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Writing Books/Different perspective in narrative


I really hope you can help me. I am currently working on my first novel, where a brother and sister team kidnap different people, of all backgrounds, take them into the forest, and spend the next week chasing and killing them. In the end, they are brought down by the police and forest rangers when they take a Russian diplomat's daughter, who moves heaven and earth to find her, finally tracing her to the forest. My problem is, I am writing in split perspective, between the protagonist, a girl from England who is grieving over the recent death of her brother, kidnapped with the diplomat's daughter, and Robyn, the psychopathic killer who is hearing her dead grandmother's voice in her head all the time, criticising her and driving her to take risks in order to prove to her Grandmother that she isn't worthless. Do I need to add a third perspective, from a law enforcement side? I was planning to have a climatic scene where the police have captured the brother and surrounded Robyn, who is by now dealing with a psychological breakdown, and sets her hut (she and her brother live in the forest) on fire, trapping both herself and the two surviving victims. None of the characters know the girl is a diplomat's daughter until the end, as she doesn't speak English. Would a senator's daughter be more appropriate? If so, any ideas on how to keep her identity a secret? If the brother/sister killers knew who she was, they would not have taken her as they prefer low profile targets that no one important will miss.
Many thanks, and apologies for the length of my question.

Hi, Alex.

The question of perspective is a pretty personal one.  I can't tell you what is better, because it's really all about the execution of it.  Personally, I tend to write mainly from one character's perspective because I find it the most emotionally captivating.  But again, that's just my own opinion.

I will warn you that trying to write the perspective of a schizophrenic person (which is what you're describing the killer as being) is VERY difficult to do in a convincing way.  Bear in mind that a schizophrenic character will be what we call an unreliable narrator.  Things may or may not be as depicted by her.  So I'd think pretty carefully before you settle on that angle.

I'll tell you what does sound interesting to me.  Your diplomat's daughter doesn't speak English, so things from her point of view would be pretty unusual.  She wouldn't understand what those around her are saying, so her narrative would be constantly edgy and fearful.  There's potential in that, I think.

As for specific plot questions, I don't really want to address those because this is your story, not mine.  The way I would do something isn't necessarily the way you should do something.  And in truth, I wouldn't worry about those points until you reach that part of the story.  The writing process itself will give you insights into how your story should be told.

Best of luck.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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