Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Several POVs

I love Harry Turtledove.  I think he's one of the best writers of our generation.  He can take a disparate set of viewpoints and weave them into a single storyline that ties together at the end.  It's awesome to follow.

The only problem, and a testament to his brilliance, is that so few can do it(myself included).  I like to focus on one character as a device to advance the plot.  When I start adding too many voices, I lose the story in the morass.

Not Turtledove.  The Great War series uses literally a dozen points of view to advance the plot.  They eventually get to the same place, but some of them meander, in my opinion.  I've found myself skimming those I found less interesting and getting to the ones I liked better.  I find this to be both blessing and curse for multiple points of view - it keeps me turning pages to see the next chapter, but some turn me off.

Of course, the opposite can be true for my own books(and those I like) - if someone grows bored of my single point of view, then the entire book loses the hold it had on the reader.  If my main character, or two at the most, can't keep a person's attention, the book as a whole is worthless.

At the same time, I know my limits.  Some of Turtledove's books that do the multiple POV thing have kept me enraptured from start to finish.  However, I can't write like that, not even as a project.  It gets too jumbled in my mind and I can't keep straight who's doing what.

Is there a point to this post?  Nah, more just rambling, but as I re-read one of Turtledove's books recently, it reignited my wonder at how he did it.  Maybe some are just better at multi-tasking.  I'm not one of them - are you?

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