Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« on: December 28, 2017, 09:07:09 PM »
Okay, so...I'm not at the point of having to make this decision yet, but I'm eventually going to be at this point and I'm very, very torn.

As many of you know, I've been working on Storms of Magic for over a year. It started out as being a story that's meant to focus on two main characters, Arris and Merek, and switch back and forth between their point of views. At some point this past summer, I ended up writing a scene that was in the point of view of a third character, Queen Cressida. I enjoyed the scene and getting into her head so much that it's led me to start debating whether or not I should consider adding her as a third point of view character, or if I should keep it as being Arris and Merek's story and keep it only in their viewpoints.

The story revolves around Arris and Merek's friendship and how they'll pretty much do whatever they have to for each other. I'm nervous that if I add in a third character's point of view and write more chapters with Cressida's viewpoint, it will take away from that focus on their friendship. On the other hand, here are some things I can think of off the top of my head that would make it a good thing:

-Right now the story is only a little less than 22k long, because I ran out of plot that I had planned out for Arris and Merek. If I add in Cressida's point of view, it will allow me to expand on the story further both in terms of plot and word count.
-It will give a third perspective that's not JUST Arris and Merek's viewpoints, and it will show the political consequences of Arris and Merek's actions, because Cressida is the one who's left dealing with the aftermath of things.
-Female main character viewpoints, yay
-Right now, the scene that I wrote in Cressida's point of view ties in really well with a scene in Merek's point of view, and it feels natural to have that scene take place when it does...but it's literally the ONLY scene/chapter containing Cressida's point of view at the moment.
-Having a female viewpoint character might help to balance things out a little more

The only downsides I can really think of:
-I literally have 0 ideas for any kind of plot involving Cressida beyond what little I've written so far (which basically consists of her having to decide to offer her hand in marriage to a king she has 0 interest in marrying in order to save Arris's life), so I'd have to figure that out, which at the moment is easier said than done (especially since I think a lot of it would be political)
-Like I said above, I don't want to have Cressida being added in as a third viewpoint main character to take away from the fact that the story itself focuses on Arris and Merek's friendship and everything they're going through.

So these are all of the reasons I can think of to go ahead and add it in. And I know you guys won't REALLY know without reading the story whether or not it would really work with Cressida's viewpoint added in or not, but there are at least three of you who've read most of what I have written ( @Manu, @Ahryantah and @JayLee ) of the story and should possibly have an idea as to what your thoughts are on whether or not to come up with a plot for Cressida that ties in with Arris and Merek's plot, or if I should just leave it alone and focus on expanding further on Arris and Merek's story so that it's a hell of a lot longer than 22k long and it's a fuller story.

So what do you guys think? Should I consider coming up with a plot for Cressida to be involved in that ties into Arris and Merek's plot, or should I leave it alone and keep the focus on Arris and Merek and just expand on THEIR plot?

To give you a general idea of the plot, here's a badly written summary that I came up with:
Quote
He had one job: protect the queen.

That all changed for Arris Galleron the day Cressida, Queen of Illyria, visited Sephron, King of Alahan, and Arris found himself accused of murdering the King's councilman and sentenced to execution within the blink of an eye. His best friend, court mage* Merek Andossian, finds out what has happened and, willing to do anything to save his friend's life, helps to break Arris out of prison and send him into hiding until Merek can find the evidence to prove Arris' innocence.

While Merek searches for clues to lead him to the true murderer, Arris travels across the sea to Tethra, where he meets up with the (name for group of rebels?), a group of rebels who plan to rebel against the Lamirill, the authority on magic in Tethra.

Insert something here about Cressida? And fairies and Arris's connection to them? And blaaaargh I'm terrible at these things.
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katfireblade

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2017, 12:40:42 AM »
Okay, so I haven't read the book, but just from the synopsis I could see a place to put her in.

So she's offering her hand to a king she doesn't want to marry just to save Arris. Why? This is a big hairy deal, with lifelong political ramifications for her kingdom and people.

The question "why" is where she fits in the story. And she is, in her own way, also needing rescue. I mean, here's this thing she has no desire to do, that might not be good for her or her kingdom, and yet she's doing it anyway.

And given any chance at all to get out of it, would she leave like a shot?

So now you have two people in need of rescue, Arris and Cressida. Three if you also count her kingdom and people. And there's Merek, who would do anything for his friend, but also has a conflicting loyalty to the queen and kingdom and may feel that conflict quite keenly. That would actually be an awesome vehicle to bounce the friendship off of (if you haven't already), since his choices will mean more when we see first hand what he's screwing up and who he's letting down and the messes he leaves behind.

And while he may not exactly be friends with his queen, they would have had to build up bonds of trust, respect, and loyalty to work together, and that's a different sort of relationship you could explore, contrasting it with the friendship of the two men. Instead of diluting the friendship, it could actually help sharpen and define it, while also making a third powerful connection.

Plus I like the idea of Cressida mostly saving herself, using the boneheaded things her mage is doing to try and get out of this unwanted marriage and gain political advantage over a king who is most definitely trying to do the same.

