Q&A Presenting Alternating Viewpoints in a Query Letter

If your novel has dual POV, like the one above, is it necessary to indicate this in the query? Recently I read that it’s best to present the query concisely from the POV of one character (the primary). If I do that, is it jarring to then mention that there are two viewpoints?

When I try to include both viewpoints in my pitch paragraph, it gets too wordy and bulky, though the alternating voices–one male and one female–are important to the book.

So I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now, and I’m not really sure I have a great answer. Dealing with multiple viewpoints is tricky.

I’ll start by saying, that I think whether the novel is written in first or third person makes a big difference. If you’re writing third, the issue of switching perspectives isn’t as big of a deal, because switching perspectives in third is a lot less jarring than it is in first person.

In first person, it’s more problematic. While thinking about this question, I went through my inbox and looked at all the queries that I’ve ever requested partials from. Only one had first person alternating point of view. This was mentioned in the query, though most of the query did seem to come more from the perspective of one character.

Another thing to consider is how the characters share page time within the story.POV may alternate, but how frequently? Does each character narrate the same number of chapters? Or is the story dominated by one character with bits from another character interspersed?

This will probably be an unsatisfying answer, but I’m not sure there really is a correct way to do this. I do think it’s something that needs to be considered. I also think that POV in the query letter is something to play around with. Maybe trying to write from two POV’s does make it too complicated, but you don’t know until you try. In other words, crank out as many versions of your query as possible, then sit down and consider which one works best for your story.


5 thoughts on “Q&A Presenting Alternating Viewpoints in a Query Letter

  1. Awesome post as always! I prefer one POV. I’m in agreement that two get bulky. Sticking to the main story line and the character central to that is the best way to go since you can still mention the antagonist and love interest/friend.

    • Yeah. I think I’ve decided that most of the time it is better. But I also feel like two could be done. Especially if the page time really was evenly split so that there wasn’t one character who was more of a main character than the other.

  2. If we’re talking genre fiction, we should be attending to the readers expectation’s of the genre they enjoy. In the case of thrillers, for example, the antagonist’s POV tends to rack up the tension compared to a story with only the protaganist’s POV.

Leave a Reply to Kyra Nelson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s