Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

More than Two Points of View

One of my projects, the now-tentatively titled No Affinity, the first of my Allmage series, has three points of view right now. I expect the number to increase by possibly up to three as I write the remainder of the series.

I’ve had a fear of using too many point of view characters in my works since about the mid-90’s. I’m not super-strict about limiting my points of view to two, but that’s what I try to do if at all possible. No Affinity has the potential to expand beyond it’s three current points of view, and that worries me.

This worry is a combination of a writing “rule” I came across when I first got regular access to the internet and my own experiences with writing. I forget the precise rule, but it said something along the lines of restricting the characters as much as possible and meshing those who individually do only one job into one character who takes on all those jobs. This was meant, I think, to help writers keep secondary and tertiary and walk-on characters down to a minimum, but I applied it to my pov characters, as well, and rather strictly.

With No Affinity, I’m finding my trust in my writing skills stretched because of this somewhat strict rule on number and frequency of points of view that I have. The third point of view, Sindri, is little more than an important secondary character, but he’s going to play some pretty important roles in how the MC, Dagjhir, moves through the entire series. Right now, Sindri’s had the fewest scenes, and I don’t see him getting many at all throughout the entire series, at least in comparison to Dagjhir, and I find myself wondering if there’s some way I can communicate everything Sindri learns and does to the reader through Dagjhir somehow.

So far, I haven’t come up with any brilliant ideas on how to do this. Basically, I need to establish some very important facts about Sindri, which Dagjhir—if he learns of them at all—won’t learn until much, much later. Also, with the way I write, communicating these things to Dagjhir later will interrupt the flow of the narrative too much with backstory I could have shown and right now do show via Sindri’s pov. And there are some things I’m telling in Sindri’s pov that Dagjhir may never learn—and these are things that drive Sindri, which I feel the reader needs to know.

So, I’m forcing myself to go along with this, because I can’t right this story the way it needs to be written if I exclude Sindri’s pov. I feel even more strongly than I mistrust, that if I don’t use Sindri’s pov I won’t be telling the best story I can, and that is always my goal with anything I write.

3 Comments

  1. An idea. Don’t write so many POV characters into one book. Instead, break these other characters out into their own series. It’s a thought. Take or leave.

  2. Then again, it’s been done, multiple POV’s, as long as they have their own chapters. GRR Martin comes to mind. I rescind my previous comment. Go for it. Don’t be shy. You can do it!

  3. Connie:

    re comment #1: These books won’t really work with each character being given their own series. It covers one span of time and two of the points of view have fewer scenes than the MC. They’re important characters with important scenes which will all be pivotal to how my MC’s plot will go, even if my MC never learns of what they’re doing in the background of his life; it’ll all still affect him.

    re comment #2: I have difficulty with keeping up with predictable point of view changes, and I’ve read enough books in the fantasy genre to know that not all authors predictably change point of view. I write the scene that’s necessary when it’s necessary, using the best point of view for that particular scene. Now, most of my scenes in NA are from the MC’s pov, but I do have to tell subplot stories using the other two POV characters, and I can’t change pov predictably, or it’ll destroy the timeline.

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