How to Use Multiple Point of Views in Fiction—Tips by Author Lesley James
By Lesley James, Jun 4 2014 09:00AM
Here is an inteview by Karyn Connor, Senior Editor @ GoneWithTheWord
What gave you the idea to write the same story twice—one from each of the two main point-of-view characters?
LJ: I first had the Blueprint idea in 2012 while on holiday and watching all the women lying round the pool reading a certain bestselling erotic novel and thinking to myself that it was a shame that their partners were missing out on it. Many of my girlfriends told me that their male partners had tried to read their erotica but got bored after a few pages of ‘typical plot-less chick lit’ and gave up before the ‘good bits’ So I wanted to create a piece of writing that would be fast-paced and exciting for the men to enjoy yet balanced with a good old fashioned love story.
When I first began to write Blueprint it was one traditional single novel, written in the third person, but I found it challenging to get the right balance between the emotional narrative of female literature and the factual slant of a masculine read. So I experimented in writing one steamy passage from both perspectives, in the first person, and it just clicked; the story flew and I found I could explore the different characters’ personalities and back stories in great depth. It was liberating and exciting. I could write honestly without trying to appease both sexes.
I have always had an interest in psychology and especially in understanding the differences between men and women’s psyches. The premise of ‘There are three sides to every story’ kept leaping to my mind. You never truly know what’s going on in your partners’ mind, what they are thinking or feeling. How could you?
Erotica is now commonplace for women, while men’s ‘stimulating’ reading is still seen as dirty, seedy and something to be done in private. I want to bring it out into the open, let couples share experiences and, I hope, explore their own desires along the way.
What is the biggest advantage to such an in-depth multiple point of view?
LJ: It gives the reader an insight into the opposite sex’s point of view. It will increase understanding of what makes your partner tick. It should provoke a discussion and debate in your own relationship; it can be a prompt to discuss sexual experiences and needs more openly.
It is also intriguing and interesting; something different in the world of erotic fiction and it fulfills the human need to be nosey, to eavesdrop on someone else’s thoughts and feelings.
Over the course of the two books we have time and space to explore each character’s back stories more thoroughly, to understand what made them the people they became before they encounter each other for the first time. Having a double viewpoint brings the characters more fully to life and makes them multifaceted, complex, and more real. The format also allows for the plot to develop and for the sex scenes to be integral to it rather than crudely overwhelming the story.