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Establish and separate points of view.

If you have multiple characters, consider a dialogue format with separate points of view. Alternating lines or stanzas between characters can present separate points of view bringing more to the poem. Consider it a He Said/She Said idea. The characters do not have to be human, for instance Andrew Marvell had dialogues between non-human characters in some of his poems, such as “A Dialogue between the Body and Soul.” Several songwriters have used this technique to great effect including W A. Mozart, Cat Stevens in his “Father and Son,” and Dave Carter in his “Kate and the Ghost of Lost Love.” The separation may be done formally as Marvell did by having basically a play where the parts are listed before the dialogue, or less formally, but no less obviously by just having the tone and point of view change.

With songwriting, the separation is often made clear in other ways. In “Father and Son,” Cat Stevens sings the two parts with different tonal quality and range with the father having a deeper and calmer voice while the son has a higher voice and a more stressed tone. In the version of “Kate and the Ghost of Lost Love” that Carter recorded with his musical partner, Traci Grammer, each took one point of view, Carter the male ghost and Grammer the female, Kate. Another famous example of this type of point of view separation, although it is subtler, is in the Beatles’ song “Eleanor Rigby.” Each verse starts with the name of the character, and although it is not strictly a dialogue, it gracefully shifts from one character to the other and then intertwines their lives in the final verse.

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