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Multiple Perspectives

edited October 2015 in - Writing Problems
Has anyone on TB written a piece using multiple limited narratives? What advice would you give, what did you find the most difficult aspects?

I'm also looking for book recommendations that demonstrate good use of this. I already have a list of a few (The Slap, One Hundred Years of Solitude, As I Lay Dying) but there may be some lesser known ones that give a really good illustration of this.

The plot I have in mind does seem to cry out for this sort of structure and I am anticipating writing it in four parts, each from a different perspective with some of the main events crossing over and the bigger details gradually being revealed with the change of narrator.


  • I think most of my stories use third person limited. Not sure if I have any tips, I still haven't got a clue how I write...it just comes out :S

    Best I can think of for now is write the plot out how it happened, and then have each of the four characters tell ever so slightly contradictory tales (as I'm sure you will), but have NONE of them get it quite right. As would happen in real life. If it rings true for you then it will for us.

    Harry Potter and GoT books.
  • I would definitely take a look at George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. The separate POVs per chapter work well. Tolkien did it in a way as well, splitting the books so you have Frodo and Sam's journey in one part and then the three hunters (Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli) in another. With overlapping events throughout.

    I know me and Loz are thinking about doing multiple povs for one or two of our wips and I've technically been doing it with my solo book. I find TV series quite good for help, especially ones with several main characters that have focusses stories or arcs around them. Lost, GoT (obvs), Walking Dead maybe?

    I also kind of like to think of when police do interviews (or something similar), where witnesses give a different viewpoint of the same event - some remember things to the detail, other forget or miss things etc. If you're going limited, the opinions/thoughts/feelings would be very biased with each viewpoint I would imagine?

    I think I'm mainly just rambling at you, sorry.
  • My friend Chloe Banks's book The Art of Letting Go uses multiple narrators. I really enjoyed it (although it's not my 'usual' type of book), and thought the different characters' individual takes on the various events of the story added a lot of depth.

    If you're interested, it's here (there's a Kindle version, too):
  • The Photograph by Penelope Lively
    The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett

    Plus several books in current lists are written from viewpoints of different characters - i.e. chapter by chapter the viewpoint changes.

    I'm assuming by perspective you mean viewpoint ???
  • Thanks guys that is incredibly helpful. Yes I was thinking viewpoint.

    I've been meaning to read The Help for a while and someone else has recommended this to me so I will be giving that a go. I also think it's about time I read GoT.

    Thanks all
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