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Write a story with multiple points of view

Tons of YA novels these days—including our latest review, The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz, are written with multiple narrators telling the story. Reading it is a blast because you get information from lots of different sources. But writing it? Well that’s another story. Here’s how to get started.

 

Step 1: Get your facts straight

It’s essential that you know exactly what’s going on to every single one of your characters at every single moment, even if your narrators are sometimes in the dark. Try writing a timeline that goes into details—the whos, whats, wheres, whens, whys and hows—so that you don’t get turned around.

 

Step 2: Plan out who will say what

Now that you have your plot outlined, make a plan for which characters should reveal which parts of it. If you have a surprise or a cliffhanger, it might be wise to have it slowly revealed, much like a puzzle, so that the reader has to piece it together along with the characters involved.

 

Step 3: Lay out your chapters

Time to put ‘em in order! Many books that switch between different narrators write them in a pattern, alternating points of view if there are two voices and keeping them in a standard order if there are three or more. You certainly don’t have to do it this way, but it will keep your readers from missing a particular character’s voice as they continue to read your story, so do keep that in mind.

 

Step 4: Establish a different voice for each narrator

This step might just be the most important, because you can’t have each section sounding exactly the same, right? While a heading with the character’s name or location might do enough to clarify who is telling which part of the story, it’s important that you keep the belief system and voice of each narrator unique.

 

What’s your favorite book told by different characters? Share them in the comments!

published April 08, 2014
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