Is this second POV needed?

by Bruce
(Michigan )

Question: I am writing a story with two main characters that don't really affect each others lives for 90% of the book. The main idea for the story came from one char though. The other character got created when I was taking a closer look into my plot gaps and is my missing link. Without the other character I am worried that people would look at the story and see an ending that should never have been possible, but I am a little worried that people might become bored with this second character. The second character is mostly emotional and political.

I am mostly worried that the second character might not keep my readers turning the pages......

What would you do? Cut them out, make them have more going on, or cut down on the amount of chapters based around them? (I am currently switching POV every chapter)

Answer: Bear in mind that I haven't read your story.

That said, it sounds to me that your secondary point-of-view character has an important function to play in the story. However, if most of that person's story is not so interesting, you might consider reducing their role in the book.

For instance, maybe it would be enough for your 2nd POV character to appear once per act rather than every other chapter. Just give the reader a few key events from his/her POV, enough to establish their dramatic arc and justify the important role they are to play (perhaps at the climax?). Just provide the interesting bits.

In other words, maybe you introduce the character in one chapter of act one (establish their motivation or purpose). Have one chapter in act two where they get more involved - perhaps put them in an increasingly difficult dilemma. Towards the climax, have them do what they must do that affects the outcome. Finally, show how they end up in act four.

This would turn your 2nd POV character's story into an important subplot.

Most importantly, you never want to bore your reader. So if you don't like that idea and you really want to give a lot of pages to this 2nd character, then your other option is to make their story more interesting.

Comments for Is this second POV needed?

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Nov 15, 2013
by: Todd Rogers

I would think that instead of trying so hard to keep your story arcs so divergent from the main storyline, you should, perhaps, weave them together more tightly to give the entire story more symmetry and balance.

At a recent Kindle ePublishing event I attended in Los Angeles, we learned a really neat way to write a book while keeping the information organized.

1) Get 4 packs of index cards (at least 100ct each; I like the rainbow colored variety so I can color code my info as needed)

2) Break your plot down into a set of events (the same events that were you doing this freestyle or on the fly would flow logically from the beginning to the end of your story: think cause and then effect or decision and then consequence), writing each major event on the same color index card.

3) Using another color index card, write down the effect or consequence of the plot event you just made cards for, limiting it to no more than 2 or 3 per card.

4) Repeat Step 3 until you've mapped out the entire storyline.

5) Write your dialogue to fit what is written on the cards, in whatever order you wish to do it (so long as the story remains balanced)

This method helped me write my first book.

Hope this helps!

Good Luck!

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