying to hide information from the reader, it might be beneficial to not give character C a POV until after the big reveal if they know something that will spoiler the reader.
How do you use POVs?
Do you stick to one or multiple POVs? If you write multiple POVs in your work, what are the tips you find to keep your writing manageable?
Alex.J.Cobalt is a fantasy writer from the UK. When she’s not working away at her fantasy novel series, she posts free flash fictions on her website, along with regular blogs about writing.
Photo Credit: Brooke Cagle on Unsplash