I'm still a new (writing novels for 5.5 yrs) writer and am still learning the craft. I have 1 book E-Published and am working on 5 more. In my first book I used multiple POV's and my editor had me go back and rewrite the parts where I switched POV back into the main character's POV. My editor told me this just wasn't done. Since this was a sci- fi, I was able to come up with some creative changes and make my editor happy. I did feel that in some places the reader was short changed.
In some of my other WIP's I have multiple POV's and would like to keep them in. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone about their ideas, how to, and tips/hints in using multiple POV.
thanks in advance for your help
G W Pickle

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Actually I love it when mystery writers experiment with language and form. Lehane has a problem getting images right. Burke's images are always right, but you may have a point about image-making not being a part of the personality of a certain character. It could be argued, though, that thoughts and feelings need not be translated into a man's language, since they are wordless. Almost all internalizing ends up in translation.
The problem may be that writers rarely just think. They are in the habit of using words even when the occupation is purely mental.
Well, hey, the whole book is the author's. Few readers doubt that for a moment. The trick is to make the reader forget it temporarily and enter the story as if he/she were a paticipant in the action. I don't believe that 1st P. narration necessarily does this better than 3rd P. And the thoughts and views of the character are very rarely identical with the author's. That is part of characterization.
I'm really impressed with the response I've gotten on this topic. I realize now that I was talking more about character POV as in whose telling the scene instead of the general story's POV. Sorry, but it has proven to be quite interesting and I've learned from your responses. Thanks again, I'm looking forward to hearing and learning more from this group.
G W Pickle
I like multiple close third person POV (not sure if that's the right technical term!), but only where it's clear who's doing the talking. I think a scene or chapter break is a must, rather than head hopping (which I find very lazy and confusing). I like books with ensemble casts so I enjoy seeing the action unfold from each of their eyes in turn (but not at the same time).

I also like first person (and for me first person and close third person are more or less the same thing, only without the use of 'I'. Again, I'm not sure if I'm right with that, but it's just my feeling).

Does this make sense?

First Person

I sat down opposite the private detective and put my knitting bag down on the desk. He looked as though he hadn't slept for a week, and he was positively reeking of strong spirits. I wondered if he was the right man for the job and my uncertainty must have shown in my face because he leaned across the desk and said "You got a problem with me, lady?"

"Not at all, Mr Shovel. I was just collecting my thoughts, that's all." An unpleasant smirk crossed his lips. I didn't know what it meant, but I didn't like the look of it, so I hurried on. "My name is Miss Marble, and I need your elp." I took off my gloves and delved into my knitting bag, looking for the pistol I had found beside Lord Arboghast's body in the dining room that very morning. It was a terrible shock. I had been expecting a plate of kippers, and had found Lord Arboghast slumped on the fine linen of the Soddem Hall dining table, his head on a silver salver, with an apple stuffed in his mouth, just like a suckling pig.

I must have scared Mr Shovel, because he said a rude word and jumped up out of his chair, reaching into his jacket pocket. He pulled out a .38 and pointed it at me. "Freeze lady, before I fill you so full of holes you could double as a tea strainer. Now, put the gun down before I knock those grey curls of yours from here to next Tuesday."

Omniscient Third Person

The little old lady sat down at the desk opposite the private detective and put her knitting bag down on the desk. As she surveyed him she wondered if she had done the right thing in coming to him. Sam Shovel looked as though he hadn't slept for a week and she could smell last night's whiskey oozing from his pores. As a tee-totaller herself, she was immediately put off and made a small moue of distaste at his appearance.

Shovel bridled at her obvious disgust. He leaned across the desk. "You got a problem with me, lady?"

Miss Marble shook her head. "Not at all, Mr Shovel. I was just collecting my thoughts, that's all." He smirked, imagining her thoughts, like a flock of senile sheep, being gathered together by an aging sheepdog in her brain. She hurried on. "My name is Miss Marble, and I need your help." She primly took off her gloves and delved into her capacious knitting bag, looking for the pistol she had found beside Lord Arboghast's body in the dining room earlier that day, where it was spread out on the dining room table with his head on a silver salver and an apple in his mouth.

