The Craft of Writing

POV’s – How Many is Too Many?



I love books written in multiple points of view.


That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed single POV books, because I certainly have.  For me, those books tend to be plot driven.  THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT are a couple of well-known examples, and those also both happen to be YA (which is usually the case for that genre).  But if I want to read a good thought provoking story, I just need more.  Perhaps I get bored staying inside one person’s head for an entire novel, or perhaps it’s the analytical side of me that yearns to understand every possible angle.  Multi-POV’s help me satisfy both.

Everyone has a different opinion of the world and the people in it.  Everyone has a different past that has led them to those opinions and beliefs.  I’ve changed my feelings toward a particular subject on more than one occasion, simply because I was shown the world through someone else’s eyes.  This is one of the reasons I love a good anti-hero and coming up with extremely flawed characters, because it reminds me that everyone is right from their own perspective.  It’s easy to forget that through the fog of our own prejudices.

But how many is too many?  How many views do you really have to show to achieve this?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because my editor believes one of the POV’s in my latest WIP isn’t necessary.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard this, so when she mentioned it I didn’t put up a fight.  In fact, when I went through my WIP and took out the scenes from this character’s POV that didn’t damage the main plot, I cut 10,000 words out of my manuscript.  10,000 words!!  Given, I still have some scenes that will have to be rewritten through another POV, but damn that’s A LOT. And I have to admit, it sounded good telling my husband, “I edited 10,000 words today,” when he asked how it was going.  I was on cloud 9!

But then my dear cousin, who so graciously read my manuscript for me, tells me she loved my book and really related to one of my characters.  Can you guess which one?


**Big Sigh** I can’t win.

NOW what do I do?  This is the EXACT reason I wanted this POV in the first place.  I knew someone out there could relate to her position, and I thought it was important for the reader to see my main character through this person’s eyes.  Could I achieve that without going inside her head and dissecting her thoughts?

After A LOT of debating, I’ve decided the answer is yes.  She’s still there and definitely an important part of the story, but it’s not her tale I need or want to tell.  I was sacrificing the depth of my other characters by wasting page time on a thread that really doesn’t relate to the main thread, all in the name of developing a character whom the story wasn’t meant to be about.  And, while it might not be as easy, I can express her viewpoint through her interaction with the other characters without digging too deep into her psyche, the way a POV character deserves.

And, again, that’s 10,000 words!  10,000 words I can devote to my other 3 POV characters, increasing their depth and their pasts.  Because really, this book was meant to be about them.  About their screwed up little family and how they find a way to make the dysfunctional functional.

So how many POV’s is the right number of POV’s?  I really do not know.  But for this book and this family, it’s 3.  And I’m not going to change my mind again.

At least I don’t think.

Jenna P

Inspiration · Self Publishing

A Writer vs. An Author

So, it’s been forever since I’ve blogged, for many different reasons.

First, we’ve been super busy finishing up the gymnastics season.  We traveled to Orlando, Columbus, Ohio, and Charleston, SC, then finished up the season in Asheville, NC.  Congratulations to my “Spotacus” for being the Level 6 State Champion for her age bracket on Vault, Bars, and All-Around!  She also qualified for Regionals, where she took ninth!  Super proud of her!

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Second, we’ve been mourning the loss of our 17 year old dachshund, Dakota.  This one hit hard.  He was our first baby, and was such a good boy.  We had so much time with him, but it never feels like enough.  We miss you, little buddy.


Third, we’ve been getting ready for summer.  This means making sure the boat is primed and ready for the Lake, and getting the pool opened up for the season.  I’ve had muscles hurt the past few weeks that I never knew I had.  And then I look at the insane things my daughters do at gymnastics and realize I have no room to complain.

It’s been crazy busy, to say the least.  Looking forward to some down time in the summer.

As far as writing goes, I’m pushing hard toward getting my book published in the fall.  I’ve done lots of research, talked to a few hybrid publishers to see what they have to offer, have my cover artist lined up, and am finally working on edits.

Yep, that’s right!  I received edits back from THE REAL WRITER last week on THE RULES OF HALF.  Receiving that email was a monumental moment for me.  It made it all more real, not just a pie in the sky notion I had about someday being published.  I was really truly on my way.  I smiled and giggled and celebrated, and might have had a glass or two of wine.

And thenEdits I opened up the docs and the squees quickly changed to hyperventilating.

It wasn’t the quantity of the comments or the fact that I had more work to do that had me in a panic.  What bothered me was that I didn’t see the things she pointed out until she pointed them out to me.  How could I have missed that?  Why didn’t I think of that?  Do these people not have any other way to express themselves besides raising their brow?  Why the hell do I use passive voice so much?  You mean, I’m not perfect?

Part of me felt a little embarrassed, if I’m being honest. Embarrassed and down.

And then I reminded myself that this is why I’d hired her in the first place.  Because I want my book to be the best book it can be.  Because she can see things I can’t.  Because I’d rather have her tell me these things than readers leaving bad reviews.

And then everything changed.  Parts and ideas started sparking in my head.  All the things I remembered having trouble with when I was writing this manuscript – you know, the ones that don’t feel 100% right, so you kind of skirt them under the rug and hope no one notices – suddenly started to fall into or out of place completely.  I could see a path lighting its way through the crazy maze in front of me.  I no longer felt embarrassed; I felt empowered, determined.

For the first time, I felt like an author, not a writer.

But, Jenna P, you say, what is the difference?

I used to wonder that too.  At what point does one change from being a writer to an author?  Is it when you have something finished?  Is it when you have an agent?  Is it when you earn a book deal?  Is it when you are finally published?  I really didn’t know.  But I finally get it, folks.  I do.

No, I’m not perfect.  Not even close.  And I can guarantee that you aren’t either.  But those that make it in this business are those who can admit it, and tackle their weaknesses head on.  They are those who aren’t afraid to hear what they are doing wrong, and aren’t too lazy to suck it up and do what’s necessary to make it right.  They are those who don’t settle for a dull story when there are clearly ways to make it shine.

That, my friends, is the difference between an author and a writer.

So which are you?