BreezeCauthon

A few questions

45 posts in this topic

Hey all. I'm currently in the process of writing an epic fantasy, and I wanted to ask you a few questions.

My book has nine POV characters. On the one hand, I feel this might be a bit too many, on the other, I really like them all and feel like they're important to the story. If you knew that a book had 9 POV characters, would it affect your likelihood of reading it? (Negatively or positively)

Also, my chapters are rather short (800-1300 words on average). How much does this matter, in your opinion?

Thanks for the help! 

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Nine POVs might be a bit much.  I would probably be fairly intimidated by that.  But there are ways to make it work.

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I'm not the guy to be intimidated by the size of a book/series. So like Stormlight isn't scary and I honestly hope they get longer because of how long it takes to get them. I have read books with about nine view points before and I think it could be done. As for chapter size, how many pages is that?

Edited by Frustration
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1 hour ago, Frustration said:

As for chapter size, how many pages is that?

On Google Docs, around 3-4. On Apple Pages, around 4-5. Presumably on a smaller sheet of paper (ie average book size) 5-7, depending on font size.

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You don't generally know, coming into a book, how many POVs there will be. So I don't know that I've ever seen it as a criteria that might be intimidating. I think as long as the organization of the POVs makes sense and is easy to follow, as long as each one feels unique and contributes to the overall story, it would probably never occur to me to take issue with it. 

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8 minutes ago, BreezeCauthon said:

On Google Docs, around 3-4. On Apple Pages, around 4-5. Presumably on a smaller sheet of paper (ie average book size) 5-7, depending on font size.

I'd make them around 10 pages, but if you can make it work.

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It would be work.  However if it was good enough I would certainly read it.  It also depends how many of those PoVs are main PoVs.  I would also expect the book to be long enough to accommodate them.

Edited by Karger
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Nine POVs is a little much, but there is certainly a way to manage that. Stick to a few POVs at a time, then switch out later. Develop the characters seperately. If you're going chapter-by-chapter POV switches, then I can assure you that it will not work. I have six main POVs in my book, and I'm currently focusing on two, and will add the others when they're relevant to the plot. Try something like that, maybe.

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52 minutes ago, Channelknight Fadran said:

Nine POVs is a little much, but there is certainly a way to manage that. Stick to a few POVs at a time, then switch out later. Develop the characters seperately. If you're going chapter-by-chapter POV switches, then I can assure you that it will not work. I have six main POVs in my book, and I'm currently focusing on two, and will add the others when they're relevant to the plot. Try something like that, maybe.

Hmm. Wish I had heard that bit earlier. I'm far enough along in a pretty much chapter-by-chapter basis that changing that would be a big hassle.

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6 minutes ago, BreezeCauthon said:

Hmm. Wish I had heard that bit earlier. I'm far enough along in a pretty much chapter-by-chapter basis that changing that would be a big hassle.

Hassle may be necessary. Here's a picture of a google drive folder completely dedicated to every scrapped draft of my book. I'm currently on the sixteenth edition:

Screenshot 2020-07-27 at 4.46.58 PM.png

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Just now, Channelknight Fadran said:

Hassle may be necessary. Here's a picture of a google drive folder completely dedicated to every scrapped draft of my book. I'm currently on the sixteenth edition:

Screenshot 2020-07-27 at 4.46.58 PM.png

Well, if you can put that much work into something, I can too.

I guess I'll discuss it with my sister, who's pretty much the only person reading it right now anyway.

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1 minute ago, BreezeCauthon said:

Well, if you can put that much work into something, I can too.

I guess I'll discuss it with my sister, who's pretty much the only person reading it right now anyway.

I would read it.

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8 minutes ago, Channelknight Fadran said:

I would read it.

If you'd like, I can send you the current draft on Pages or Word.

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30 minutes ago, BreezeCauthon said:

If you'd like, I can send you the current draft on Pages or Word.

I... don't have either of those things. I have google docs on my chromebook.

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15 minutes ago, Channelknight Fadran said:

I... don't have either of those things. I have google docs on my chromebook.

I also have Google Docs, but I'm not entirely comfortable sharing it with strangers (no offense at all, everyone here seems completely awesome, but... internet safety, y'know). 

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1 minute ago, BreezeCauthon said:

I also have Google Docs, but I'm not entirely comfortable sharing it with strangers (no offense at all, everyone here seems completely awesome, but... internet safety, y'know). 

You could probably PM it to me. Just Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. However, you have to go through manually later and fix formatting, because formatting doesn't carry.

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Just now, Channelknight Fadran said:

You could probably PM it to me. Just Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. However, you have to go through manually later and fix formatting, because formatting doesn't carry.

Sounds good, I'll do that tomorrow.

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1 hour ago, BreezeCauthon said:

I also have Google Docs, but I'm not entirely comfortable sharing it with strangers (no offense at all, everyone here seems completely awesome, but... internet safety, y'know). 

I feel you.

2 hours ago, Channelknight Fadran said:

Hassle may be necessary. Here's a picture of a google drive folder completely dedicated to every scrapped draft of my book. I'm currently on the sixteenth edition:

Screenshot 2020-07-27 at 4.46.58 PM.png

What is this!

Wow, you keep your old drafts, let me think...... they might be floating around somewhere, I think I'm doing the world building for the fourth universe I've tried.

