Novel Experiment · writing

How Many POVs Is Too Many?


I’m going to have to get rid of a point of view character. I am not looking forward to it.

This character has a wonderful story of his own to tell, an interesting background, a fascinating life. But as much as I enjoy writing from his perspective, I don’t think his POV chapters add anything to the work. In fact, I have the terrible suspicion that his sections make the manuscript less focused. I already have a core set of POV characters, and their narrative arcs make sense when read together. His POV just doesn’t belong.

Though I am a little heartbroken about having to remove his POV, it is probably the right choice. Besides, he won’t disappear from the story entirely, and just because I’m taking him out of this draft doesn’t mean that I have delete everything I have ever written about him. I’ll just slide those paragraphs and pages into a separate file. Maybe I’ll be able to use them someday. Maybe I won’t.

Either way I won’t edit the POV out of the manuscript quite yet. I should probably complete the initial draft before performing a major culling like this after all.

If you have a POV character that you’ve loved, lost, and had to remove from any of your works, please share! I’m resigned to this, but I’m still in a bit of mourning. Some commiseration could be good for me.


*Image Attribution:Β Giaele e Sisara, ca. 1620, Artemisia Gentileschi


9 thoughts on “How Many POVs Is Too Many?

  1. Perhaps you’ll just be moving this character out of the room for a little while. But, he still exists in his own world and will continue to watch the story unfold from that perspective, whether he tells you about it or not! One of my friends has talked about the fun of writing ‘samplers’ that are like offshoots to a main storyline from a character who, though their part is small in the big stage, has a story of their own. Who knows – there may be a whole other book lurking in that character, so that’s why he needs to leave the room for the moment. Very interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think sometimes you need to eliminate characters like this who clog up the progression. You’ve probably made a wise choice. However, sometimes when you do this, the character still feels more real to the reader as when you later write him in, from the perspective of another, we will be able to see the thought you’ve put in simply by knowing his inner workings. He will probably seem less like a plot device and more like to a reader because of this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My heart is beating in anticipation of this book. I love that you are sharing the process. I’ve never tried to write a novel but I am interested in what the process is like (just in case I get inspired some day).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very kind! I make no promises about the quality of my book baby – first books are almost inevitably terrible – but it is a wonderful experience. I’m learning a lot and have the chance to meet some fabulous people along the way. And if you ever do start to write your own one day, you’ll have to let me know. I always love to hear about what other people are creating.


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