Or in this case, how many is too many? Point-of-view characters, that is. Welcome to Monday Musings, where I ponder some aspect of writing that has popped into my head over the last.
The WIP I am currently revising, Memories and Magic, has two POV characters, and with a couple of exceptions, the chapters alternate between their perspectives. It is all in third person, but it is clear which character we are following.
Obviously, since finishing the Story a Day Challenge, I haven’t much thought about the sequel, Rulers and Rebellions, but I have been wondering one thing. Most of the flash fiction pieces I wrote to brainstorm that plotline are from the POV of Clara Winterburn, the Queen of Thelidon and one of the main characters in the first book, and Rikard Voidsun, a new character that I created during the challenge. He and Clara will be at odds for most of the book, so I think it would work quite well to show both their perspectives.
But then there’s Max. Sweet, lovely Max who goes out of his way to protect Clara during the first book. He and his aunt give up their pretty cushy life in Thelidon to look after Clara during her exile. And a couple of my flash fiction pieces did focus on Max, and a whole subplot that he could possibly have, all to himself. All the focus is really on Clara in the first book, so wouldn’t it be good to explore Max’s own life in a little more detail?
Part of me can’t help thinking that while all that is true, having three POV characters might be a bit much, that it might muddy the waters a bit. I know authors like George R. R. Martin can get away with half a dozen or more POV characters, but he’s writing 1000-page epics. My stories are a lot simpler than that, a fact which does not bother me in and of itself. But that does leave me with these considerations.
I’m not sure that I really have a point to this post, or a solid conclusion. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about, and it’s very early days for Rulers and Rebellions anyway, so chances are I’ll figure this sort of thing out when that story is my main focus.
Tell me, though, how many perspectives do you prefer? Do you just enjoy following the adventures of one character? Do you like seeing more than that? Can you keep track of several, particularly if they’re off doing different things?