I do a lot of multiple point of view books. A lot of multiple thread books.
Unfortunately I’m not sure I do it well.
Might be a matter of never having taken an English class since I was in high school, and never having taken a creative writing class ever.
So, here I am laid up by a muscle cramp of all things, and not able to sit at the desk for very long.
In fact, kicked back on the couch with foot elevated seems to be the order of the day . . . well, week. So I started rereading David Weber’s Safehold series. Now for a moderately successful writer . . . well, let’s just say the shear competency of the man’s writing is humbling.
Let me try to explain how I see the threads of a story.
Parallel, sort of, threads shouldn’t look like this.
Your two threads have to meet, even if the characters don’t, there needs to be something in common between them.
Even this is better. Sort of the basic minimum. Get together for the grand finale, which both should have meaningful roles in.
Better if they also start together, split up, and then get back together for the big fight, whether it’s between the two of them, or fighting together against the Evil Villain of the story.
And tying it all up together is even better.
But three threads and it can get a bit tangled.
It would be nice if the author could exert a bit more control, look like he’s crossing threads for a purpose. Mind you, reminding the reader that the other threads are still in play is a perfectly good reason, but making those crossings into important plot points and suddenly your writing is going to level up.
Did I mention I wasn’t terribly good at this? I think I may be hovering at getting it tied up and a big tangle.
And my David Weber study?
I think what I’m seeing is a lot of scenes with cliff hanger ends. Then when he gets back to that thread, time has passed and he dives straight into the next action. One example has all the usual panic as the Empress goes into labor and the scene ends with the arrival of the obstetrician. The next scene, baby princess is peacefully snoozing beside the relieved parents. The in between, messy part, wasn’t important to the plot, so it got skipped.
The major battles are shown in clearly delineated series of different POVs, generally short, occasionally ending with the death of the POV character, some protagonists’ POV, some antagonists’ POV. In a great huge rush.
If you want to write action, read David Weber. I don’t write anywhere near his level, but clear delineations of the POV shifts works. And I’m going to be pondering his use of cliff hangers for a while.
So? Any of you want to mention authors that handle multiple POV stories especially well?
Or, of course, you could see me give it a try: