I tend to write my novels from the point of view of a single character and Camp Expendable started out that way. So it’s interesting to think about why, almost halfway into the story, I thought it might be a good idea to add another point of view. There are parts that are a drudge to get written, usually the ones that help move the plot from one dramatic point to the next. They aren’t all boring to write, and I certainly hope none of them will be boring to read, but some days, it’s definitely a hard slog.
Maybe that was the factor that entered into considering whether I could bring in another point of view and make it an organic part of how the story develops. There were two characters whose point of view could potentially liven things up. I didn’t want both of them, so I had to examine what each one could bring to the novel. Of course, it would involve going back to previous chapters and finding the spots where inserting the new POV would work. It didn’t hurt that I would automatically be adding new chunks of material to my word count. Maybe that was even an unconscious motive that drove me to think about a second POV.
But here’s what became apparent as I thought about it. By adding the point of view, I’d be creating a more fully rounded character, and I suddenly saw how important that would be for the end of the book. Because what he eventually does could sideline his career in the military or even get him court martialed. Why would he be willing to do that? Without his point of view, his actions seem to come almost out of nowhere. Sure, I can, and will, let him explain it, but that’s a last-minute thing. Because we don’t know him very well, there’s no gradual buildup to that point, and the potential drama of his action is lost. Without that, he’s little more than a deus ex machina dragged in to “save” the hero.
So what was my real motivation in adding the second POV? Well, that’s one of the mysteries of creativity, isn’t it?