Just heard the newest of your two podcasts on multiple POVs and thought I will ask for your viewpoint on an idea/plot I am working on.
So two siblings arrive in a magical world, one quite responsible for her age and the other rather mean (not “take over the world” mean, more like “stealing his sister’s earrings because he finds it funny” mean). At one point they are separated and while separated the sister of those two is found and manipulated by a hag (or a witch in some languages) so that the next time they see each other the girl will have turned evil and the rest of the book will then mainly focus on her brother trying to stop her.
Now as you probably can see I decided for a multiple point of view between the two of them both in hope that it can add a layer to their relationships and also avoid confusion in the plot. (Imagine the reader sees them getting separated and once they are in the same scene again whoever reads the book gets utterly confused because the once responsible of the two suddenly has become evil.)
Would it be fine to use multiple points of view in that kind of story or would it (separation and role switch aside) make more sense to have a single POV throughout the story?
Given what you’ve told me about the story, I would definitely recommend sticking to the brother’s viewpoint and not using the sister’s viewpoint.
Here are my reasons:
1. Which characters have viewpoint scenes early in the story sets expectations about which characters are the heroes. Giving the sister a viewpoint will lead readers to think she’s going to be a hero on par with her brother. Many of them will get attached to her, and they are likely to become upset when it turns out she’s going to be manipulated and her brother will be saving the day. In contrast, giving only the brother a viewpoint will tell readers right away that he alone is the hero of the story.
2. I actually think it would be better if she becomes evil offscreen. Turning a character evil in a way that’s believable is difficult. While it’s possible for you to pull it off, readers will scrutinize it less if it happens offscreen, making your job easier.
Readers will not be confused by her being suddenly evil as long as it’s clear in the narration that this is supposed to be a mysterious new thing, as opposed to it looking like you’re just depicting her inconsistently. Since the readers will be in the brother’s head, as long as he notices her strange new behavior and wonders how this happened, you’ll be fine. Of course, since this will be setting up a mystery, at some point the brother should also find out how she became evil, and the villain that did this to her should play a bigger role in the story than just popping in to turn her evil and disappearing again (that last one is still true if you use the sister’s viewpoint).
3. Since the brother will be a little mean in the beginning, it’ll be helpful to do what you can to encourage the audience to become attached to him. Stealing earrings isn’t that bad, but even so, sticking to his viewpoint will make it easier for readers to see past his actions to his good side. If you give the sister a viewpoint, they’ll have less time to bond with him, and they’ll be more likely to side with her against him because he’s the meanie.
Regardless of what you decide, I wish you the best : )
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Comments on Should I Use a Single POV in a Story About Two Siblings?
She turned evil cause a witch cursed her? Kinda arbitrary tbh, it needs a lot of development to do well.
Although maybe I’m too dismissive and harsh on the idea because of a flashback to the unforgettable Maradonia Saga.
Done well, the sister’s rapid turn to evil because her free will was subverted by a malicious curse would be a fairly horrifying thing, definitely not something to be taken lightly. Provided this is treated like this, it can work well, but it definitely would increase the story’s darkness factor a notch.
This is a good one— I’m writing a story with two siblings, at the moment. I think sibling teams are a super interesting dynamic.
Fall arcs, too, are… probably the trickiest kind of character arc to pull off properly. The most famous ones don’t actually make much sense. Anakin’s sincere desire to save his wife doesn’t translate to making sushi out of children within the next hour, or hating his best friend and mentor, or becoming a tyrannical fascist enforcer.
Jason Solo from the extended universe, on the other hand, has one of my favorite fall arcs of any character in modern storytelling. He loses his little brother in the Vong War, which could have been avoided or at least much less destructive if a strong, central authority had existed to combat it. Over the next few years, he starts trying to build one, hence his contempt for democracy, hanging out with Sith-types, and ultimately his fall to the dark side.
I guess characters that are going to fall need to have flaws and personal tragedies that a circumstance could realistically bring evil out of.
I think that since the MC will be obviously confused if his sister becomes evil all of a sudden, readers being confused is not a bad thing.
You want your readers to feel like the character.
On the other hand, why she turned evil could be a mystery for both of them, the sister don’t realizing she is evil each one with their POV and their own theories. That way you can make them the foil of eachother.