Trouble with POV and multiple lead characters.

by Madeline

Question: I'm writing a YA novel series told from 1st person POV. Two characters (the main characters) are being told from this POV at the moment. I am switching characters every chapter or so. Later I am also planning to write from the villain's POV (as I said switching characters every chapter). I am also telling the reader which character is being told from that POV of that chapter.

Is this a wise move? Or should I stick with only one character's POV or change to another POV?

Answer: There are no hard and fast rules on this. Dramatica theory maintains that readers feel a closer connection to a story with one main character, one POV. My feeling is that this is even more true with children's and YA books.

However, many successful books have multiple POV characters.

The question you have to ask yourself is why you are using multiple POVs? What do they add to the story that would be hard to achieve with a single POV?

For instance, one possible reason is that you are trying to appeal to different types of readers by giving each group a character they can relate to more easily (for example, one for boys, one for girls). This is tricky to do, because it's the nature of the story that usually determines which gender is more likely to read it, and it is hard to please everyone. (For example, many romances are told from both the male and female lead's POV, but few men read them.)

Another reason for multiple POVs might be to explore a theme from a different perspective, to make the thematic message less dogmatic or simplistic. Similarly, you might explore the impact character's perspective in order to influence how the reader feels about the main character's ultimate choice. Or you might simply want to convey some information to the reader that the main character will be unaware of, to create dramatic irony.

Bottom line: if you don't have to use multiple POVs - if you don't have a really good reason why you need them - if they don't enrich the story beyond what you could do with a single POV, then try sticking to one POV. You can always develop other POVs in the second draft, if you find you can't accomplish what you want to do with a single POV.

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