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June 10th, 2013

Alternative POV and Romantic Tension

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I've read a number of romance novels lately that used alternating point of view.  Chapters switch between the female love interest and the male love interest.  On one hand, the reader knows from the beginning that these two people will eventually end up together.  Otherwise, why bother telling us about both of them?

On the other hand, if done right, the alternating chapters allow us to see many near misses and misinterpretations.  She thinks she's embarrassed herself beyond redemption by flipping over a juniper in his front yard; he thinks she's adorable with needles and berries in her hair but despairs when she runs away.

We, the readers, get to see all the internal conflict.  We realize that if they knew each others' true feelings, it would all be peachy.

I'm currently writing a single POV novel, and I sometimes wish the reader really knew what the guy was thinking.

What do you think?  Do alternating POV novels help you feel better connected to the characters?  Do you care more about when and how they will get together?

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Andrea Ortega, Lisa Ritter Cannon, and Nikki Katz met at a SCBWI meeting about polishing YA manuscripts. Over coffee, they critique their works-in-progress and gab about motherhood. Andrea is a former bilingual teacher, Lisa teaches legal writing, and Nikki is a former rocket scientist and current blog editor/social media czar. Join them as they blog about craft.

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