Point of View

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As a reader, my own preference is for some variety in point of view. An alternative pov can enrich a narrative, and I often feel that books with only one can be flat, as if they lack a dimension.

On the other hand, it can be a difficult task to leap from one character to another without leaving the reader behind. To avoid this, I have two rules: 1) only one pov per chapter and 2) the pov must be clearly established early on in each chapter. IMO head-hopping is the only thing worse than reading a chunk of text (or dialogue) without a clear pov.

My YA work-in-progress has two main characters, a boy (Marko) and a girl (Janet). The way the story is structured, the boy is the main character, the girl a secondary character, although it’s a close thing. So far, I’ve written 25 chapters, 14 from Marko’s viewpoint, 7 from Janet’s, with 4 that could be from either. There is no obvious pattern to the pov switches. There are some chapters where either one or the other is not present (no contest), others where both are present, but the drama determines pov, and a few where the decision is a toss-up. Wherever the choice is not obvious, I’ve generally opted for Marko, as he is the main character.

What I mean by a pattern is this: I have a book here by Sophie McKenzie called Blood Ties. She has two main characters, Theo and Rachel. McKenzie’s approach is to share out the pov duties equally between the two. Theo gets all the odd chapters, Rachel all the even ones. I wonder if this approach is necessary, or even wise. Towards the end of the book it seems an artificial constraint.

On the other hand, I’m not sure if my approach is any better.

Anyone got any suggestions?

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