Art of Writing Multiple Viewpoints

Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Writing Multiple Viewpoints also known as Multiple 3rd Person.

In this blog I will be exploring a difficult, yet in my opinion, profitable methodology. I previously wrote about 1st and 3rd Person viewpoints or POVs, but in the following I am writing about having multiple primary characters. Now, as a rule of thumb, you never want more than one primary character at the same time.

If you read any of my books I often have multiple POVs. You should also notice that I follow my own advice and clearly identify the person who’s POV I’m using.

One last thing before we dive into the subject, don’t let the subject intimidate you. You can master it if you focus on applying the principles of good writing.

Below is an excerpt from my book TR Independent Books Guide to Writing:

Principle

Imagine yourself as a reader who gets to read the minds of the characters. Not necessarily all the time, but at critical times. It gives you, the reader, the power and knowledge to understand what is going on to a greater degree.

In Third Person Viewpoints you are reading or “listening” to the thoughts of the primary character. But in Multiple Third Person Viewpoints this is multiplied so that the reader has the opportunity to grasp more and understand more.

That being said, I would not suggest too many characters at one time. Generally I try a limit of to two or three characters. And only with the primary character do I have constant contact.

Tip#1: Generally speaking, multiple characters with observable viewpoints should be introduced early. An exception is when a book spans many years; you can space them out.

Tip#2: Unless you are truly great with prose keep your primary character as your primary POV. In books spanning many years make sure you have a smooth transition between the old POV and the new POV.

Example

In Perished: The World That Was you have a book covering 1656 years. It starts with Adam being the primary character but he eventually dies and another takes his place. This continues until Noah becomes the primary. One difficulty was that these characters sometimes lived at the same time, so I had to be careful about the transition. In most cases this happened at the death of one or in other cases it was in different scenes.

I do not recommend doing this in a story that is more compressed in time. Most likely your primary character will be constant throughout the book.

Another example from the same book is the inclusion of multiple primary characters. But it is rare for both to appear in the same scene at the same time. If such a situation presents itself, however, only one should be the primary at that time.

Application

Advantages of Multiple POV

  1. Greater flexibility within story
  2. Greater or wider view of story
  3. More information available to reader

Disadvantages of Multiple POV

  1. Requires a great deal more diligence
  2. Requires more work
  3. Can confuse reader if not done right

Multiple Person Viewpoint is in my opinion the most flexible (and hardest) viewpoint for the author to use. That flexibility is a valuable asset for the author. So don’t shy away from it.

Try it out. Buy books on viewpoint and learn what works for you.

To learn more about multiple Points of View and other writing needs TR Writing Services is currently giving away – that’s right, it’s FREE! – our TR Guide to Writing. Simply contact us and request a copy (PDF or docx) and we’ll send it to you. While at it, why not request the TR Writing Service booklet? This booklet will tell you about our different plans and prices. (The current plan discounts expire June 30th.)

For more on TR Writing Services contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

VISIT MY AUTHOR’S PAGE TODAY: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), Black Death (Book Four), or Rise of I.C.E.S. (Book Five), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Writing Tip: Your Work Place

Today’s blog sounds a little boring, but it is important: Your Workplace.

What follows is based on an upcoming newsletter (Writers World) article. Where your workplace is and how you have it set up are very important to you as a writer. That may sound overblown to you, but the truth is that our work place and work habits affect us in multiple ways.

If you have already been writing for awhile you know how important your work place needs to be for optimal results. You know that your work environment impacts your posture, your well being, and your productivity. Since I favor individuality the advice I give leaves you with the ability to conform everything to your wants and needs. This includes the table/desk, the chair, location of resources, and more. So let’s take a look.

The Room
The location and size of the room will vary from author to author. My wife prefers an open room, while I have a small, well-defined room. Both of us have our desks in front of a window. Teresa’s files are in different cabinets not necessarily adjoining each other, while I used a combination of cabinets and bookshelves to create the “walls” of my room.

Both of us like our setups and are able to function well. This is important. Whatever setup you choose, it needs to be conducive to your being able to think, research, and write. My suggestion is for you to design it your way even if others may criticize. You are the one who will be spending a lot of time there!

One other note, sometimes Teresa likes to move into the living room and sit at the table. This gives her a break from the norm while still enabling her to perform her tasks.

The Table/Desk
Once again personal preferences are dominate. Teresa uses a computer desk while I use a computer table. She tends to spread paperwork out, I like things a little tighter.

But once again our own wants and needs strongly influence how it is done. As for how the table/desk is set up, both of us use laptops on the surface. I have a phone beside me, she doesn’t (except when in the living room).

Never place your laptop on your lap. This is because you may be blocking air vents. Buy yourself a lap desk (there are several).

The Chair
Both of us prefer task chairs, but I have seen others who use Executive Chairs. The key here is that you want a chair that is comfortable, but also helps you maintain good posture. This last is important because slouching in your chair cuts off oxygen and causes you to get sleepy. It is very hard to write with your eyes closed!

Another note regarding sitting with a laptop on your lap even with a lap desk. There are issues with back strain, eye strain, etc. that are affected by sitting with a laptop.

The above is an excerpt from an upcoming newsletter article. To get even more insights you can subscribe to the newsletter. This is a great time to do so because we currently are offering a free book (So You Want to Write?), free guides and free newsletter subscription. To sign up just click on Download Now in the video below.