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4 minutes ago, Frustration said:

What is this!

Wow, you keep your old drafts, let me think...... they might be floating around somewhere, I think I'm doing the world building for the fourth universe I've tried.

They only start getting okay-ish around Mark 6 (which isn't in the screenshot), and the Channelknights didn't exist until 8. I keep all the earlier ones because they're terrible and they make me laugh.

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53 minutes ago, Channelknight Fadran said:

They only start getting okay-ish around Mark 6 (which isn't in the screenshot), and the Channelknights didn't exist until 8. I keep all the earlier ones because they're terrible and they make me laugh.

Oh, they're humorous? Can I read one?

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1 minute ago, Frustration said:

Oh, they're humorous? Can I read one?

You could. If you want to die. I shall PM it to you and wait for your video recording of you barfing at the first sentence.

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1 hour ago, Channelknight Fadran said:

You could. If you want to die. I shall PM it to you and wait for your video recording of you barfing at the first sentence.

Hello, yes, I would like this. Wasing the needing of reading the cringe.

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It depends how you weight each POV. Nine equally weighted POVs rotating on a chapter by chapter basis probably isn't going to work because the pacing will feel like its resetting each time you switch POVs, especially towards the beginning of the book when you're trying to establish the characters. A better way to weight it would be to have 1-3 primary POVs that have the greatest interaction with the plot and the majority of chapters, then a few secondary POVs that have a chapter or scene here and there to show things that the primary POVs can't, and finally some auxiliary POVs which are usually one off scenes from a character's perspective to show the reader something plot important that the main cast isn't around for, usually to raise the stakes. You can get away with having more auxiliary POVs because they are usually shorter, action oriented scenes where you don't need to do deep characterization to give the reader any lasting connection to the character.

This sort of breakdown gives you the time to give your primary POVs complete and satisfying on-screen arcs within a reasonable word count, while being able to show snippets of arcs for the secondary characters. If you try to do 9 equally weighted character arcs you'll either end up with a ridiculously long book, or a book that doesn't have time to explore any characters in depth.

This is the approach Brandon uses to manage his large casts. It's important to remember that a character doesn't need to be a POV character to have an impact on the story and be well characterized. Think about how most first person novels are from a single POV but can still have a large cast of loveable characters.

For an example of the above breakdown, my book which is about 300k words has two primary POVs which have around 55 scenes each that are roughly 2k-3k words long. There are three secondary POVs that have about 20 scenes each, then 10 auxiliary POVs that usually only have one very short scene. There are main characters that get a lot of screen time but are never POV characters, but that doesn't lessen their impact on the story.

None of these are hard and fast rules though. It is a lot of fun to write different POVs and that's the reason my book has so many throwaway auxiliary POVs. There are plenty of authors that head-hop a bunch through large casts and make it work, so do what you want to do.

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On 7/27/2020 at 10:28 PM, Kureshi Ironclaw said:

It depends how you weight each POV. Nine equally weighted POVs rotating on a chapter by chapter basis probably isn't going to work because the pacing will feel like its resetting each time you switch POVs, especially towards the beginning of the book when you're trying to establish the characters. A better way to weight it would be to have 1-3 primary POVs that have the greatest interaction with the plot and the majority of chapters, then a few secondary POVs that have a chapter or scene here and there to show things that the primary POVs can't, and finally some auxiliary POVs which are usually one off scenes from a character's perspective to show the reader something plot important that the main cast isn't around for, usually to raise the stakes. You can get away with having more auxiliary POVs because they are usually shorter, action oriented scenes where you don't need to do deep characterization to give the reader any lasting connection to the character.

This sort of breakdown gives you the time to give your primary POVs complete and satisfying on-screen arcs within a reasonable word count, while being able to show snippets of arcs for the secondary characters. If you try to do 9 equally weighted character arcs you'll either end up with a ridiculously long book, or a book that doesn't have time to explore any characters in depth.

This is the approach Brandon uses to manage his large casts. It's important to remember that a character doesn't need to be a POV character to have an impact on the story and be well characterized. Think about how most first person novels are from a single POV but can still have a large cast of loveable characters.

For an example of the above breakdown, my book which is about 300k words has two primary POVs which have around 55 scenes each that are roughly 2k-3k words long. There are three secondary POVs that have about 20 scenes each, then 10 auxiliary POVs that usually only have one very short scene. There are main characters that get a lot of screen time but are never POV characters, but that doesn't lessen their impact on the story.

None of these are hard and fast rules though. It is a lot of fun to write different POVs and that's the reason my book has so many throwaway auxiliary POVs. There are plenty of authors that head-hop a bunch through large casts and make it work, so do what you want to do.

Riordan made it through with 7-8 so... But for a first time author I'd say 4-5 is the most you can easily do with the others just being as Kureshi puts it "secondary POVs" that's what I would recommend and chapters for those 4-5 main characters could be 10ish with the secondary characters being put to 6-7 (5 is pretty short) so that's what I would recommend but it's up to you

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Are all nine POV characters away from each other, doing their own thing, or are some of them grouped together? because if they are all in et's say, groups of three, that could be considered three viewpoints, as they are all doing the same thing and not introducing new things to keep track off.

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