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Selecting POV in a Series (1 Viewer)

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Starting Book 2 of the Titan Series, I realize I am already stumped on Step 6 of the 12 Steps to writing a novel, "Choose your POV." For Book 1, 60% of the story was written in the main protagonist's POV and 20% each in the POV of two sub-protagonists. My plan was always to have Book 2 and Book 3 alternating so each protagonist would get the 60% role for one Book, with the other two flanking them at 20% each.

Although that pattern worked perfectly for the last book, I am feeling like something different for the next book in the series. I had introduced so many great characters in Book 1, and the nature of the plot for Book 2, calls out to have more POV characters, something more like 4-6 people alternating equally.

What are your thoughts about changing POV patterns in a series?

Do you think the author has to be consistent with the series?

In general, do you feel there are any limits to the number of POVs in a book?
 
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VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
I think I've got round about 9-10 in my first novel, but some of those only for a scene or even a few paragraphs. Four are the strongest. There are fewer in the sequel.

It's not going to hurt you to change PoV to another well-established character, especially if your readers have developed empathy with that character. One of the characters from Bone Kien who has a few PoV scenes, I'm confident, would work as the MC of his own novel. I gave him a LOT of color. In fact, if he's not the most colorful character in the book, he and another character are in the running. Neither of my two MCs are the most colorful. :)
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
In The Wheel of Time series I think everyone who reads it likes it. I’d get excited when a chapter heading had the name of certain characters who I liked. The name in the chapter heading was super helpful.

Someone on here (wish I could remember… was it @SueC ? ) I’d love to give proper credit, said they had worked out through their beta readers that you can change POV as long as the story is chronological, or you can make it not in chronological order with the same character POV. Although they found they could switch both if continuity was kept 2 chapters in one or the other way. It made sense when they said it. :)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
As a reader I dislike frequent POV changes. I set aside a novel written by one of my favorite authors because it was written in omni, and bouncing between heads was confusing. If you switch POV make it clean; I prefer a chapter break, but scenes can work if it’s clear who's head I’m in.
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
In The Wheel of Time series I think everyone who reads it likes it. I’d get excited when a chapter heading had the name of certain characters who I liked. The name in the chapter heading was super helpful.

Someone on here (wish I could remember… was it @SueC ? ) I’d love to give proper credit, said they had worked out through their beta readers that you can change POV as long as the story is chronological, or you can make it not in chronological order with the same character POV. Although they found they could switch both if continuity was kept 2 chapters in one or the other way. It made sense when they said it. :)
Oh that is so clever! and I wish I had said that, but sadly, it was not me. :)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Have you tried third person limited? It has a lot of the advantages of first person, but (for me) it's less clumsy.
 

Ralph Rotten

Staff member
Media Manager
There are other ways to tell a story.
In Calizona I used personal diaries, video journals, security footage, news articles...
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Have you tried third person limited? It has a lot of the advantages of first person, but (for me) it's less clumsy.
Yes, that is what I'm using, third person limited. It works well for me too. But, the thing I'm asking about has more to do with the pattern. For Book One, I alternated chapters between three characters' POVs, but it was not an even split. But I did use a pattern, i.e.

Chapter 1 - MC (protagonist)
Chapter 2 - MC
Chapter 3 - OMC #1 (another main character)
Chapter 4 - MC
Chapter 5 - MC
Chapter 6 - OMC#2 (a second main character)
And then repeat until I got to the end where I alternated leading up to the climax. then one chapter all three alternating by paragraph and then one chapter each until the end. That worked really well for the Book One plot.

However, for Book Two, based on the plot it feels like It would be better suited to change the pattern of alternating POV, i.e.

Chapter #1 - MC#1
Chapter #2 - MC#2
Chapter #3 - MC#3
Chapter #4 - MC#4
Chapter #5 - MC#5
And then maybe no pattern at all, but giving each the amount of time they need.

My question is, do series readers expect to see the same POV pattern in the sequels?
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Yes, that is what I'm using, third person limited. It works well for me too. But, the thing I'm asking about has more to do with the pattern. For Book One, I alternated chapters between three characters' POVs, but it was not an even split. But I did use a pattern, i.e.

Chapter 1 - MC (protagonist)
Chapter 2 - MC
Chapter 3 - OMC #1 (another main character)
Chapter 4 - MC
Chapter 5 - MC
Chapter 6 - OMC#2 (a second main character)
And then repeat until I got to the end where I alternated leading up to the climax. then one chapter all three alternating by paragraph and then one chapter each until the end. That worked really well for the Book One plot.

However, for Book Two, based on the plot it feels like It would be better suited to change the pattern of alternating POV, i.e.

Chapter #1 - MC#1
Chapter #2 - MC#2
Chapter #3 - MC#3
Chapter #4 - MC#4
Chapter #5 - MC#5
And then maybe no pattern at all, but giving each the amount of time they need.

My question is, do series readers expect to see the same POV pattern in the sequels?
The quick answer is NO. You can bounce around as you please as long as it's clear who your POV character is - unless you're doing omni, then it's utter chaos.

Another pattern is to use parts or sections:
Part 1: Julee
All the chapters have Julee as the MC POV character
Part 2: Sam
All the chapters have Sam as the MC POV character.

I used that pattern in one or two (I forget which) of my Extinction series.
 

Backstroke_Italics

Senior Member
Personally I don't mind switching it up a little bit, as long as you don't cross a major line. For example, don't switch from 3rd person limited to 3rd person omniscient or 1st person or something. That would be distracting. Although now that I think about it, a short story in the 1st person would work as a companion piece to the main trilogy.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Yes, that is what I'm using, third person limited. It works well for me too. But, the thing I'm asking about has more to do with the pattern. For Book One, I alternated chapters between three characters' POVs, but it was not an even split. But I did use a pattern, i.e.

Chapter 1 - MC (protagonist)
Chapter 2 - MC
Chapter 3 - OMC #1 (another main character)
Chapter 4 - MC
Chapter 5 - MC
Chapter 6 - OMC#2 (a second main character)
And then repeat until I got to the end where I alternated leading up to the climax. then one chapter all three alternating by paragraph and then one chapter each until the end. That worked really well for the Book One plot.

However, for Book Two, based on the plot it feels like It would be better suited to change the pattern of alternating POV, i.e.

Chapter #1 - MC#1
Chapter #2 - MC#2
Chapter #3 - MC#3
Chapter #4 - MC#4
Chapter #5 - MC#5
And then maybe no pattern at all, but giving each the amount of time they need.

My question is, do series readers expect to see the same POV pattern in the sequels?
I doubt they’ll even notice there is a pattern. You have to do what is right for the story, and readers expect to be swept off by the story.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I doubt they’ll even notice there is a pattern. You have to do what is right for the story, and readers expect to be swept off by the story.
What you say is so true! Before I started writing fiction, I never noticed POV patterns. Then early on when I started my novel, my mentor at the time suggested that readers expect a pattern, so I did that. I don't regret it, because, for a first novel, there are already so many choices to be made, and you don't really know what you're doing, so it just simplified things and took one thing out of the decision model. However, I feel like I'm ready to spread my wings a bit more on Book Two, and try something different.

It's so great to have this community of experienced writers like yourself, to run things by.

THANK YOU to everyone who responded! I feel confident to move forward now -- 5 main characters, alternating POV as needed. 👏
 
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