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POV troubles

(8 Posts)
fiftygradesofhay Thu 05-Sep-19 18:53:18

Please could someone advise me on this. In my book there are three characters with POVs - the MC plus 2 others - and in most of the book, a change of POV has a new chapter. Which is how I think it is supposed to be done?

Towards the end of the book there are two chapters to do with how 2 of the POV characters interracted with each other in the past, and in these 2 chapters I want to be able to switch from one POV to the other, so say what x experiencing and thinking for a few paragraphs and then what y is experiencing and thinking and switch back to x again after a bit. Is that acceptable do you know, or would editors reject it?

I hope that that makes sense and thank you in advance!

ColdAndSad Fri 06-Sep-19 18:34:49

Unless you do it very well indeed, changing POV in the middle of a chapter or scene is not a good idea. It doesn't show the reader a broader view of the narrative: it's almost always just confusing.

I'd stick to one POV per scene. It works better.

AppropriateAdult Tue 10-Sep-19 10:36:52

You can do it, but there has to be a very clear delineation between different POVs - literally a big space with a * or whatever to show the change. I've started books where the POV jumps around within the same paragraph and they're virtually unreadable.

fiftygradesofhay Tue 10-Sep-19 11:43:20

Thanks for confirming to both of you smile

ChocOrCheese Tue 10-Sep-19 17:37:57

I'm going to disagree (slightly) with the previous posters.

Head hopping is hideous and difficult to read. But it is possible to switch POVs in a chapter if you do it carefully and well. I don't like the idea of leaving a space or marking the text as that (to me) looks obvious and breaks the flow just as badly as a clumsy head hop.

The way I think you might be able to achieve what you want is to think of your narrative as a camera. Basically you are close in someone's head and thoughts, then you "zoom" out to something neutral and then you can move in to the other character's head. This assumes you are narrating in third person. If each character is in first person then it will be way harder to pull off.

Nuffaluff Tue 10-Sep-19 17:47:26

Yes to what choc says.
So you could use something the two characters are experiencing, eg. Sea crashing on shore, clock ticking in room, to do the breaks between the two points of view.

fiftygradesofhay Fri 20-Sep-19 15:19:16

Thank you very much, that is really helpful. I haven't had a chance to look at what I have written again yet, things have been crazy. I really appreciate the advice.

One voice is adult the other a child so they are quite different voices. But still head hopping.

ermwhatda Fri 20-Sep-19 21:34:09

I've seen it done using different type faces for different characters: you know it's Joe speaking as Joe uses a different font, or is italicized, for example...

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