- Write a story with two separate character arcs.
- Write a story that has its own "big picture" arc interweaving the two girls' journeys.
- Create characters with two distinct voices.
Following my own advice as a writing instructor to "Learn from the Masters," I have read several books written from multiple POV to see how other writers successfully accomplish this task. Here are three examples:
Lisa Kline's first book in her middle grade Sisters in All Seasons series is Summer of the Wolves. Soon after their parents marry, step-sisters Diana and Stephanie are thrown together on a family vacation. Their rocky relationship is full of tension, distrust, and misunderstanding. The two points of view allow readers to climb inside each character's skin thus increasing their empathy for the characters' experiences. When the girls misguidedly attempt to save some caged wolves, they have to face the repercussions of their actions together. Taking responsibility becomes a vehicle by which they each grow and they become more than step-sisters.
Lisa shared one of her challenges in writing this series: "There is also a special issue with the passage of time that you face in writing for two voices. You always must keep time moving forward, even when you change from one voice to another. This is a trick that one of my teachers taught me a few years ago. If you have a scene that’s told from the point of view of one person, and you want your readers to see that same scene told from the point of view of the other, you first need to move forward, and then tell that scene as though it’s a flashback. You can’t move backwards in time when you make your move between the two voices. Keep your clock always ticking forward."
I met Beth Revis three years ago and purchased Across the Universe. It took me too long to crack the cleverly done reversible cover, but when I did, I was hooked. This young adult science fiction novel tells Amy's story: frozen for the purpose of populating a new planet in three hundred years, she wakes up early on Godspeed, a spaceship controlled by a tyrannical leader bent on creating his own maniacal world. Amy meets Elder, the young man who is being groomed to be the next leader. From different worlds and different times, they are linked by their common goal of finding out the truth about Godspeed.
So, what did I learn from studying these books? Writing in two points of view can demonstrate how two individuals--from different backgrounds and/or worlds--unite to overcome a mutual enemy and reach a common goal. A great lesson from three great authors.
******I am giving away my gently used, autographed copy of Under the Never Sky. If you want to win it, please leave me a comment by March 17. Every time you share this on social media of your choice, I'll add your name again to the "hat". Follow my blog or tell me you are already a follower and I'll give you another chance to win. If I don't have your email address, make sure you leave that too!
If you want to discover more about books from two points of view and for another opportunity to win Under the Never Sky, as well as a copy of Season of Change by Lisa Kline, Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O' Malley and Cowboy Up! by Nancy Bo Flood--then check out Joyce Hostetter's and my next issue of Talking Story.