How to write from multiple perspectives
How to create multiple voices in the same book
Creating a distinct voice for your character is must when writing in first person. So those of you who are writing scenes from multiple perspectives have the challenge of not only doing this once, but a whole bunch of times, and somehow making each one of those unique in their own way. This newsletter explores how to create and manage multiple POV stories.
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Content corner: Three top tips for writing multiple perspectives
Writing a story from multiple points-of-view can really open up a world and say beautiful things about perception (one of my personal favourite themes). However, it’s rare to find a book that really does this well – where all perspectives have the same weight and individuality. Here are three top tips:
1: Question yourself – would one perspective work better? As a reader, switching from one head to another can be jarring. It’s also painfully clear when a writer favours one character over another and your reader might find themselves twiddling their thumbs until their favourite character is given the spotlight again. If you do find one clear perspective emerging, consider sticking with it.
2: Make every character unique. Different people see the world differently. Let’s see this in your characters in their use of language and the way they describe the world around them. Ideally, you want your reader to know exactly what head they’re in, even if they miss the chapter title. Not all books crack this!
3: Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. The usual format for multiple perspective fiction is to title each chapter with the name of the person who’s telling it. But is there another way you can include different points of view in a scene? In my work-in-progress, I’m splicing two perspectives together inside the same scene, using prose vs verse and different font styles to flag the switch. Don’t be afraid to play with structure and language, as long as it fits into your central theme and is clear for the reader.
Are you writing from multiple perspectives? How have you seen this done well / fall short in other books? Sign up for free and share your thoughts in the Townhouse here.
Sarah J x
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