Do you think that, skillfully done, a book can be written from a few points of view without confusion?
Topic: Outline of writing a book
June 26, 2019 / By Johanan Question:
I have a blossoming outline for a novel and I am passionate about it. I tend to be self-critical and it has been a hard row to hoe getting to this point in my life where I can finally write the novel I have always wanted to write, though the seed of the original idea has certainly become a garden at this point. Life and its experiences will do that. But I feel strongly about writing the book from at least four points of view, three first-person personal and one third person omniscient. I believe that if it is done skillfully and is used to carry the story forward as well as giving character background, it can be done in such a way to communicate the story to the reader without confusion. Comments? Opinions?
Best Answers: Do you think that, skillfully done, a book can be written from a few points of view without confusion?
Griffith | 9 days ago
It can be done, one of my favorite series has four protagonists. If you plan on jumping between the four all the time, then no, that would get too confusing. The way to make it work is to generally only switch viewpoints at the start of a new chapter. When switching in the middle of a chapter you have to make it clear with the very first sentence of the new pov that someone else is talking now, and I'd still separate viewpoints by paragraphs.
👍 286 | 👎 9
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Originally Answered: Would you read a book with about six points of view?
Mostly likely, I would not read a book with six POVs.
Books tend to be more complicated and confusing with that many. Readers tend to get drawn to one or two characters, and having six would just be not good. I didn't finish all the "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" because it had 4(?) POVs and developed a liking to only one character. The others I couldn't stand reading about, but there was so much about them, that I had to finally toss the book aside.
I would not attempt four POVs in a first novel. Two POVs are doable with little confusion if you switch POVs at a chapter break. I can't imagine getting through four POVs but I might change my mind when reading it. But I think it's too big of a reach for a first-time author. You have agents and publishers to convince before worrying about readers.
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I think it is possible, with a great deal of work and skill. However, four points of view (3 of them first person) is a lot. Each character would have to have an extremely different "voice." I personally would find it difficult to become engaged in the characters. It is more common to have different povs in 3rd person, and probably easier to write and to understand. Good luck!
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Yes, of course. I've read several books told from as many as five points of view. Most of them were two points of view where it changed from one to the other with each chapter. Ellen Hopkin's Tricks has five different characters and it changes with each chapter who is telling their story. I'm reading Stephen King's Carrie and the perspective changes, not only from who's telling it but from first to third person. It takes a good amount of skill to pull it off, but it's not impossible. When done well, it's quite interesting. Good luck.
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But if you and I had that skill, we would not be hanging around Yahoo Answers.
The answer, however, is yes.
Isaac Asimov once wrote a book that was from two perspectives. One was human, the other alien.
He also wrote a book once were the chapters were not in order. You bounced all over the place.
HOWEVER, he was a well accomplished story teller before he ever tried that.
👍 96 | 👎 -3
Im really happy for you.
I too am still in the beginning stages of my books. Im currently writing two and have often wondered if those two styles could be incorporated into stories. I think so because if you observe palahniuk's work with Rant and Tarantino's work with any of his movies, preferably Pulp Fiction you'll see it is possible and if done correctly with the right detail it is possible. Very possible. I look forward to your book.
👍 88 | 👎 -6
Why on earth not?
I won't be reading it - I can't stand first person varying. But it's been done loads of times. It's not difficult.
👍 80 | 👎 -9
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