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 : )