Monday, May 18, 2009

Multiple points of view

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More of the books I read are written from multiple points of view.

It is not just that they have what I was taught to call "omniscient" point of view. The reader is god-like. He or she can see
everybody's thoughts and feelings.

It is instead, that there are whole sections, sometimes written in first person, from a particular character's point of view. Other sections (or chapters) are from the points of view of other characters, again sometimes in first person.

Contrast that with a book like
Grave Undertaking where every word comes from the main character's mouth . The action is straight through. The author relentlessly pushes the story forward as the main character sees and experiences the story.

My questions: Which way is better? Or does it matter? When the writer uses multiple points of view is it like tennis players playing without the net? Or is the story all that matters? Is the technique inconsequential?

These are heavy, English-teacher kinds of questions. Do you have a thought on all of this?

5 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

I have heard that there are readers who will not read anything written in first person. Huh, think of the books they miss out on. Using various POVs is not easy to do; I've seen it done very well and very badly. I'm in favor of whatever best serves the story, as long as it's well crafted.

Joe Barone said...

Many of the best books I read are first person. Off hand, I think of Easy Rawlins.

Corey Wilde said...

Excellent example.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I prefer one POV, will tolerate two or three-if it's very clear who is talking. I HATE having to figure it out.

Joe Barone said...

Patti,
Your post made me laugh. I'm with you with it comes to having to figure it out.