We writers know that point of view often comes instinctively, with one or maybe two characters insisting on having their voices heard. But what if a whole gaggle of equally interesting characters are clamoring for your attention? Then you have no choice but to have a go at writing a multiple-POV narrative, and see what happens.
I’ve done that a few times in the past. And I’m doing that right now, with my WIP, which is an adult novel set in an imaginary writers’ retreat in the very real and very charming Loire Valley village of Azay le Rideau, home to my favourite castle in all of France. In the novel, I focus on no less than nine main characters—six writers from the retreat, including five aspiring writers and the writing tutor, who are all Australians, though of different ethnic backgrounds, and three French people, locals from the village itself. (Having French and Australian characters works well for me, as I’m French-Australian myself and know both cultures and countries intimately!)
And I thought WU readers might be interested to hear more about the process of managing all those POVs.
Nine main characters, mostly women, but all very different personalities, all very different backstories, and from a range of ages and backgrounds: crazy brave, eh? In fact this is the largest number of POVs I’ve ever tried to juggle in a novel (the most in the past has been 4). Within that gaggle of nine, I knew there’d be a few who would be demanding more than their fair share, and would mostly have to be reined in but occasionally needed to be given their head.
I knew from the start that this novel would have to be tightly structured and planned ahead, which is unlike what I usually do; I’m a pantser normally, with the beginning firmly set but not much else.
How setting worked its magic [Read more…]