Saturday, October 29, 2016

6 Questions to Ask Yourself if a Point of View is Necessary for Your Novel

I've read many novels where the book had one or more point of views that just seemed there. They didn't add any special element to the story or enhance the plot and seemed to even bog down the story. Every element to your story should point toward the main plot. If they don't then they're sandbags on the story. Tackling more than one point of view can be very challenging. It isn't easy to get all of the point of views to flow together. 

My favorite example of an excellently handled multi point of view story has to be the Lord of the Rings. Each point of view directs toward the main plot. Each one weaves expertly together. All of the point of views are necessary, and I can't imagine one taken out. Another great example is Stranger Things. The point of views seem unrelated then they all coalesce for a stunning climax, each character has a prime role to play in the final battle. 

Before adding any additional point of view other than the main character you should always give it careful consideration. Here are six questions to help you to make this decision:

1.) Will the story change if you take it out? - If you don't have this point of view will the story be different? If you took Aragorn or Merry and Pippin out of the Lord of the Rings or Eleven out of Stranger Things the stories would be vastly different. Think about how essential this person is to the plot. Does this person aid or hinder the main character? What place do they have in the climax? Are they responsible for making the climax happen or at least play a part in it?

2.) Is the character's voice different than your main character's? - How different is this other point of view from your main character? Is the voice distinctive? Is it the opposite of the main character's? Aragorn and Frodo's voices are both very different. Are your point of views that diverse? Could you make this point of view more diverse than it already is?

3.) Does the other POV steal thunder from your MC? - Is this other point of view more vibrant or unusual than the other point of view? Could that person perhaps be liked more than your main character? Would you consider making this character your main character?

4.) Does the POV add tension? - Will this point of view increase the speed of the plot? Will it make things more clear? This seems to be the most common reason to add a point of view, but really analyze what kind of tension it adds. Remember to keep it all focused on your main character and your main plot. In the Lord of the Rings, all of the point of views eventually point to Frodo and the Ring and in Stranger Things to saving Will.

5.) Does the POV add a different perspective to your theme? - If you have a strong theme, does this other point of view add an opposite perspective to the theme or a different angle? Having another point of view to do that can be a very powerful thing. 

6.) Does POV bog down your story? - In the end, does this point of view slow down your story. If it does it needs to go. If you're wondering what's wrong with your pacing and you have more than one point of view, check to see how much you really need to see of these other characters. Could you trim down their point of views or do you have to eliminate them all together. 

Conclusion - Different point of views can add a lot to your stories, but they can also take away. Make sure to weigh the pros and cons before adding POVs to your book and you can drastically improve your novel.

Have you ever read a book with good point of views or one with bad ones? What is your favorite book that handles multi point of views? Any further thoughts?

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