When I conceived the idea for my young adult series, Mythikas Island, I knew it would be four girl protagonists and four books. The story uses a Road Trip skeleton with a mythical adventure twist set in ancient Greece. The destination isn’t as important as the survival exercise and how it changes the characters. I settled on one character first person point of view for each book and decided each girl would come to terms with an event from the past.
Persephone, the Healer, picks up the tale in the second book. She would prefer to remain at home on Helios and practice healing instead of babysitting teammates she despises. She not only learns to care for her contentious cousins, she comes to terms with her abduction by Hades along the way.
Aphrodite, the Seer, narrates the tale in the third book. She isn’t cut out for heroic physical acts. Her gifts are of a mystical nature. She manages to prove her worth and resolves her relationship with Adonis along the way.
Athena, the Warrior, finishes the tale. As team leader, she realizes it’s not enough to enforce her will. She must lead by gaining consensus and that means patience and learning how to listen. Along the way she deals with the death of her friend Pallas.
Shifting the point of view in a series can keep it fresh. Tana French does so successfully in her gripping mysteries set in Ireland by following a different investigator in each book.
In the second book, The Likeness, Cassie Maddox takes the lead when a victim is found that not only looks like her, but is using one of Cassie’s old identities from a previous case. We learn more about Cassie’s past along the way.
In the third book, Faithful Place, the case is led by Frank Mackey, a supporting character in The Likeness. We learn more about Frank as he investigates the case of a body found by builders gutting a derelict tenement near his parent’s home. It just happens to be the corpse of his former teenage girlfriend.
In the fourth book, Broken Harbor, Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, who appeared in Faithful Place, covers a case when a family is slain in one of the half-built, half-abandoned "luxury" developments that litter Ireland. The case resurrects an episode from Mick’s past one summer at Broken Harbor that changed his family forever.
Switching characters does not work in all instances. One of my favorite cozy mystery series written by Ann Purser follows Lois Meade as she meddles in cases while cleaning houses. The author detoured in one book to follow the secondary characters. It was irritating rather than pleasing to find Lois relegated to the dust bin for an entire book.
If you switch point of view within a series, or from chapter to chapter, make sure it adds rather than detracts and your fans will stay riveted.
Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.