Of course, I haven't read the book, so maybe a lot of this is very off base, but the idea of comparing and contrasting the two types of relationships is sound. I've seen it used to great effect in the past. But oh man, it might lead to edits upon edits to get just right.  ;)

Hope that helps?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 12:44:32 AM by katfireblade »

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Ahryantah

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2017, 10:04:08 PM »
Well, I've given you my opinion before--basically, I agree with what katfireblade said. Adding in another major character can actually enhance the central relationship between Arris and Merek, by making things more complicated. Where does Merek's ultimate loyalty lie? What is he willing to do and who is he willing to let down if the two people he cares most about in the world need/want mutually exclusive things?

But I'm also someone who will happily write a whole chapter in one character's POV, rewrite it in another character's POV, end up deleting the whole thing, write it again in a third character's POV, delete it again, then months later rewrite it in the original character's POV. I like to experiment with how I tell the story, even if it ends up leading me down several dead ends before I find what feels right. Not every writer is like that. So while I don't think it would hurt at all to try making Cressida a POV character, ultimately it's up to what you want to do.
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True Neutral

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2017, 03:48:41 AM »
Question: As it is currently, at ~22k with just the two PoVs, would this largely fit into the Buddy Picture trope/genre? (TV Tropes link...use at your own peril.)

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2017, 01:20:29 PM »
Okay, so I haven't read the book, but just from the synopsis I could see a place to put her in.

So she's offering her hand to a king she doesn't want to marry just to save Arris. Why? This is a big hairy deal, with lifelong political ramifications for her kingdom and people.

The question "why" is where she fits in the story. And she is, in her own way, also needing rescue. I mean, here's this thing she has no desire to do, that might not be good for her or her kingdom, and yet she's doing it anyway.

This is very true.

Quote
And given any chance at all to get out of it, would she leave like a shot?

More than likely not, not if it meant Arris (and Merek) would be killed for it.

Quote
So now you have two people in need of rescue, Arris and Cressida. Three if you also count her kingdom and people. And there's Merek, who would do anything for his friend, but also has a conflicting loyalty to the queen and kingdom and may feel that conflict quite keenly. That would actually be an awesome vehicle to bounce the friendship off of (if you haven't already), since his choices will mean more when we see first hand what he's screwing up and who he's letting down and the messes he leaves behind.

Hm. This is definitely something to think about. Right now, I've just written Merek as being very focused on one thing, which is Arris and proving that he's innocent. He doesn't think much about Cressida (not until she confronts him after it's already too late and he's already helped Arris escape, but even after that point he really doesn't think about it), he just thinks about Arris and finding the evidence he needs. So I think that I definitely need to add something in with him starting to really think about the consequences of his actions for Cressida. Like maybe I'd have him hear rumors about how people are saying she's unfit to be queen because she let Merek and Arris get away, or something like that.

Quote
And while he may not exactly be friends with his queen, they would have had to build up bonds of trust, respect, and loyalty to work together, and that's a different sort of relationship you could explore, contrasting it with the friendship of the two men. Instead of diluting the friendship, it could actually help sharpen and define it, while also making a third powerful connection.

This is true. Merek and Arris have known Cressida since they were young, before she was queen, so they do have a bit of a friendship, but it's more of a...it's kind of a regular friendship, like the one that Merek and Arris have, but it's also more...formal, I guess? But they definitely would have built those things up, too.

Quote
Plus I like the idea of Cressida mostly saving herself, using the boneheaded things her mage is doing to try and get out of this unwanted marriage and gain political advantage over a king who is most definitely trying to do the same.

Of course, I haven't read the book, so maybe a lot of this is very off base, but the idea of comparing and contrasting the two types of relationships is sound. I've seen it used to great effect in the past. But oh man, it might lead to edits upon edits to get just right.  ;)

Hope that helps?

Yeah, I like the idea of Cressida mostly saving herself, too.

I don't think it's off base. I think it's definitely heading in the right direction.

When I get at least the first few chapters situated, I'll probably post them so you can read them. :D

Well, I've given you my opinion before--basically, I agree with what katfireblade said. Adding in another major character can actually enhance the central relationship between Arris and Merek, by making things more complicated. Where does Merek's ultimate loyalty lie? What is he willing to do and who is he willing to let down if the two people he cares most about in the world need/want mutually exclusive things?

But I'm also someone who will happily write a whole chapter in one character's POV, rewrite it in another character's POV, end up deleting the whole thing, write it again in a third character's POV, delete it again, then months later rewrite it in the original character's POV. I like to experiment with how I tell the story, even if it ends up leading me down several dead ends before I find what feels right. Not every writer is like that. So while I don't think it would hurt at all to try making Cressida a POV character, ultimately it's up to what you want to do.

Very good points and questions for me to consider.

I think I really need to try and come up with a plot that could work for Cressida, and then hopefully I'll be able to get into her head more and write some chapters from her point of view again to flesh things out a bit more for her and add her perspective and see how things go...I don't really have any specific ideas at the moment, though.
Question: As it is currently, at ~22k with just the two PoVs, would this largely fit into the Buddy Picture trope/genre? (TV Tropes link...use at your own peril.)

