Whose story is it anyway?

16 thoughts on “Whose story is it anyway?”

    1. Hi Paul
      Interesting – did not particularly question that casting but he is a much less assertive character than Gates.Still wowed by Neil Morrisey out of the Behaving Badly world (oops, think I’m behind the times, also caught him in another crime series recently though can’t remember which one!) I watch more crime than I read, by the way!
      Ali B

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  1. That point often comes up in feedback, I think. Multiple povs are fine, IMHO, but I think we need clear transitions – and obviously we need to want to have engaged with the character enough to listen to their pov. Nice post! 🙂 x

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  2. I don’t like POVs that flit around too much, especially within one scene. I think in some instances it’s necessary to have more than one or two POVs if an important scene takes place that affects the story but the main characters are not present. I’d agree with Sheryl’s “POV” on POV.

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  3. I’m not familiar with this particular show – but generally speaking the quality of writing for US TV shows really is fantastic – but then it should be considering they usually have a whole team of writers. I love ‘Revenge’ and all the ‘NCIS’ shows and ‘House’. In a novel, I like third person multi view point as I feel it lends to a meatier story if handled properly by the author..
    Great post!
    Janice xx

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    1. Hi Janice
      Well Line of Duty is actually a UK show, so there you go! And it occurs to me that Reaching for the Stars is a good example of multi-viewpoint – works perfectly!
      AliB

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  4. Not that I’ve watched Line of Duty, in fact don’t watch much TV at all nowadays as too busy writing etc but POV is so important. I like multiviewpoints, and those that are switched well can bring so much to any story, be it TV or book, but badly handled they are a nightmare, particularly if in first person, it can all get very confusing. Great post, as usual, Alison. Thanks. 🙂

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  5. Hi Kit
    I can’t even remember which book got me started on this! I know I am reading one now which I think woudl be classified as ‘omniscient narrator’ and although it’s entertaining, I can feel my interest starting to wane as I’m not sure I care enough about any of the characters. It does give the book a completely different feel.
    AliB

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  6. Hi Ali, I saw the first episode of LoD but somehow didn’t follow it up… though reading your comments makes me wish I had. What you are saying about multi-viewpoints in a novel is really interesting. I’ve never managed to write a novel without several viewpoints, and have found it easier – I can run out of steam in one character and enjoy getting into someone else to see what they are thinking and doing. I like the irony you can get when one character thinks one thing about another character, but then when you get into the other character’s head you see that he/she is not thinking that at all! BUT as you say, the danger is lack of focus and depth, and who is the book about etc. Writing ‘Cells’ with 3 character viewpoints I was advised that I had to make sure that all three had equal importance… not easy!! So, now I’m seeing if I can write something from one viewpoint but finding it v hard! Thanks for discussing this!

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    1. Hi Harriet
      My first novel (a love story of sorts) had 2 viewpoints (man-woman) and like you I felt it benefited from the changes. ‘Kettle’ began with two (mother and daughter) and moved to one which turned out not to be a problem once I got going, esp as I was already using (I think) first person. My WIP is in such early stages I’m still not sure – it’s historical and probably requires at least two, possibly more – but after all this time feel v. apprehensive about going that way. Interesting you have gone in opposite direction! Are you using first person? I am sticking to 3rd this time, however many POVs.
      AliB

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  7. Interesting discusssion here. I wrote multi POV from day one, always with two central characters but I do feel some of the side characters (sometimes) have stories that are really important to round off. So much so, that a few of them I have now ‘wrapped up’ in my next novel (six stories plus a cameo in one book). Whilst the editor of my first book cut two chapters, essentially leaving the story of a side-character hanging, I have received a number of Emails from readers (and had a Twitter flurry when it was released) about how the main character’s sister’s story ended. So it goes to show that all that matters is the reader’s viewpoint and some aren’t interested in rules and conventions, they just want lose ends tied up! Understand what you are saying though Ali and it’s always a risk doing multi-POV as it does require the reader to really ‘feel’ the characters and empathise/sympathise/get involved with them. That’s always the worry for a new writer and I still agonise each time a book comes out.

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  8. Hi Linn – love that you have gone back to your minor characters and written their stories elsewhere- they were obviously ‘real’ people who needed a novel of their own – have been a bit tempted to do the same myself a couple of times.
    thanks to everyone for chipping in – very useful discussion.
    AliB

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  9. Thought-provoking! I *get* that angle whereby multi-viewpoint is somehow easier to accept, nay, can be enjoyable in a tv series. And not just crime. I’m thinking Men Behaving Badly, Ab Fab. But, like you, in my reading and writing, I need to read the pov of one, two or very few if I’m not to end up hurling the book down! Either as reader or writer. Maybe that’s simply a case of needing clarity about whose story I’m reading or writing. In my current WiP, I tried different povs at the outline stage. Now I have 3rd person pov, 2 main, 2 semi-main but shown through various means and then the supporting rules.

    As I write on, I feel more and more that that’s the best way to tell it. Can’t imagine how it would be televised (oh lol, ego) but am quite prepared for agent/pub to require single 1st person pov in future!

    Great post and topical for me!

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    1. Hi Tessa
      always interesting to look at POV on TV which usually skips around much more – I beleive it’s called ‘cinematic’ when writing – i.e. camera can see anything, I suppose. Not sure if/how this differs from ‘omniscient narrator’ – afraid my knowledge of writing theory is patchy at best!
      Good luck with the WIP – always good to go with the flow!
      AliB

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  10. Hi Ali, at the moment I’m using 3rd person one POV BUT feeling very unsure of where I’m going at the moment with this story, and know I will feel tempted to go to other POVs. Perhaps we shouldn’t worry too much about it, and just go where the story needs us to go. Historical…. how interesting, what period I wonder…. or do you want to keep it under wraps until you’ve got further? That is another interesting discussion – how quickly do we show it, or discuss, work in progress? And does it help or hinder?

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