Hello Mythcreants team!
I was wondering if you had any general advice for getting a POV character into all of the scenes they need to be in to tell the story. I couldn’t find an article on the subject.
For context, I was planning on writing the story I’m working on with a single POV character, but it’s proving hard to tell the story that way without having other characters relay important information when they happen to be present. I think I either need to add a second POV character or to find reasons for the first to be in some unlikely situations.Stephen
Hey Stephen, thanks for writing in!
This kind of question is really sensitive to your story’s context, so it’s hard to give specific advice. That said, it’s important to remember that characters find out about events they didn’t personally witness all the time. They investigate locations and piece together what happened, they get accounts from people who were there, and they hear about it through news publications.
Visual mediums don’t depend on these methods as much because they have a much harder time conveying information, so it’s often easier to just have a scene showing what happened. But in prose, narration is a powerful tool for filling the reader in on what’s happening.
If these methods aren’t working, there’s a good chance that your protagonist isn’t involved enough in the story. You may need to make some plot-level changes to who they are and what information they have access to. For example, if your story is about a spree of brutal murders, but your protagonist is just an accountant who works nearby, figuring out how they get information may be difficult. It’s easier if you make them a private investigator hired to solve the murders or maybe just someone who lost a loved one and is now looking into things on their own time.
The main thing to avoid is a POV character that’s been added to prop up an entirely unrelated plot. That’s what happens in A Memory Called Empire, where the author wanted a surprise twist where the protagonist finds out there are Cthulhu Aliens and uses that information to solve her diplomatic problems.
But the protagonist’s story has nothing to do with Cthulhu Aliens, so this reveal comes out of nowhere and is super contrived. Instead of making the Cthulhu Aliens part of the story, the author added some separate POV sections whose only purpose is to tell the reader that Cthulhu Aliens exist, so the climax won’t be so confusing. That doesn’t actually fix the problem though; it just papers over it!
Hope that answers your question, and good luck with your story!
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