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I'm planning to use multiples a couple books down the road, but first I have to sell this series, lol. Right now it's in first person, but the protag will have a partner after the first one, and by the third book, he'll be having his say, too.

Interesting question.

The book I'm writing right now mixes first and third and it's so much fun but VERY easy to do what Lori mentioned and have too many POVs. About halfway through I went in and trimmed several useless POVs and got it down to three main characters in third person and the MC in first person.

In romances, I only use two POVs -- hero and heroine. I hear you on mixing first person with third person. Beth Ciotta does that in her "Evie" books for HQN. I'd never tried first person until the manuscript I'm writing now and I'm doing 1st person/3rd person. Everytime the female protagonist is the POV character, I write her in first person. When in the man's head, it's 3rd person.

Very challenging!

I like to give pretty all of the major characters a little time in the spotlight. A big part of the fun for me is getting into the characters' heads. For BREAKING COVER, I tried something a little different. I went from third person shifting POV, to first person, then back again. It just felt right.

I admire people who can successfully write in first. I tried in an unsold book of mine and it just didn't work. I write in multiple third. I think the most POVs I had was 13 (in THE PREY) and the least . . . hmmm, maybe my new book, KILLING FEAR. I think that's only 6. I think TEMPTING EVIL is 6, too, but the one I'm writing now is up again to 11 or 12.

My last book and WIP are in the third person and in both, I've started out with too many POVs and had to scale them down. Multiple POVs are a blast, but the trick in writing suspense is to figure out which one best serves the plot. I always think I'm doing that in the first draft... then it turns out I have to rethink.

First person has always been easy, third person - not so much. My first attempt at using multiple POVs failed. Second attempt is looking better, but I'm not sure by how much. It's such a different animal.

I read an ordinary-person-in-jeopardy thriller that used first person when the hero was around and shifted to third when the villains had scenes where the hero would not be present. It jarred me when I noticed it, but because it was well-written, it didn't bother me after awhile. It's all in the execution, isn't it?

Now, let me pose a question to the room: what do you call that deal where it's third person, but you are in the head of the person that opened the scene, and you stay there until there's a shift of time or place? That's what I'm TRYING to use. I'm working on a second draft of my WIP, and here and there I find an instance of a scene that I wrote in the first draft that's more of an omniscient third person, and it bothers me.

Should it? Is that okay? I laughed at Dustin Hoffman's character saying he's taught whole seminars in "little did he know" in STRANGER THAN FICTION, but I think it's because I think the omniscient quality of "little did he know" is a cheat! Do you agree?

Just wanted to know what the smarter and more experienced people in the room think. Thanks for listening.

I haven't used the first person/third person POV strategy, but I do have a proposal for something that would call for it. I have no idea if it will work, but I like the idea of it.

As for switching third person POVs throughout a novel, many writers have done this and done it successfully. I have a WIP right now that shifts between four different POVs. The hard part is to make sure each has his own voice.

John - one of the reasons I struggle with third person is precisely because of what you mention - that omniscient voice creeps in and I do think it's a cheat. It's much harder for me to stay in a character's head in third person - I drift and then realize "Crap. That doesn't work."

I think the viewpoint has to be crystal clear for the reader.

I am *so* glad you posted on this topic. I'm a wanna-be novelist who's struggling with POV for my murder mystery. I'm unsure whether to use third-person POV from one or multiple characters. And my bigger problem is that the story is so much more interesting inside my very unlikely killer's head. But then it's not much of a mystery, is it? I guess that goes to "What is a mystery?"

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this or get your recommendations on a great example of a mystery that manages this particular POV problem well. It would help me to really study a mystery story or book that is told from the killer's viewpoint AND that reveals the killer's identity early on (none of those books where we're inside the killer's head but don't know who he is).

Thanks for any tips. Love your blog!

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