Stories Featuring Multiple Single Chapter PoVs

The Big Peat

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This is a bit of a weird request. But can anyone tell me some books that feature multiple PoVs, where a lot of the PoVs are only used for one or two chapters? Any genre/time period, but in particular fantasy from a modern time period. I very much enjoy how Pratchett and Gemmell did it and was hoping to see if anyone else did it like them.
 

J-Sun

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I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but Theodore Sturgeon's Godbody features several characters who narrate chapters in first-person.
 

The Big Peat

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I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but Theodore Sturgeon's Godbody features several characters who narrate chapters in first-person.
To hopefully make it clearer -

PoVs that are used for one or two chapters to give a particular PoV of a particular event, then aren't used afterwards. Books with several PoVs that we follow from beginning to end aren't what I'm thinking.
 

HareBrain

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The only time I remember it being used is in crime/thrillers or horror, where the POV gets killed at the end of the chapter.
 

Elckerlyc

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I have a vague memory of a novel or movie about an event that was narrated by 3 persons, each emphasizing their own POV.
I'll let my subconscious work today on the evasive details...
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
I can think of some that have principle point of views and the some that just pop up for a chapter or two (like in Abendau, Rjala only has one chapter, from memory) but ones that only have short POVs in general are hard.

Something like Accordian Crimes or Olive Kitteridge do something this but they do it in a series of interlinked short stories building to a narrative. Chris mentioned Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.
 

Rodders

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It’s been a long time since I read it, but didn’t Feersome Engine by Iain M. Banks have two POV’s?
 

The Big Peat

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I can think of some that have principle point of views and the some that just pop up for a chapter or two (like in Abendau, Rjala only has one chapter, from memory) but ones that only have short POVs in general are hard.

Something like Accordian Crimes or Olive Kitteridge do something this but they do it in a series of interlinked short stories building to a narrative. Chris mentioned Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.
Principle PoVs with some that just pop up for a chapter or two would be a good way to describe what I'm looking for! So yes, things like Abendau rather than things like Accordion Crimes (although that sounds fun in its own right).
 

Toby Frost

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Doesn't George R R Martin do this at the start of some of his books? I'm pretty sure that Tad Williams used it in Stone of Farewell, too.
 

HareBrain

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Doesn't George R R Martin do this at the start of some of his books? I'm pretty sure that Tad Williams used it in Stone of Farewell, too.
I think this is more common for prologues and epilogues, which is how GRRM at least tends to use it. It works OK there because people don't necessarily expect prologue POVs to recur. A one-off mid-book POV (who doesn't die) runs the risk of the reader being disappointed when they don't come back, if it's a character they find interesting or attractive.
 

The Big Peat

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Doesn't George R R Martin do this at the start of some of his books? I'm pretty sure that Tad Williams used it in Stone of Farewell, too.
I think this is more common for prologues and epilogues, which is how GRRM at least tends to use it. It works OK there because people don't necessarily expect prologue POVs to recur. A one-off mid-book POV (who doesn't die) runs the risk of the reader being disappointed when they don't come back, if it's a character they find interesting or attractive.
Vot ze bunny said. Which is why I said lots.

I guess if might help if I explained the rationale. To me, the strength of say having 3/4 main PoV strands from beginning to finish and say 3-4 or whatever PoVs that are used in a fairly minor way is you get the traditional full length character arcs but can give a fuller sense of narrative by telling the things they'd never see, such as themselves and how terrifying they are to other people. Or do, such as getting killed. I want to find a few more books like that and hope they give me the sense of narrative I get authors who do do it, because I seem to find that goes missing somewhat these days.

And the whole unrelated GRRM prologue thing kinda isn't what I'm looking for because that one-off split from the narrative prologue doesn't really add a fullness to it, just a new different lens to look through. Which is cool! But not the same thing.
 

Brian G Turner

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Do you mean like Joe Abercrombie does quite a bit? :)

I believe Conn Iggulden's Genghis Khan series (starting with Wolf of the Plains) also does that - a lot from Genghis early on, that broadens out as the cast increases. It's historical fiction, but a good read. That's the series that made me realize I needed to restructure my own work, so instead of having a chapter for each POV character, I should have chapters that combine POVs.
 

The Big Peat

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Do you mean like Joe Abercrombie does quite a bit? :)

I believe Conn Iggulden's Genghis Khan series (starting with Wolf of the Plains) also does that - a lot from Genghis early on, that broadens out as the cast increases. It's historical fiction, but a good read. That's the series that made me realize I needed to restructure my own work, so instead of having a chapter for each POV character, I should have chapters that combine POVs.
If he does, I've clean forgot it in the books of his I've read :LOL: I remember The First Law and Best Served Cold sticking mostly with the same handful (although I think the poisoner in BSC only gets a few now I think about it?)
 

Brian G Turner

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If he does, I've clean forgot it in the books of his I've read :LOL: I remember The First Law and Best Served Cold sticking mostly with the same handful (although I think the poisoner in BSC only gets a few now I think about it?)
The Heroes has a larger cast - worth checking out to see how to handle a lot of POVs, many only singles.
 

Avelino de Castro

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This is a bit of a weird request. But can anyone tell me some books that feature multiple PoVs, where a lot of the PoVs are only used for one or two chapters? Any genre/time period, but in particular fantasy from a modern time period. I very much enjoy how Pratchett and Gemmell did it and was hoping to see if anyone else did it like them.
Christopher Moore's early work features that, in his vampire trilogy. Bite Me, You Suck, and Bloodsucking Fiends
 

tobl

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This is a bit of a weird request. But can anyone tell me some books that feature multiple PoVs, where a lot of the PoVs are only used for one or two chapters? Any genre/time period, but in particular fantasy from a modern time period. I very much enjoy how Pratchett and Gemmell did it and was hoping to see if anyone else did it like them.
john conroe the demon accords especially around volume 6 ithink and of course the compendium
 

williamjm

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I guess if might help if I explained the rationale. To me, the strength of say having 3/4 main PoV strands from beginning to finish and say 3-4 or whatever PoVs that are used in a fairly minor way is you get the traditional full length character arcs but can give a fuller sense of narrative by telling the things they'd never see, such as themselves and how terrifying they are to other people. Or do, such as getting killed. I want to find a few more books like that and hope they give me the sense of narrative I get authors who do do it, because I seem to find that goes missing somewhat these days.
This makes me think a bit of some of Guy Gavriel Kay's books where he would sometimes break off from the main narrative to describe the future life story of minor characters who weren't going to appear in the story again. I think he started doing this about the time of Last Light of the Sun although it shows up again in some of the later books as well.

There's also a completely different style of book where we follow POVs sequentially so they each get a single section focusing on their POV and they then only appear (if at all) as supporting characters in the rest of the book. David Mitchell's Slade House and Bone Clocks, Keith Roberts' Pavane or Hugh Howey's Wool would be good examples of this.
 

williamjm

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I have a vague memory of a novel or movie about an event that was narrated by 3 persons, each emphasizing their own POV.
I'll let my subconscious work today on the evasive details...
I've seen this called Rashomon-style after the Akira Kurosawa movie.

It's a fairly common storytelling device although I can't think of any SF/Fantasy novels using it at the moment.
 
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