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Whatever is right for the story
 

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Agree with Decon...except it is very difficult to have one character witness every critical factor in a thriller without twisting the logic into loops. I guess if the right story came along then it could work with just one POV, but the types of stories I tell don't work with just one. I even tried it once and got about six chapters in before I realized it just wouldn't work.
 

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I'll stick by my original answer, but maybe I should expand.

There are bestsellers using single or multiple narrators. As long as the reader clearly knows who the chapter is following with multiple narrators, then you're good.

You can even mix POV between 1st and 3rd between narrators, or keep them all the same.

Most of mine are one narrator POV,  the last one had two similar to Gone Girl using 1st and 3rd


A trilogy I am writing so far has six character POV narrators. I could almost write each of their stories individually then patch it all together. Each POV is relevant to the plot and world building in a disaster thriller, a little along the lines of Game of Thrones with multiple locations. I found it easier to write multiple narrators with the story outlined.

I've chosen 1st person for the protag, and 3rd person for the rest.
 

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I don't do thrillers, but I usually keep my books single POV, some of them with maybe two or three at most, depending on the story, and I go out of my way to try to keep the reader from being confused if/when the POV changes. I think multiple POVs can be useful, but if you have a main character, then you have a main character and that POV should probably be the central POV to the story.

But, like I said, in thrillers maybe there is a different take on this idea.
 

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FWIW, all 13 of my thrillers are written with multiple POVs. Hard for the main character to be present for all the action, especially if it is spread out geographically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Decon said:
Whatever is right for the story
Ted Cross said:
Agree with Decon...except it is very difficult to have one character witness every critical factor in a thriller without twisting the logic into loops. I guess if the right story came along then it could work with just one POV, but the types of stories I tell don't work with just one. I even tried it once and got about six chapters in before I realized it just wouldn't work.
Thanks Ted. I read a book on writing that said if you absolutely have to cut away from your main character's POV do it, but only briefly, then get back to the MC POV.

Even then, I would think the secondary POV character would have to be really interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Decon said:
I'll stick by my original answer, but maybe I should expand.

There are bestsellers using single or multiple narrators. As long as the reader clearly knows who the chapter is following with multiple narrators, then you're good.

You can even mix POV between 1st and 3rd between narrators, or keep them all the same.

Most of mine are one narrator POV, the last one had two similar to Gone Girl using 1st and 3rd

A trilogy I am writing so far has six character POV narrators. I could almost write each of their stories individually then patch it all together. Each POV is relevant to the plot and world building in a disaster thriller, a little along the lines of Game of Thrones with multiple locations. I found it easier to write multiple narrators with the story outlined.

I've chosen 1st person for the protag, and 3rd person for the rest.
Thanks Declan. Yes, I suppose it really does depend on the scope. You write an epic fantasy and you almost have to have multiple POVs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
jb1111 said:
I don't do thrillers, but I usually keep my books single POV, some of them with maybe two or three at most, depending on the story, and I go out of my way to try to keep the reader from being confused if/when the POV changes. I think multiple POVs can be useful, but if you have a main character, then you have a main character and that POV should probably be the central POV to the story.

But, like I said, in thrillers maybe there is a different take on this idea.
Thanks jb

you have a main character and that POV should probably be the central POV to the story.
^ This. I agree. It's the same telling stories to your friends or whatever. The MC is the MC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
dsbrody said:
FWIW, all 13 of my thrillers are written with multiple POVs. Hard for the main character to be present for all the action, especially if it is spread out geographically.
Thanks dsbrody. That makes sense.
 

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I'm all over the map on that one. Yet, my biggest and most complicated thrillers get multiple.
 

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Just to throw a curveball, what about the traditional (but now not so popular to write) omniscient third person, so not in any specific character's POV? Or a narrator character's POV who knows all at the time of telling, which could be first person if you want.
 

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Good question. I recently started on a new fictionalized book about an abduction that occurred near me in Florida in 2009. I was originally going to write just from the POV of one female detective but realized she could not witness a lot of what I wanted to tell. I could not use any of the principals involved in the abduction as it has never been solved and probably one or more of the child's relatives do know what happened. I decided to use just the POV of various law enforcement personnel and searchers.
 

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I think either can be done well.  Single pov is pretty safe, like readers pretty much won't even notice that it's there, but if you do multiple pov they definitely will notice.  If there is a good reason for the multiple pov, then I think it's worth exploring.  Some of my favorite books are multiple pov.  But, and this is just for me and just for me as a reader, the characters have to be unique from each other and exciting in their own ways for me to want to follow a multiple pov book.  I've read more than a few books where I only like one character and was just reading the other character chapters thinking, you know I really hope that they get back to that one character I like in the next chapter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
archaeoroutes said:
Just to throw a curveball, what about the traditional (but now not so popular to write) omniscient third person, so not in any specific character's POV? Or a narrator character's POV who knows all at the time of telling, which could be first person if you want.
Thanks archaeoroutes. Omniscient third person is pretty much how I started writing. I loved it. (Complete freedom.) But readers complained about "head hopping." I'm sure it can be done effectively, though. I just opted for third person limited.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Katyrw said:
Good question. I recently started on a new fictionalized book about an abduction that occurred near me in Florida in 2009. I was originally going to write just from the POV of one female detective but realized she could not witness a lot of what I wanted to tell. I could not use any of the principals involved in the abduction as it has never been solved and probably one or more of the child's relatives do know what happened. I decided to use just the POV of various law enforcement personnel and searchers.
Thanks Katy. Well, if the POV works is the important thing. A single POV can be compelling but, like you said, limiting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
NikOK said:
I think either can be done well. Single pov is pretty safe, like readers pretty much won't even notice that it's there, but if you do multiple pov they definitely will notice. If there is a good reason for the multiple pov, then I think it's worth exploring. Some of my favorite books are multiple pov. But, and this is just for me and just for me as a reader, the characters have to be unique from each other and exciting in their own ways for me to want to follow a multiple pov book. I've read more than a few books where I only like one character and was just reading the other character chapters thinking, you know I really hope that they get back to that one character I like in the next chapter.
Yeah, well said. Any POV character has to be interesting.
 
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