Different POVs for Part 1 and Part 2
Hi, I'd like to have two parts to my book: Part 1 would be from one character's point of view, and Part 2 would pick up the story some time later from another character's point of view.
I think I've settled on third-person limited for both POVs, but even so, do you think readers might feel...cheated or tricked when the POV switches halfway through the story? And are there any other potential issues I should consider before going through with it?
I would clearly label Part 1 with that character's name so readers will have a heads-up that the POV will change. Thank you!Answer:
What you're proposing is one way of writing a multiple point-of-view novel. One comes across many successful novels that are variations on this approach.
Something to consider when you have two point-of-view characters, both of whom occupy major amounts of story space, is that each of them needs to have his own story, his own complete journey. Their stories may overlap and each character may contribute to the overall story of the novel, but their individual stories need to express complete arcs in themselves.
Where readers can feel cheated is if the first character's story is left incomplete -- if his/her inner conflict is left unresolved. By the time the break occurs, the readers should be quite attached to the first character and will want to see the resolution of his story. (With the second character, his/her personal story will presumably be resolved in the final chapters along with the overall plot.)
You have several options to make sure
the first character's story resolves...
1. Bring his story to a resolution before you begin the second character's story. This may be easier if both characters' stories are supposed to be happening simultaneously. (So the second character's story fills in the missing pieces from the first part or adds another layer of understanding.)
2. Find a way to put a resolution to the first character's story near the end of the book. For example, the second character could stumble across a message, diary, blog post, etc. written by the first character that illustrates his resolution.
3. Put the first character's resolution into an epilogue. In other words, switch back to his point of view briefly at the end.
(Numbers 2 and 3 would mean keeping the reader in some suspense during Part 2 regarding what happens to the first character, which could be effective.)
4. Another approach is to have two completely separate stories whose only connection may be that they take place in the same story world or that they share a particular theme or motif. In other words, there is no overall plot that connects both stories so you have two standalone novellas. Examples of this approach include David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas
, Frank Miller's Sin City
, or Stephen King's Different Seasons
(though admittedly, these books feature more than two point-of-view characters).
The downside to number 4 is that the reader does not get to develop as close a connection to any one character. The result is somewhat a cross between a novel and an anthology. However, this approach can still be quite successful.