It seems the more epic the story is the more roadblocks you run into. It’s usually one mountain of a roadblock too. My latest WIP is told from the point-of-view of several characters and I’m struggling with how to arrange the different POVs/chapters.

We write what we want to read and I don’t like stories with too many POVs (point-of-views). Game of Thrones irritated me because every chapter was told from a different perceptive. Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Series was amazing but sometimes she had too many POVs for my liking. Unfortunately, my novel is heading in that direction. I need to find a balance- keep all the character perspectives without annoying myself and the reader.

Another issue I’m having is monitoring the flow of time between different POVs. For instance, I’m with Mike for 3 days. When I switch to Susan, I need to remember 3 days has passed for her as well.

Or worse, I start with Mike’s POV. The next chapter is Susan’s. 2 days pass with her. I switch to Mary’s perspective. Another 2 days go by with her. When I return to Mike, it’s 4 days later. How do you keep up with that?! Just writing it gave me a headache. Why does my novel sound like a math problem?!

Since this is the draft, I’m ignoring time, for the most part. I’ll deal with it later. As for chapter arrangements, I’m treating it the same way I handled my essays in college- the end of one section should somehow lead to the beginning of the next one. Doesn’t solve my dilemma though, does it?

How do you determine chapter order when you have multiple POVs? How do you manage the flow of time from chapter to chapter?


William Kendall · June 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I keep things along a general timeline, but I stop chapters where it feels right. I think this is one that depends on the genre. I'm writing in the spy genre, and multiple POV works pretty well. My two main characters get the spotlight, but everyone else gets some POV time, even characters whom I don't actually give a name.

Kelly Hashway · June 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I haven't written multiple POV yet, but my next book will be a dual POV, so I guess this is something I'll have to think about.

Anonymous · June 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm

It might be helpful to have a major character interacting with the others throughout the story somehow. That way, even with the various POVs, you have some easier flow or connection from chapter to chapter.

Alex · July 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I'm not a writer, but I love to read. One of the things that I enjoy in my reading is parallel timeline concept, where several characters are moving along the same timeline at different speeds. The cool thing is how the writer finally creates scenarios in each timeline where thay all eventually come togather. Will it help to create a timeline matrix? Just a thought.

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