• Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us!

Opinions about multiple POVs in fantasy

Insolent Lad

I had more POVs than I care to count up in my one epic but I've generally stuck to one or two in the shorter novels I've written since. I think there something to be said for 'one' omniscient POV when too many voices start to show up. Then we always know whose head we're in--the story teller's.
My plan atm is 6 POV protagonists in different corners of the world who eventually meet up and form a sort-of mercenary company. Plus probably some antagonist POV chapters, or maybe a POV close to the antagonist, in case I want to keep their thoughts hidden.
Again, I know disconnected POVs are getting common in epic fantasy, and you should write the novel you want to write. But for me, the downside of having a book that feels like separate novels is a tough one to work around, as you've got to bring your a-game to each of the awesome character voices to compensate for how jarring it can feel.
I agree with Devor on the issue of diconnected POV's. I enjoyed the Song of Ice and Fire books, but I had a lot of trouble keeping track of the overal plot of the book and it often felt like a couple of separate books (after all, Daenerys features in the first book, but is completely detached from the "main story"). He pulls it off because he has great characters and the story is perhaps less about the plot and more about how characters react in this huge world. But it is a real risk for me.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that I'm not a fast reader. I can easily take a few weeks or a month to finish a book (life keeps me busy...). And having a very complex story structure with a lot of character viewpoints is a lot harder to keep in your head.

As for writing them, I stick to one or two. Getting two viewpoints distinct enough and keeping track of them is hard enough as it is, with learning all the other writing stuff. I'll probably increase the amount as my skill increases. But as a beginning writer I focus on keeping it limited.


I have only two POV characters, and chapters alternate between their POVs. I remember liking the POV switching when I read Kate Elliot's Crown of Stards series - but also feeling it got a little weird, and losing interest in some plotlines because I liked one POV character less then another. So I guyess the challenge is to keep all the POV characters equally interesting.

Toby Johnson

tolkien started doing this in the second LOtR, when done correctly tihs can work really well. Ive been dabbling in the idea of doing this in my latest book