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4 thoughts on “You have questions. Ask away.”
Is it okay to introduce a second POV character about one-fourth of the way into my manuscript? My science fiction manuscript is approximately 410 pages long. I have one MC, and his POV tells the vast majority of the story from beginning to end. This is his story alone, but there are parts of his story that he doesn’t know and can’t know. I have a strong secondary character who doesn’t appear until page 103, but his POV adds to the story. His POV is more important much later in the story, but I certainly didn’t want to wait until chapter 38 to use his POV. I use his POV sparingly throughout the last two thirds of the book, and it always pertains to the MC’s story. Is this okay for me to use his POV beginning so late in the story? Two writers in my group did not like it. One of those two really hated it. The others in my group didn’t mind.
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This is a great question.
The simple answer is, yes.
But the more complicated answer is, just remember you can’t please everybody. So if 10 people didn’t have a problem with it and one or two did, you’re probably OK.
If those 10 people are fans of the genre and didn’t mind, you’re OK.
If the 10 people who didn’t mind are not fans of the genre, and the two who didn’t like it ARE fans of the genre, then you get an asterisk. Then maybe it’s OK, maybe not.
Here’s what I would do.
In The Navigators I basically told most of the story from one person’s point of view. Here and there I went into someone else’s point of view. A few people didn’t like it. The vast majority didn’t say anything one way or the other – which doesn’t mean they didn’t like it, it simply means they did not articulate that issue to me or in their review.
Ultimately, I learned one Takeaway, which was this: I wouldn’t go 25% of the book before I introduced a second point of view.
Somewhere earlier I would “make an excuse” to do it. Maybe in chapter two or three, just have a short scene that takes place somewhere else with someone else.
Then occasionally do it after that.
This of course is not really a direction you can take to heart if it doesn’t fit your story, but my guess is there are places where a second point of view might help, and if you find those then go ahead and do it – but do it early enough in the story to condition your readers that you’re going to do it. Then when you do it in a bigger amount they won’t be surprised or upset.
I really appreciate your input.
The one who hated the POV change the most was the one who loved the story the most up until that point. That is what worries me.
The second POV character first appears on p.28, and that is a logical place for me to include a short scene from his POV. There is one more logical place I can slip a short POV scene in at p.90. I’m hoping that will make the switch on p.103 less jarring.
You are very welcome.
I think the way you have it spaced out, but not happening too far into the story the first time, will work.
As we say in critiques, never change anything based on one person.