Friday, November 22, 2019

Writing a Single Point of View

My first two novels were written with multiple point-of-view (POV) characters, and it never occurred to me to do otherwise. It just felt natural. I have seen a few readers complain about not liking the change of characters, but it never bothered me much given that I really love reading multiple POVs in a novel. I love complexity.
One POV from The Immortality Game, art by Stephan Martiniere
But in the sci-fi novel I am currently working on, I tried to do it with just a single POV character. It was more 'young adult', which is a category forced on us by the book industry these days and not something I actually like, but having said that, the YA category often outsells the standard adult category. So since I felt a young protagonist was necessary for this particular story, it felt logical to try to tell it in the manner of most YA novels -- with a single POV.

I managed to get through about seven chapters this way before hitting a wall. It began to feel to me that I was running the character around far too much to try to witness and participate in all the key plot points. It began to ring false to me. And this is with only two primary locations for the whole plot!

I haven't read a ton of books with just one POV, so I don't recall whether I had this feeling of the character running around too much and seeming to overhear or oversee too many key moments, but I vaguely recall feeling this way a number of times. I'm certain some authors have brilliantly pulled a single POV off with no such issues. I guess I'm just not that kind of writer.

I've come to realize that I just can't make this story work without at least two other POV characters. I wonder if it will always be like this in my writing?


  1. My last novel was single point of view (still third person though) and there were some challenging moments. But the story followed him and it flowed naturally. If you're hitting a wall, then you probably do need at least one other character.

    1. It's weird, I can no longer respond to comments on my work computer on Blogger, so I have to wait until I get home. Not sure what's wrong with Blogger.