If writing in 1st Person of main character, how do you write in other characters if POV character can't see them, or hear them?

Question: If writing in 1st Person of main character, how do you write in other characters if the POV character can't see them, or hear them?

Answer: Exactly.

The short answer is that you can't.

Either you...

1. Get really clever about finding ways for the main character to observe all the key events, or find out about them somehow (e.g. view recordings, eavesdrop, get second-hand accounts, read a newspaper, etc.). Lots of books do this (e.g. The Hunger Games). At any rate, with a single POV character, the reader can only find out about events as the main character finds out about them.

2. Use multiple POV characters. Maybe you only need to introduce another POV character for one key scene -- a prologue, for instance. Or maybe you develop a subplot involving a second character that will weave throughout the book. Some books use half a dozen POV characters. Of course, the trade off is that the more POV characters you have, the less close a connection the reader will have with your main character.

3. Use an omniscient narrator instead. This lets you move around freely in the story world, but the cost may be that your reader does not feel an intimate connection with any one character. The reader's experience is one of looking at the characters rather than being one of the characters.

All of these options can work. You just have to decide which is best for your story and how you want the reader to experience it.

But don't underestimate the power of getting clever.

Best of luck.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Celebrating our 2nd year as one of the...

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero