When we think of point of view, or P.O.V. for short, we often assume that a book has one narrator telling the story, or one type of narration style (first person, third person, etc.). But what happens if a story is told from multiple perspectives? How different Harry Potter
would be if each chapter had been told from the viewpoint of a different character! The first chapter from Harry’s perspective; the second from Lord Voldemort; the third, Snape; etc.... we’d lose some of the closeness we feel with Harry, but gain insight into the experiences of other characters.
Layering the narrative in this way isn’t common, but when done with care, a rotating P.O.V. can have a powerful effect. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury
is one example, with the novel divided into sections, each told from the perspective of one of three brothers—Benjy, Quentin, and Jason—as well as a fourth section, told from the perspective of the family servant, Dilsey.
Code Name Verity
is another example. During World War 2, a plane crashes into Nazi-occupied France, with two best friends—a pilot and a spy—aboard. Part of the novel is told from the perspective of the spy, “Verity”, in the form of a confession. The other part is told from the perspective of the pilot, Maddie, who was left behind in the plane’s wreckage after Verity was captured.
For this prompt, dear writers, draft an excerpt of a short story or novel, clearly switching from one narrator to another—as Community Ambassadors seaomelette
do here —so that the P.O.V. rotates among characters. As you write, keep in mind that a change in narrator also means a change in voice, and perhaps time and place as well. Think of each narrator as offering another angle on a central narrative question or theme.