Guest post: ‘Using multiple points of view’ by FM Meredith

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of viewpoints is brought to you by murder mystery novelist and interviewee F M Meredith.

Using Multiple Points of View

For my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series I chose to tell the story from multiple points of view. Because, from the beginning, my goal for this series was to show how what’s going on at work affects the family, and what is happening with the family affects the job. What has emerged is this series has an entourage of characters, most appear in all the books, but different ones are featured in each one.

Using multiple points of view is also a good way to let the reader see different reactions to what is going on, and give them insights into more of the characters. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not telling you to use multiple points of view in a single scene.

I’m a stickler about point-of-view and believe there should only be one POV per scene. Whoever has the most at stake in a scene should be the one who is telling the story from his / her POV.

The best way to do this is think of yourself as the POV character and look out through his or her eyes. You will write what that particular person experiences, what he / she sees, feels, touches, hears, smells, and thinks about what is happening. Even the narrative should come from that person, so in effect, the narrative is that person’s thoughts.

This is exactly what you do when writing first person, except the whole story comes from a single person.

Though many people are now writing books with one chapter as first person and another from third, I haven’t tried that yet. If you do, make sure you have a good reason for it. Somehow the use of that tactic should enhance the story telling.

Always make sure the reader knows who is telling each part of the story. Make a page break between changes of POV and / or change of scene. Start the new scene in a way that the reader knows through whom eyes they are seeing the story unfold.

POV is probably one of the most difficult concepts for a new writer to learn. If you teach yourself to think like the POV character and experience what is going on through that person it will be far easier. Nothing is more jarring to the reader than all of a sudden realizing the author has jumped out of one person’s head and into another without any warning.

No matter what POV you decide to use, know what you’re doing and do it well.

🙂 Thank you, Marilyn.

F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels—and a few that will never see print. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is No Bells. Rocky Bluff P.D. is a fictional beach community between Ventura and Santa Barbara and F. M. once lived in a similar beach area.

F. M. (Marilyn) is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves as the program chair for the Public Safety Writers of America’s writing conference. She’s been an instructor at many writing conferences.

Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com

In No Bells, the latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Officer Gordon Butler is the major character. He’s been in many of the RBPD books, but this is his first “starring role.”

No Bells Blurb: Officer Gordon Butler has finally found the love he’s been seeking for a long time, but there’s one big problem, she’s the major suspect in a murder case.

CONTEST: The person who comments on the most blogs on my tour will win three books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series: No Sanctuary, An Axe to Grind, and Angel Lost. Be sure and leave your email too, so I can contact you.

Yes folks, please do (if you don’t want to make you email address visible, I should be able to pick up your emails just from the comments you leave here and I can pass them on).

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please” (while quietly bouncing up and down in my seat with joy!).

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with literary fiction novelist Ashley Mackler-Paternostro – three hundred and fifty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum and you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

16 thoughts on “Guest post: ‘Using multiple points of view’ by FM Meredith

  1. Janet Kerr says:

    Thank you for the information on POV Meredith. & please enter me in your draw. I am very interested in reading your books.
    Jan
    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

    Like

  2. scrapgirl1467 says:

    Hey Marilyn, glad this one worked out for you! I looked early this morning and it wasn’t posted yet, but I enjoyed reading about your POV! Please enter me in the contest at scrapgirl1467 (at) yahoo (dot) com. Thanks!

    Maureen

    Like

    • marilynm says:

      The reason this one was later here is because this blog originates from the UK. Morgen does two posts a day, an interview in the a.m. and a writing tip in the evening. The time difference makes this come out around 11 a.m. my time on the Pacific coast. I’m just tickled Morgen is so generous to have me two times during this blog tour.

      Like

  3. Yvonne Hertzberger says:

    Point of view is a source of endless discussion. For me, the bottom line is – make sure the reader cannot become confused about whose point of view is being given at any given point. I, too, use a single point of view per scene when I write in multiples. My current challenge is two alternating points of view, both in first person. It’s harder than single first person.

    Like

  4. Nicky Wells says:

    Great post, Marilyn, and fab food for thought. I usually stick to one point of view but have experimented just lately with a complete break in pov for plot and suspense reasons, swapping from I narrator to third person restricted. I’m told it does a fantastic job at communicating just what I wanted–confusion, loss, surprise. I’ll see what the editor says… A great example of ultimate multi-pov is An Instance of the Fingerpost (told from four different characters’ povs)–also crime, interesting coincidence for you. Loved that one, especially as it was the first book I read with that extreme change of pov. And I guess arguably Ghostwritten by David Mitchell is a multi pov work which I really enjoyed but had to work that little bit harder to connect the dots for the story (although it was well worth it in the end). Good luck with it, and thanks for sharing!

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  5. jblinco says:

    Another highly informative interview. Reading your books I have always appreciated your use of multiple points of view. Thank you for more information about your latest endeavor. Jake

    Like

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