Writing Books/Narritives

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Question
Hi,

With my book, I've placed very high importance on making my characters seem realistic (as realistic as fantasy goes anyway!). I've made 15 or so which I believe to be very strong, and I want the reader to be able to know as much about them as is possible, so they seem so 3-dimensional.

The problem is, I can't do this by writing in the first person perspective of the main character only. I thought maybe I could switch the narrators chapter by chapter, so the reader gets to know them and more detail is given to the plot, rather second-hand information coming from a minor character who simply tells the main character of the actions of others.
I have a problem with this, as writing in other characters perspectives strips the essance of the main character, making her seem less important. The book is written with hints of her personality trailing through the story, and giving her opinions on various issues that arise. So how can more information be given to the reader, without damaging the image of the main character?

I hope you could maybe give me a reccommendation of what to do, whether to keep the one perspective or the multi-narritives, or whether that would be damaging and too complex. I have enough story for each character to tell their part.

Thank you for your time,
Charlotte

Answer
Charlotte:

First, I do agree with you... such narrator switching can, indeed, remove a lot of focus from the protagonist.  Especially since you're talking about fifteen (!) characters.

I would, however, disagree (in principle) with your view that a first person narrative won't allow your readers to achieve strong knowledge of your other characters.  Then again, it depends on the relations between these characters and the protagonist.

I suppose the easiest way around this is to not use first person at all.  Why not third?

Here's the thing about POV...  you'll know the right one when you find it.  You may have to experiment, trying a few chapters in first person, then redoing them in third, to see which really works the best.  Don't assume that first person is the way to go.

My fantasy novel, WISH YOU WERE HERE, was written in a third person limited POV, which means that everything was shown from his perspective.  If he couldn't experience it, neither could the reader.  Still, because the protagonists views were so thorough and vivid, the supporting characters do come across very well.  They're not flat at all.  It all depends on how you write it, after all, and POV is not as limiting of a factor as you seem to think.

Hope that's helpful.

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

Education/Credentials
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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