The great thing about third person omniscient is the ability to jump from the head of one character to another, to live “multiple” lives. But, unlike first person, we are not constantly in the character’s head. Sometimes we observe them from the outside and sometimes other characters observe them. The plus with first person is we get to stay with the main character throughout. But can there be multiple first points of view in one story?
With the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I got to thinking of where my novel was going after completing the first part (before November—I don’t write that fast) from the main character’s point of view, only to discover that there were other, quite valuable angles to the story.
Some of you may have heard that Stephanie Meyer planned to rewrite Twilight from Edward Cullen’s POV. Kostova’s The Historian follows the alternating POVs of father and daughter. Although rare and tricky, they do add certain uniqueness to the story. While I’m not a fan of retelling the same thing twice through various POVs, it’s always interesting to learn what someone else may be thinking about a character, or how a story takes off at a certain point from another perspective. Not to mention, you get the opportunity to get to know (and maybe even like) the other character. After all, the more we know someone, the more we tend to see their actions as justified and feel empathy for them.
Personally, while reading The Hunger Games, I was kinda hoping Peeta’s POV would take over at some point in the story, just for variety’s sake. Or even to raise the stakes and the possibility of Katniss dying (the narrator can’t die if there’s no one to take over). Ultimately, though, after the story ended, I found there really wasn’t anything for him to offer. No “insider” information that would have made his perspective compelling. So, as always, it depends on the story and where the author plans to take it.
Still, I’m very curious about the possibilities. And while I do find the experiment dangerous, I’m a “write on the edge” kind of author. When it comes to truth or dare, you know what I’ll pick.
Have you ever wanted to read the perspective of a character you didn’t get to experience?
-The Story Addict