If we choose to, we can tell it from several points of view. If this is a third person narration, we need to make sure we give these separate consideration – their own chapters or sections of chapters – or we weaken the reader’s connection to the story by making them wonder whose head we are in. It’s a rookie error and I fell into it when I began writing but fortunately I have friends far more experienced than I am who dug me in the ribs before I published!
I’m not considering here the use of the third person omniscient – a kind of ‘eye of god’ viewpoint, where the narrator knows everything, all the characters’ motivations, thoughts etc. With this mode of narration we would not hear thoughts in the characters’ own voices. It takes a step backward.
I’m looking currently at the idea of telling a story – the same story – from two (or more) characters’ points of view. It interests me to think how different they might be. For example, if you write down a description of yourself, both in physical terms and in terms of your character and personality, then ask several people you know to describe you, it can give startling results and potentially dent a few friendships! One person’s statuesque is another person’s overweight. One person’s caring and interested is another’s nosy and inquisitive. It’s all in the point of view. Would we even know that it was the same person being described?
I find myself wondering how long it would take a reader to make a connection between two points of view. When would we realise we’d been reading about the same thing? Because I’m thinking of a first person narration, in each case, we only know what he or she knows. Makes you think, doesn’t it?