Juggling Multiple Viewpoints


In season four of writing excuses, my favorite episode was one that focused on juggling multiple viewpoints. I primarily write in first person single narrative, however every now and then, my story leads to a place where I *have* to have another viewpoint character or two.

In Iron Queen, I had to add in Hades and Aphrodite because Persephone wasn’t where the action was. The story from her POV wouldn’t have explained how the gods found her, what was happening on their end, or the struggles they went through. If I’d only done her and Hades or her and Aphrodite, I would have been missing places where the three characters diverged,because plot wise it made no sense for Aphrodite and Hades to stick together during the entire search for Persephone given the fact that Aphrodite was a liability. Hades’s POV was needed to show Zeus going after the gods. Aphrodite’s POV was needed to show Zeus going after the demigods. Both were very important threads.

But it’s not always location based. In Love and War and Venus Rising, I had to add Medea because while Aphrodite and Medea are on the same island, Medea knows things Aphrodite can’t and make no sense plot wise for Aphrodite to learn. I needed an insider. I needed someone on the demigod side otherwise it was going to be a very short, very one-sided story.

I write them all in first person for my current series because that’s been the format so far for my series, but writing multiple viewpoints works best in third limited. I got some complaints about the change in format from Iron Queen, and I’m anticipating them for Love and War. But the story demands it, so all I can do is try to jump POV’s better.

Cue writing excuses. Some of their advice was obvious. Make it obvious who your POV character is right off the bat. My chapter names were the character names, I always had someone refer to them by name within the first few chapters or some other major identifying (“watching my wife chase after a human boy was hell” could really only be one character). And by giving them different voices. I worked very hard on those different voices and some readers will say I succeeded, others wills say I failed. So that’s something I still need to work on. It’s doubly hard for Aphrodite and Medea because the entire point of their characters is that they mirror each other. They are super similar characters that are just at different points in their development. They will be each other’s roads not taken. Eventually. And to do that, there needed to be some pretty heavy similarities.

They had a ton of great advice and pitfalls and over all it was a very informative episode of writing excuses. Take a listen here or read he transcript here.

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