Discussion Posts

Discussion: Multi POV vs. Single POV

Hello book bees! Today I’d like to discuss the pros and cons of multiple POV versus a single POV. Point of view characters in a multi POV work may be small side characters ranging to the main players of the work, whereas a single POV character is usually the primary protagonist of a work. There are plenty of reasons from the author’s standpoint to choose to either do multiple perspectives or single, but there are also consequences for those choices in the work.

Multiple POV


  • more diversity among the cast of characters directly represented
  • multiple perspectives means multiple versions of events–you don’t have to worry about unreliable narrators
  • you learn character motivations from themselves rather than a biased opinion
  • you can see events spanning across the entire world/timeline of the story
  • if a character is uninteresting to you, you’re not stuck in their perspective for the whole book
  • exposition flows more naturally as characters will observe/explain things in smaller amounts
  • shorter chapters/chapter sections are usually a result (if you like to read in small bursts)
  • the author can show their skill through different narrative styles and voices depending on the characters they write as


  • sections might be too short, covering only the bare minimum of a scene
  • if there are too many characters to keep track of, especially with similar names, then things can be confusing
  • you might not care about a lot of the POV characters and that makes reading less enjoyable
  • multiple versions of events might be confusing if every single character as a distinctly different impression of the event
  • exposition can also be lacking if every character just assumes you know what they’re talking about
  • transitions need to be well done otherwise it can be jarring to transfer from one POV to the next
  • if there are supposed to be main, important characters, it can be confusing to read too many side characters’ POV as well

Single POV


  • it’s clear who the focus of the story will be
  • if the narrator is reliable, then events and people will be explained in a consistent way
  • in a first-person POV you’ll get regular insights into the character’s thoughts and paradigm
  • events will likely occur in a largely chronological way (exceptions for stories that intentionally mess with timelines)
  • fewer characters to keep track of, since the main POV will remind you of the important side characters
  • there should be a consistent narrative style with only one character’s POV
  • if the author does use other POVs on occasion it’ll be easy to tell something new is happening, and it’ll be clear this means the event is important


  • you are stuck with the main character’s biases and assumptions
  • if the main POV is unreliable, it might take a while for the reader to discover this
  • first person POV exists
  • if the main character isn’t likable, or is dry and annoying, it can make the writing difficult to read
  • when events don’t happen to or around the main character, we have to read accounts of them instead which is less interesting
  • side characters might not get as much development
  • dramatic irony is more frustrating than interesting from a single POV

What do you prefer to read, multiple POVs or single POVs?

By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

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