"Shit." Shovel's heart started beating faster. His whole life flashed before him, as he wondered whether Fingers Muldoon's goons had caught up with him at last. He jumped up out of his chair, reaching into his jacket pocket. He pulled out a .38 and pointed it at the innocent looking little old lady with the gun. "Freeze lady, before I fill you so full of holes you could double as a tea strainer. Now, put the gun down before I knock those grey curls of yours from here to next Tuesday."

Confusing and Lazy Multiple Points Of View

I sat down opposite the private detective and put my knitting bag down on the desk. He looked as though he hadn't slept for a week, and he was positively reeking of strong spirits. I wondered if he was the right man
for the job. I pulled a face.

Who the hell did this old biddy think she was? I wasn't good enough for her so what the hell was she doing here? I leaned across the desk and got right up into her face. "You got a problem with me, lady?"

The old bitch shook her blue rinsed head and her mouth pursed until she looked as though she'd been sucking a lemon. "Not at all, Mr Shovel. I was just collecting my thoughts, that's all." I hated every inch of the cow, including her annoyingly snooty voice. Collecting her thoughts? Senile old bint probably hadn't had a sensible thought since 1974. I sat back in my chair and waited for her to continue.

Really, what a very rude man. I took off my gloves and delved into my knitting bag, looking for the pistol I had found beside Lord Arboghast's body in the dining room that very morning. It was a terrible shock. I had been expecting a plate of kippers, and had found Lord Arboghast slumped on the fine linen of the Soddem Hall dining table, his head on a silver salver, with an apple stuffed in his mouth, just like a suckling pig. I looked up as Mr Shovel said a rude word.

A gun? The mad old dame had a gun. This was it. I knew Fingers Muldoon had sent her after me. I could feel my heart beating faster, I only hoped I could get to my .38 before this Marble woman stopped it beating at all. I reached into my pocket. "Freeze lady, before I fill you so full of holes you could double as a tea strainer. Now, put the gun down before I knock those grey curls of yours from here to next Tuesday."

I can think of numberous examples of books that have alternating chapters between first and third person (good AND bad), but something not done so often (because I imagine it's bloody hard) is switching between two first person viewpoints. Ray Banks does alternating first person really well in SATURDAY'S CHILD - two VERY distinctive voices - you know exactly who's talking. Simon Kernick also does it well in THE MURDER EXCHANGE (and there's also one third person chapter in there which is VERY memorable :o) )

Present tense throws me out of a story in a bad book, but not in a good one. Sometimes I will have read loads of it before I realise it's in the present tense.

In a really good book, I have to think hard about what POV it is and what tense it's in - if it works it works.

Wow, sorry, what was the question again? :o)
I think you just wrote POVs for Dummies, Donna! Great examples.

Another book I can think of with multiple first person povs is Susanna Moore's The Big Girls, which has four first person voices. I found it hard to distinguish them at first, but gradually they became distinct and I could piece together the story they shared. It was like listening to a string quartet (playing really dark, tormented music!)

And I agree with your final point - whatever my alleged allergies are, there are books that do things I say I dislike, but I don't even notice because they are so well done.
Good job, and very funny!
My general rules on POV (crime fiction):

POV change=scene change.

No more than five separate POVs per book.

The protag's POV should take up 70-80 percent of the narrative.

Rules were meant to be broken, of course, but only after you've developed some serious writing chops. IMHO.
I don't think there's anything wrong with multiple POVs as long as each one gets a whole chapter, or at least a section of a chapter, to reduce reader confusion. It's very annoying when you jump from head to head - quite dizzying, in fact. It's probably a good idea to stick with one POV in early books, until you're more experienced. I'm reading a Nora Roberts book at the moment, and she jumps around all over the place and gets away with it, but she's published hundreds of books and I guess no one's going to argue with her.

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