The ABCs of POVs

Using multiple POVs is a great way to provide your readers with different perspectives on the same story by getting inside the heads of more than one character. But it can also be challenging because there are more factors to take into consideration. Here are a few tips for crafting memorable POVs.

At Medallion we prefer to avoid head hopping—that is, switching POVs in the middle of a scene without a scene break—because we feel that it can disrupt the flow and pull readers out of the story. When you alternate POVs, please consider inserting a dingbat or a chapter break.

POVs need to be distinct. Readers should immediately know which character’s POV they’re in. To distinguish scenes, include your characters’ internal dialogue, outlook, and other traits, and show the kinds of details they notice, their responses to different situations, and how they relate to others.

Avoid inserting adultlike wisdom and reflection into children’s dialogue and thoughts. Their understanding of themselves and the world should match their age and maturity level. Don’t give them outdated or unrealistic viewpoints.

For inspiration, read novels that handle multiple POVs brilliantly, such as A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.


—The Editors


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