Does Two POV= Two Heros

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Does Two POV= Two Heros

Post by washingtonwriter1968 » May 1st, 2012, 4:59 pm

:? Ok Here is my ?
I have Two POV Characters in my WIP
What I was wondering is with Two POV's do I treat them as two heroes each with there own separate Goals and Conflicts both Inner and Outer? and then have them join at say Act Three against their common enemy?
Or do I choose one POV to her the Hero from the start of the novel!
Has anyone ever heard of Have two completely equal and seperate Heros in the same story. How was that on handled? :?
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Re: Does Two POV= Two Heros

Post by Hillsy » May 1st, 2012, 5:21 pm

Wheel of time arguably runs 6-12 "heroes" at any given time. Though that is a special case. I'm only finishing up Deadhouse Gates, book to of the Malazan Books of the Fallen and that's got too many Psuedo-hereos and POVs to mention. Adrian Tchaikovsky's series all have multiple (3-6) POV heroes. And I won't even start on Peter F Hamilton as that's basically space opera porn. Granted these are all large ol' books (but I tend to only read big books - more bang for your Oh, I forgot Joe Abercrombie's first law trilogy - that's an amazing example of what can be done with multiple POVs.

I don't see a problem with it at all. As long as they are unique and well handled then the POV should be whoever adds the most to the scene. An example would be something like an Urban Fantasy where Warlocks fight tech-heads. Having 2 main characters working together and using both POVs would give an insight into how the two groups view each other, enriching the experience and allowing you to play with the "Everyone is not wholly good or bad" theme a bit. There are a myriad of reasons to use more than one POV as part of two main protagonist journeys as long as you do both justice.

Hope that helps

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Re: Does Two POV= Two Heros

Post by Sommer Leigh » May 1st, 2012, 5:49 pm

I have two protagonists in my current WIP - although technically one is a "hero" type and one is a "villain" type, their stories are completely entrenched in each other's. They both have two completely different motivations and conflicts, different voices, different obstacles to face, even if most of the book they are facing down the same antagonistic forces, regardless of their reasons.

I've found that when I read and writing multiple main characters, one usually takes a more central position. I think part of it happens because the author prefers one over the other, or maybe the story is just better told from one than the other. Often, though, it's becuase one is fleshed out better than the other, and the dual protagonists are more of a smokescreen for allowing the author to show certain aspects of the story through another character's eyes, not actually so they can develop a second character fully. This is a problem that you should be aware of going in. The characters should split the screen time 50/50, or very close to, and they need a completely realized character development of their own.

I have found that in the first quarter of my WIP, one of the characters has a very slight word count advantage on the other. Not by a lot, but it just happened that a series of events allowed her to have two back to back chapters when I'd been pretty good about every other one. In the middle, so far, they've been dead even for screen time. I think he might overtake her in screen time very slightly in the second half of the middle section, but the difference will be negligible.

This is just how I set it up. You can have one protagonist for one section of the story, another protag for the next, and so on. Just keep in mind the pitfalls. 1) The author almost ALWAYS shows a preference for one protag or another. Accept this and figure out which one you love more, then make sure you fully realize the other one, even if it's a little harder for you. 2) The readers will almost ALWAYS have a preference for one protag or another. You have no control over this. Which is why you need to make sure both of them are incredibly well developed and they both have motivations and flaws and goals and missteps. Keep this in mind, too, that the people who love one protag and don't much care for the other are going to grow quickly bored through long sections with a protag they aren't interested in. It's a potential pitfall and the only way to minimize this is to always think about it when you're structuring your story. 3) Nothing annoys readers more than to discover one of the protags is really only there to give us a play-by-play of what the other protag is doing. This crops up from time to time where there's a very strong romance subplot, and the dual protags are there to allow us to see inside the mind of the lover of the real hero. These are incredibly boring to read.

The book The Mysts of Avelon does this where there are different sections narrated by different hero POVs. While I enjoyed the book, I did get sort of anxious about getting back to the stories of people I liked better. I found myself skimming the parts I was less interested in. And I hated the way The Wheel of Time series was structured. Horror. As a reader, I hate being forced to read about people I'm not interested in just so I can get back to the hero I love to read about. That series is particularly weird because there are whole sections and whole heroes whose stories have nothing to do with what is going on with another hero's section of the book. It's like smooshing seven books in one when you kind of only wanted to read one or two of the seven.
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Re: Does Two POV= Two Heros

Post by polymath » May 2nd, 2012, 1:02 am

So many terms for a narrative's central perrsona, POV, viewpoint character, hero, protagonist, narrator, attitude holder, reader surrogate, main character, nemesis or antagonist or villain even. Defining every persona's dramatic role for me is an important step.

In a sense, two point of view personas can equal two heroes, one in first position and one in second position, or protagonist and deuteragonist, respectively. Depends on audience, more skilled readers can accommodate two heroes. I've read narratives with dozens of heroes, but only one protagonist. I define a hero as a persona who nobly, self-sacrifingly, successfully serves a worthy greater good. A protagonist is a persona who most influences outcomes and is most transformed by a drama.

The concern readers have with two point of view personas is who do they most closely associate with; in other words, who is the intended readers' surrogate? And is the second one contributory and thus as empathy-worthy and curosity inspiring as the first?

Tranistions between point of view characters should set up readers timely wanting to know what's going on with the other when the tranistion happens. I don't care for narrative switching just because it's time word-count-wise for a new chapter or section. I want to know when it's time to know what's going on with the other character. It's important to me, to readers when it's important to the central action, or main dramatic complication. What is the greatest want? Destroying an object of evil power? Defeating a mighty and evil enemy force? Transforming a social evil? And what impedes achieving the great want? More than one point of view persona is an artful way to expand the scope and sweep of a main dramatic complication. But one persona must take first position and be most central to outcomes and transformation.
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Re: Does Two POV= Two Heros

Post by cheekychook » May 2nd, 2012, 8:37 pm

I have an answer that may or may not address what you're really asking. I write romance and the love story variety of women's fiction. All of my stories are told from dual POV---the hero's and the heroine's. In most cases they are equal characters who both have complete story arcs. While readers do usually identify more strongly with or "like" one or the other more, they are both focused on in the story.

When writing dual POV the most important thing to try to do is make sure the scenes are in the right character's POV. That's an easy choice if things happen to them that do not involve the other person, but when they're both in a scene you have to choose which POV should portray that scene. The best way to do that is to decide which character has the most to lose in that scene and write from his/her POV. Doing this allows the reader to bond more/feel closer to the character, which is particularly important when you're asking a reader to (at least somewhat) divide loyalty between to "main" characters.

Hope that makes sense and is somewhat helpful. Good luck with your story.

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Re: Does Two POV= Two Heros

Post by kghartwig » May 10th, 2012, 12:11 am

I just finished Patrick Ness' CHAOS WALKING trilogy, and while I can't stand his titles, he tells some fantastic stories. Each book adds one additional POV, which builds the world, shakes up the storytelling, and reveals motivations for actions. I think in his case each POV very much represents a co-equal protagonist. More arguable with the 3rd book than the 2nd, but at the very least arguable.

I don't think it _has_ to be this way by any means. J.A. Konrath splits POV in his first Jack Daniels mystery between 3rd person for his primary storytelling and main character (Jacqueline Daniels) and 1st person for his villain (serial killer), where the latter is purely a counterpoint.

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