Sunday, January 25, 2009

STOP THAT! No more characters!

Because I don't have enough to read already, I picked up Patrice Sarath's Gordath Wood today at B&N. It has horses in it.

The viewpoint character started out as Lynn. Then a few pages in, it switched to some guy named Crae. Then at the beginning of Chapter 2, Joe became the viewpoint character. Then it was Kate. Now, on page 30, it's a new guy named Colar.

Enough already! The book is in the pile now to go to the used book store. Am I the only person who gets flat out furious when an author keeps switching between tight-third points of view? Two characters I can handle. Three, maybe. More than three and I stop reading. If you need more than three viewpoint characters to tell your story, A) it's probably an epic fantasy, and B) you should be writing in omniscient.

By giving me-the-reader five fricking viewpoint characters in thirty pages, Sarath has asked me to throw in my lot with five people who may or may not be important ultimately, and who aren't given enough page time for me to get to like and trust. Plus I don't know how many more viewpoint characters will pop up in the next thirty pages. I see why she's doing it--she's giving the reader the story in broken pieces of mirror, which when all put together will reveal the plot. But I don't care about the plot, I want to know about the character. One character, not five.

7 comments:

Jamie Eyberg said...

EEEEK! Who was the publisher and editor is what I want to know? I want to avoid them like the plague.

K.C. Shaw said...

Ace is the publisher, and I usually have good luck with Ace books. It's a pity, because the story seems kind of interesting and the writing itself isn't bad.

Aaron Polson said...

Too...much...perspective...arrgh!

K.C. Shaw said...

lol! I hope for a stiflingly narrow view of the world when I read, myself.

Jameson T. Caine said...

It bugs me when an author changes viewpoint too often. I once read a book where it changed several times in each chapter. It was utterly confusing.

Catherine J Gardner said...

Crawls away to count the viewpoints in her book..

...Comes back and realises she's never going to sell anything. :sigh:

K.C. Shaw said...

Jameson--some authors can get away with it, but most can't. It bugs me too!

Cate--I bet you're writing in omniscient POV, which makes it okay. It just drives me nuts when an author gets me hooked on one character and then (for ex.) after three pages suddenly I'm yanked away from that character and don't find out what's going on with them for another 50 pages.