One POV, Two POV, Red POV, Blue POV...

  In which I use a Dr. Suess rhyme to introduce my blog post regarding the use of single or multiple POV's (points of view) in your novel.

  Deciding on the number of POV's to use while writing a novel can be tricky - and there's no set formula to figure it out! It's completely up to the individual and their story. What a bummer, right? Today I thought I'd open up the discussion on this topic and share my two cents. I figure I'm qualified to speak here because I've used just about every possible POV combination under the sun!

  •   The Sorceress and the Squid - Double POV in third person with Estrella and Jalen, the main characters. 
  •   The Snow Dragon - Single POV in third person with main character, Eira, only. 
  •   Faithless - Single POV in third person with main character, Saagar EXCEPT for one single chapter. 
  •   The War of the Three Crowns series - I can't even tell you how many POV's there are because it's a lot, 15+ in third person. 
  •   How I Could Have Saved Your Life - Single POV in first person with main character. 
  •   Thin-Skinned - Double POV in first person with main characters Tobias and Erah. 

  And those are just a few of them. And yes, it's a little bit ridiculous, but it has afforded me a lot of opportunity to use and understand different voices in different stories.

  So what is it that makes me decide what to use when? That's an excellent question, my friend. One which I shall explore further up and in to this blog post with...


Let's talk about SINGLE POV: Using only one voice and seeing the story through only one set of eyes for the entire duration of the novel.

Examples: The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Fault in Our Stars, The Shadow Throne, and The Name of the Wind.

  • PRO: Less work! No hassle in keeping MC's straight, no need to develop different voices, generally an easier route. 
  • PRO: Keeps the story very personal and grounded, usually makes for a more character-driven novel than plot-driven (this can also be a con, however). 
  • CON: You may miss out on writing a scene or piece you would have liked to write because your character can't be there. 

Let's talk about DOUBLE POV: Using two voices to tell your story.

Examples: The Sorceress and the Squid, The Host, Carve the Mark, and Legend.

  • PRO: Lots of opportunity for poetic parallelism, two characters can have a real chance to reflect and bounce off of each other within their two voices.
  • PRO: Another voice adds another, sometimes necessary perspective to a story. 
  • CON: Sometimes the lack of a second voice adds to the story, sometimes the close, personal aspect can be taken away with even the addition of one more voice. 

Let's talk about THREE OR MORE POV'S: Using a small group to tell a story. 

Examples: Vicious, All the Light We Cannot See, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and The Chronicles of Narnia. 

  • PRO: More opportunity to see parts of the world and plot, we are less "stuck" as readers in the place of one central character. 
  • PRO: The audience has more awesome people to fall in love with!
  • CON: It can be hard to find a balance with multiple POV's and a pattern that works well and doesn't take away from the main storyline. 

And finally, let's talk about the crazy people who have A DOZEN POV'S: Using a large portion of your whole cast to tell the story. 

Examples: A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings, and like, 99% of fantasy literature. ;)

  • PRO: With this many characters, the audience literally knows EVERYTHING that's going on, and if you like to be informed, this is always a nice thing. 
  • PRO: In these situations, characters are often grouped with their settings, morals, or roles in the story, so your audience may start to cheer for a group/take sides. 
  • CON: This story becomes much less personal and can be hard to control. With this many characters the balance can be very hard to find. 

  After all that, surely I should be able to tell you which one is best, right??

  Haha. Nope. Not even.

  Honestly, there are pros and cons (as listed) to any and all options and there's no right or wrong way to tell your story - you've gotta do what's best for that book! There are so many unique, unexplored, or barely touched methods of using your character's voice - just think about the untapped potential! It's okay to be a little crazy. It's okay to take chances and write something, wild, wacky, and different. In fact, I IMPLORE you to do just that. Be the person who's outside of the box, take a wild, wacky, different step that leads to awesome things. Just like all aspects of writing your novel - it's totally up to you and what you believe works best. You have all the freedom in the world to write WHATEVER YOU WANT. Use that freedom. Own it.

  What are your POV opinions? Do you have a go-to amount of voices for your novels? What's the craziest way you've ever experimented with your POV? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I'm writing a three pov story, so this is super helpful, thank you! :D

    1. That's awesome! What made you decide to use 3 over 1, or 2, or more?


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