10 October 2013

Booking Through thursday: Point(s) of view

Today's subject on Booking Through Thursday is an interesting one:

Which is better (or preferred) … stories with multiple character points of view? Or stories that stick to just one or two at most? And, why?

I can‘t really say I have a preference either way. If it is done well, I enjoy both. One of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett, jumps between several viewpoints in most of his Discworld books, usually with longish blocks of story seen from one (3rd person limited) POW or the POW of several characters at once (3rd person omniscient) before the next one takes over, bringing them together little by little so that as the ending comes closer, they coalesce and become one narrative with several viewpoints. He does it so well that it was kind of a shock to discover that he is equally capable of writing single viewpoint stories like e.g. Dodger or the Tiffany Aching books. Some books, however, are better off with a limited number of viewpoints. Romances, for example, usually only need two main POW: hers and his, possibly with brief glimpses of other character's POW's if they can be made to serve the story instead of just complicating things.

 I have become immensely annoyed with books in which there are flaws in the way the viewpoints are presented, e.g. where one second we are inside the head of one character and the suddenly we are looking out through the eyes of a completely different character without any indication of the jump. I also hate – hate! – rapidly changing viewpoints, e.g. where the POW switches between characters every few sentences. Even if an author wants to give a view of the simultaneous thoughts and reactions of two or more characters to something, it is generally better to stick to one POW for a while and then jump back in time for the next one rather than go head-hopping like you are riding a pogo stick. It gives me a headache trying to keep up with such staccato POW changes.

1 comment:

Valentina Cano said...

I like both, as well :)