Um...I mean, maybe a little bit? I think the only thing that really applies is that they're dual protagonists and their friendship brings drama (although I don't think I've done much in the way of drama in this story). And I guess they're working together to defeat a common enemy, so there's that.

Why do you ask?
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True Neutral

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2017, 03:02:19 PM »
although I don't think I've done much in the way of drama in this story
That might actually give you your wordcount, to be honest...building on their relationship in that sort of way.

Why do you ask?
I ask because adding what would be a third-wheel perspective to something that is a Buddy Picture can often detract from it, no matter who the third-wheel is. Love interest, little brother, villain, adding three more party members to the quest... Doesn't matter. If it's predominantly a Buddy Picture type of story, anything that takes the attention away from that core friendship has the potential to detract from the relationship and the piece as a whole. (But only if their relationship is the focus in that sort of way, really.)

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Tyrannohotep

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2017, 03:14:51 PM »
If this is being written in the third person, I don't think one scene with a third viewpoint character will cause much of a disruption. If anything, it might be a nice break if the usual rhythm is to switch between your two male leads' perspectives. Or, you could experiment with third-person omniscient instead of limited.
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JayLee

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2017, 05:51:51 PM »
True brings up a good point here. It depends on what you want the focus of the story to be. If all the tension, and all the plot is based on what Arris and Merek are doing, then there is no reason to potentially kill your pacing with a second line of thought. Tension is more than just the immediate action and drama, and if the plot is totally localized around a character relationship, then that should be reflected in the narrative.

If, however, the true tension of the book also relies on the political plot surrounding Cressida, then it may be worth having her POV. What I always like to ask myself when writing new POVs is "could I take this out and still have a cohesive, entertaining story." If the answer is yes, 80% of the time the new POV is not required. 

Kat brings up another excellent point: Why is all this going on? Is there really enough justification? That's where Cressida's POV could come in handy, to clean it up.
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Manu

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2018, 01:26:07 PM »
-It will give a third perspective that's not JUST Arris and Merek's viewpoints, and it will show the political consequences of Arris and Merek's actions, because Cressida is the one who's left dealing with the aftermath of things.
That's why I'd like to read more from her point of view :)
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Adding a Third Character's POV into a Two Character POV Novel
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2018, 10:39:11 PM »
If this is being written in the third person, I don't think one scene with a third viewpoint character will cause much of a disruption. If anything, it might be a nice break if the usual rhythm is to switch between your two male leads' perspectives. Or, you could experiment with third-person omniscient instead of limited.
I don't want to risk it causing any disruption, though. Wouldn't it be weird if you were reading a story clearly written in the point of views of two specific characters, and then all of a sudden a third point of view character is thrown in, but only for one scene of the entire book ('cause that's all it is right now, is a scene that's in her viewpoint)? I think it would disrupt the flow of the story if that was the only thing from her viewpoint in the story.

As far as writing in third person omniscient instead of limited, I'd have to do a rewrite of the entire thing if I did it that way, and just...no. Lol.  :-\ I'd rather keep it the way it is, but I don't mind the idea of adding in chapters with Cressida's viewpoint if I can come up with a plot for her and if it'll keep the story flowing.

I do think it would still flow nicely if her viewpoint was added in....I just won't know for sure until I actually start writing more things in her point of view and try to add them in to the story that's already written.
True brings up a good point here. It depends on what you want the focus of the story to be. If all the tension, and all the plot is based on what Arris and Merek are doing, then there is no reason to potentially kill your pacing with a second line of thought. Tension is more than just the immediate action and drama, and if the plot is totally localized around a character relationship, then that should be reflected in the narrative.

If, however, the true tension of the book also relies on the political plot surrounding Cressida, then it may be worth having her POV. What I always like to ask myself when writing new POVs is "could I take this out and still have a cohesive, entertaining story." If the answer is yes, 80% of the time the new POV is not required. 

Kat brings up another excellent point: Why is all this going on? Is there really enough justification? That's where Cressida's POV could come in handy, to clean it up.
I mean...a lot of the tension comes from Arris and Merek? But there is some of it that does come from the political plot, even if only a little bit right now because there's not tons for a political plot at the moment. That doesn't mean there couldn't be, and like I said, adding it in would certainly help to boost my word count and make the story into a fuller book.

Hm, okay. I need to be able to answer those questions, which means I need to be able to come up with a plot for Cressida's side of things...and actually write it. The worst that's going to happen is I write X amount of chapters in her viewpoint and add them to the story and end up having to cut them...in which case I might cry, lol. (Though I might cry anyway, since this is the first time I'm editing a draft.)

-It will give a third perspective that's not JUST Arris and Merek's viewpoints, and it will show the political consequences of Arris and Merek's actions, because Cressida is the one who's left dealing with the aftermath of things.
That's why I'd like to read more from her point of view :)

Lol, well then hopefully I can come up with something in her viewpoint to add into the story...which pretty much means trying to get back into her head again, and trying to come up with a plot for her. >.> Easier said than done, especially since it'd probably mostly be a political plot.
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