On Writing Multiple Points of View, a guest post by Dana Swift
Picking the point of view for your story is one of the first and most important steps. It’s also one of the most exciting. For me point of view, more than any other literary element, connects to every aspect of craft. From what figures of speech your character uses all the way to overarching plot and structure, point of view is infused in the narrative.
When I set my sights on becoming an author, I learned about the craft behind point of view. How a writer can hide things from the reader, let readers in on a secret while the characters are kept in the dark, amplify a scene, make a character more relatable, or weave together multiple plotlines. I figured out how it worked. I just had to decide who was telling my next story.
Writing Cast in Firelight
When writing my debut, CAST IN FIRELIGHT, I immediately set off to write a dual point of view novel. At the heart of fantasy world full of action and magic there is a romance between my two main characters, Adraa and Jatin. Much of their love story centered on them falling in love not knowing who the other is. The dual point of view narrative let me dive into that mistaken identity plotline and showcase how they were each thinking and feeling about the other.
The romance was strengthened through my choice because I wanted the book to be as romantic and character driven as it was fantastical, and plot driven. If you think about multiple points of view as an extension of story structure instead of merely character selection, then you can dive deeper into genre expectations and what readers want. In CAST IN FIRELIGHT I focused in on the combination of romance and action since I wanted the book to be fun escapism.
Writing Bound by Firelight
When it came time to write the sequel, BOUND BY FIRELIGHT, I knew I wanted to keep Adraa and Jatin’s dual point of view because the story had become both of theirs. To suddenly cut out one or switch points of view entirely would have felt incomplete.
But instead of focusing on the multiple points of view as mostly a romantic devise, I used a more traditional fantasy narrative in which the two characters had their own plotlines. So instead of picking the best character point of view to hold a scene I was writing based on weaving two interlaced storylines. It held a new challenge for sure and in my opinion amped up the action and pacing.
Yes, point of view can be a simple choice. You can have one point of view or ten. But it’s more than a vehicle to get inside a character’s head. Point of view can shape and enhance the tropes, themes, and even the genre you are trying to execute.
Tips for writing multiple points of view:
- You might want to outline since multiple storylines are always harder than one and you will want to make sure the pacing isn’t too slow or too fast.
- You can find a character’s unique voice through writing and crafting your story so don’t be afraid to get the structure of multiple points of view plotted or drafted and then you can go back and edit to make sure each character sounds as they should.
- Don’t be afraid to write out of order if that is part of your process.
- Have a scene or chapter break when you need one. And I advise changing points of view with those breaks so as not to confuse readers.
- This is advice for all writing, but I think it applies well to multiple points of view storytelling. Arrive late and leave early. It’s always good when writing scenes to get to the heart of the scene as soon as possible and move to the next once you’ve captured that moment.
- Read in your genre to learn the purpose and common uses of multiple points of view. For instance, romance uses multiple points of view very differently than epic fantasy or thrillers.
Meet the author
Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Miami, Florida. Her YA Fantasy debut, Cast in Firelight will be published by Delacorte Press January 2021 and the sequel, Bound by Firelight, January 2022.
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About Bound by Firelight
The heart-pounding sequel to Cast in Firelight, perfect for fans of epic, sweepingly romantic fantasy by Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.
After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.
Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante . . . but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.
Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already. . . . Now, can they save themselves?
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication date: 01/18/2022
Series: Wickery #2
Age Range: 12 – 17 Years
Filed under: Uncategorized
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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