Writing Tip #6 – Handling Multiple Perspectives

Hello everyone,

Yay!  It’s time for another writing tip!  I’m sorry these tips haven’t been posted as routinely as I would like them to be, but things have been insane in the membrane and I promise I will try harder to post them on a regular basis.  That being said here I am, ready to give you another important writing tip that will be gold for those who love writing from different character perspectives.

Have you ever read a book where every chapter is from a different character’s perspective? Does Game of Thrones ring a bell?

Yes, well, this technique is not as easy as one might think.  The more books I read, the more I see authors who have almost come to grips with handling the different characters and their perspectives, but more often than not authors tend to make all of the character perspectives sound the same.  This is an unfortunate trap when an author is trying to come to grips with the different abilities and experiences of each character, and in turn, the characters become two-dimensional instead of three-dimensional.  My advice is that if you want to write a book with chapters surrounding the perspectives of different characters, create specific profiles of each character and describe the tone of voice they would have in person when talking or telling their stories.  I also highly suggest that you read the different chapters out loud as well to make sure that each chapter and character has their own voice.  The point of writing a novel with chapters from the perspectives of different characters is to present the stories of different characters, as well as portraying the motives and backgrounds of them as well, and you need to make sure that using a certain character’s perspective will add to the story and not confuse the reader.

Use the Three Character Rule

If you want to use the different perspectives of different characters, I would suggest to you to use the three character rule.  Don’t use more than three perspectives from three different characters.  Doing so can confuse the reader, and you as an author, and above all else you want your novel to be understandable not only in your head, but for your reader.  Before writing a novel using the different perspectives of different characters, make a story map outlining your story, but then make three additional maps to work out the perspective of your story from the three different character perspectives.  I also suggest that you have certain elements known to only certain characters in your story so that their tone and perspective has purpose.  Only use the perspectives that you need, and leave the other characters be.

Use the three rule once again and determine: 1) If a character’s memories are of use to you, 2) if a character’s tone is of use to you, and 3) your story can’t be told or understood without the perspective of the character.  If the answer is yes to all three of those specifics, then go ahead and use the first person perspective, but keep as many characters as you can in third person.  For the characters who you are using in first person, make sure to label each chapter under the name of that character who will be speaking.  Keep your story clean and understandable, and your writing will be golden.

If you have any questions regarding this tip, please feel free to email me!

Much love,

Ashley
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