Dual Point Of View Pitfalls


So I’ve been working on a new story that involves two separate point of view characters, alternating back and forth between the two from one chapter to the next. I have never done this before, and I had my reservation about it when I began. It seemed like an interesting way to twist this story to make it work well. I like the idea a lot.


It creates some interesting problems. While I like the idea knowing more than the characters know at any given time, it does remove a bit of the mystery and conflict. Sometimes, it seems to me, part of the fun of a story is the frustration you have when you know something the character doesn’t and you just can’t see why they don’t see it. “Just tell her how you feel!” I hear myself shouting at times. But now I have to hold myself back from showing too much of the internal dialog of the characters sometimes, because it may explain away something that I want the readers to still wonder about, that I want the readers to still be frustrated about.

So yeah, there’s kind of something here I never quite thought of in these terms before, but a lot of times the big conflict in a book can not happen so much between the characters, but instead between the actions of the characters and what the reader wants of them. That frustration is sometimes all the conflict you need, not two characters battling against one another within the story, and not even the character facing roadblocks along their journey.

So yeah, this is probably really obvious to everyone, but the real conflict can sometimes be between reader and what is on the page. And looking back, I can see that I’ve even done that in my own works previously, so it’s not exactly a groundbreaking thought here. It’s just something that had never occurred to me in such terms.

Sometimes I’m a slow learner:)

Enjoy your weekend!