I'm a pretty die-hard multiple-third-person-limited POV kind of guy. This is because perspective and POV are tools in the writer's toolkit, and multiple-third-person-limited POVs are, for me, the vice grips of writing. Maximum control and maximum torque.
All right, that metaphor is a little strangled.
not a fan of first-person, because I find it far too limiting. Also, I
come from a background of film and theatre, so I'm used to having some
distance between the audience and the characters. Plus, those are the
kind of books I like. I have very few favorites that are first-person.
also not a fan of third-person omniscient, at least as far as my own
writing goes. I think it can be done very well-- Neil Gaiman is
fantastic at it, for example-- and for it to work, I think it needs a
distinct narrator's voice-- as if the narrator is a separate character.
I've dabbled with it, but it isn't a good fit for the stories I'm
Here's what I really like about multiple-third-person: I
get to jump around and be in the right person's head for any given
scene. I get to give the reader information that the main characters
I'm not really a big believer in any "rules" for who
can be a POV character. For me, the best POV character is whoever makes
the scene most interesting. Main character, secondary character, or
random interloper who happens to be observing the action.
course, the real trick is making sure it all works. Giving a character
the POV is giving them power to define the narrative. You need to ensure
that it won't disrupt your story. For example, if you're telling a
murder mystery, jumping to the POV of a suspect will immediately confirm
or exonerate them as the murderer. You don't want to do that until
it's the right time in the story to give that information.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Perils of the Writer: Perspective and POV
Posted by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Marshall Ryan Maresca is a Fantasy and Science Fiction Novelist, as well as a playwright, living in South Austin with his wife and son. He is the author of the Maradaine Novels:
The Thorn of Dentonhill, A Murder of Mages , The Alchemy of Chaos, An Import of Intrigue , The Holver Alley Crew, The Imposters of Aventil , Lady Henterman's Wardrobe , The Way of the Shield (October 2018) and A Parliament of Bodies (March 2019).
His work also appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced.
Visit his website at mrmaresca.com