Writing Multiple Point of Views + Winter’s Siren Release Day!

Given how WINTER’S SIREN (out today!!) has two POVs, I’ve been thinking about how dual POV stories differ from single and other multiple POV stories.

In 2011, I was working on a story that had four POVs and for some reason I thought a fifth POV was a good idea for two scenes. Ugh. Old me. HAHA. Anywho, two of the POVs took place in the past – everything was supposed to connect later in book two (again, ugh, old me!) – but I ended every one of those past POVs on a cliffhanger. Namely because I was breaking a complete story up into pieces. It would have been much better to just write a separate book or a two part kind of book. What ended up happening is that my beta reader got serious whiplash. And because the story in the past was more interesting, dramatic, and had higher stakes, it made the story taking place in the present seem dull – a story that was probably, maybe, I hope, interesting enough on it’s own.

Lesson learned. The first lesson being: DON’T EVER DO THAT and the second one being, don’t let one POV overshadow the other.

Taking WINTER’S SIREN for an example, both POVs are interesting. Fact. 😛 They’re different, and the stakes are different, but no one is getting upstaged. (Haha – upstaged…because they’re in an opera house…ahaha.)

The second lesson: make sure all the POVs are actually necessary. It’s super unpleasant reading a multiple viewpoint story when one or more of the POVs are just there to info dump. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of book that makes you suffer through cryptic stupid crap from the antagonist’s POV and whoever else’s as a way of “adding mysteriousness” when all it’s really doing is making you angry and/or giving everything away. It was something I used to do a lot back in the early days, so I understand how it happens.

I’ll just say this: if there isn’t enough intrigue in the main POV (or main plot), adding a secondary or tertiary or whatever POV (or extra subplots) isn’t going to help.

I have an idea in the pipeline that’s going to have around 7 POVs. I could, honestly, tell the whole tale from a single POV, but the others all add to the story so seven it is. Most importantly, though, they’re not random. One of the problems I had with the graphic novel Watchmen was that one of the tertiary plot lines felt so incredibly random while I was reading the book – to the point where I was starting to get really annoyed with it. It doesn’t make sense until the very end, and then I was like, “Gee, I wished I had paid more attention..” Sure, I’ll know if I ever read that again, but I didn’t know the first time, and that’s the most important time.

You want to make sure the plot lines and POVs feel related, even if the reader doesn’t know how yet. I’m going to use True Blood  for my last example. In the TV show, which I watched two seasons of before bingeing on 8 of, I think, 12 books, there’s this scene in the first episode where Sookie’s brother is with some chick. Said brother, Jason, is the last person to see that girl alive, and this is a fact we know almost immediately. Therefore, going forward, whenever we see stuff going down in another POV, we trust that it has something to do with the main plot, even if it’s not revealed until five episodes later, or you know, until next season. Nothing feels pointless. Gratuitous, yes, but not pointless. The show had my trust. Until season five, but this post isn’t about that.


So GUYS!! It’s release day!! 😀

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For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.

His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.

As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.

But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.

Available At Your Favorite Retailer!

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Go read it and tell me how much you love it!! 😀

12 Responses to Writing Multiple Point of Views + Winter’s Siren Release Day!

  1. I watched Winter’s Siren download onto my kindle last night! I’ll start it tomorrow night, though, so I can finish reading this one book I’m almost done with.

    Multiple POVs are hard to pull off well–I had an early draft of the Keegans where I think I had four or five POVs for no apparent reason except my own inability to restrain myself. The new outline I’m working on has two POVs, which is far more manageable.

    • ^_^
      I’ve definitely been part of the multiple POVs for no reason club. I had a problem with wanting to jump into everyone’s heads. I’d wait until the next scene at least. 😀 It took a great deal of willpower for me to even try writing in a single POV. Now I really dig it.

    • It’s funny, because I spent several years writing multiple POVs, to the point I was scared to have just one. Flash forward to this, and I was scared to have two again. Lol!

  2. Sweet! Happy release day! This was a good time to come back to the blogosphere, eh? I hear you on POVs. I like the two dynamic, but one often lends to more mystery. When you get past two, it’s tricky, unless the story is being told 3rd person. The problem is, as a reader you have to get invested in each new POV character, and that’s where we face trouble. I’m guilty of throwing in a random POV chapter that adds insight and tension to the plot from time to time, but only with my big cast books. The one I’m working on now is dual perspective, and it’s super fun. Separate goals and motivations, separate stakes. Lots of tension. Of course, it’s not the book I SHOULD be working on. That would be no fun, right? 😉

    P.S. I’m sure you saw, but I nominated you for an award in September, and yes, I am obligated to actually inform you of said nomination…even two months late. Whew! Life is insanity, eh?

    • I feel like the right book to work on is the one that’s screaming the loudest anyway. 😊 My 7 POV story is definitely 3rd person! This book is only the second time I’ve done dual 1st person, but it was so much fun! I’m so excited that you’re working on something!!

  3. Wonderful! Happy release day!
    I struggled with multiple POVs, but I don’t actually feel like they need to be created with equal time spent on each – sorry if this makes everyone else gnash their teeth. I don’t mind if the villain pops in once in a while to give their thoughts on things even if I’m only planning to give that villain five POV chapters compared to the heroes sharing the other 25. Is that bad? I don’t mind it when I read that kind of POV imbalance either, honest.

    • Thank you!
      I don’t know why that would be bad! Most multiple POV novels have an imbalance, I think. And it also depends on the narration style and story being told. I tend towards whatever the story needs. I just don’t like it when people throw it in there just to throw it. It’s always best if it adds something.

  4. Congrats on the release! 😀

    Me, I’ve never attempted more than two POVs in one story. I can think of at least three books off the top of my head where a larger number of POVs actually worked well (especially when saving certain characters for key moments), but it does take a lot of skill to pull off.

    • 😀
      I don’t tend to read too many books that have more than two. I imagine a book with 7 POVs will give me similar vibes to a movie that has 7 POVs. It has to really be necessary and interesting and well done. No pressure. LOL!

Hi! ^_^