Who Thought That?
Let’s discuss the topic POINT OF VIEW, commonly referred to as POV, and what it means to your novel. Following are the frequently asked questions by new writers;
1. What is Point of View?
POV is the thoughts and five senses of a specific character. You can not write POV effectively if you don’t know your character. Hence the reason to write characterization sheets.
It also allows your reader to “get inside David’s head”. What the hell is that, you ask? Simple. For your reader to love (not like, but LOVE) your book and recommend it to others, they must feel a rapport with your hero, in this case David. It can not be accomplished if you haven’t given David enough time to develop.
2. Why use a specific POV?
Doesn’t it seem you should be able to just tell your story and get on with it? Not have to worry about all this technical stuff? Here’s a heads up; readers today are savvy. They want to like your main characters, especially in a romance. They want to relate to your hero and heroine. Unless you PROVE your characters to be living, breathing, beings, the reader will never be happy. For that fact, neither will a publisher, therefore no sale, hence no readers. It’s your decision but if you want to sell you MUST master POV.
3. How do you determine who should have a POV in a specific scene?
This isn’t always easy to decide. You, the author, must choose whose POV you need to use at that critical moment in your story. Consider these points;
• Who has the most to gain in this particular scene?
• Who has the most to lose?
• Which character’s part of the story needs to move forward the most at this exact moment?
• Which character’s POV will be the most interesting to the story at this exact moment?
4. Length of POV?
As long as the scene warrants. Most, if not all editors, want to read a minimum of 500 words in a specific POV which is easy to accomplish in your edits.
5. What is Head Hopping?
One of my greatest, and funniest, mistakes when I first started writing was head hopping. It means each paragraph of a specific scene is in a different POV and very confusing to the reader. A good author controls this rotten phenomenon while writing. I correct it in my edits.
6. What POV can’t be;
It can not include lines such as;
The car roared to life and he peeled out onto the street, cutting off a delivery truck. David never noticed the driver when he flipped him off.
A very dramatic way to write, but if David can’t see the driver flip him off then it never happened or the scene is in someone else’s POV. Your POV character sees everything that occurs around him or her, just as you do in life.
The POV character can not see the color of his or her own eyes or hair at that moment. Therefore she can’t think, “My green eyes have brightened at the sight of David.”
The POV character doesn’t think of their own name or the full name of their parents or friends. Would you?
Other characters thoughts cannot jump into the middle of your hero’s or heroine’s POV with their thoughts.
Consider yourself when you’re watching or speaking with someone. What is it you see, do, and think? It’s the same actions and reactions your POV character will have.
7. Correcting POV
We have finally hit on something easy. When I edit the first draft I mark the margin in whose POV the paragraph was written. Should I see, and believe me I do, a mix of POV’s in one scene I go back and rework asking myself the questions from above number three.
Many times it only requires changing a few words or dropping them. See the examples below;
• Original which should be in David’s POV
David stared into Gwen’s eyes searching for an answer, his own burning with lust. Beyond this incredible desire to be in her, he realized he really liked her. She was kind, funny, and intelligent. Her ability to discuss any topic sensibly excited his brain, perhaps even more so than her scent and soft eyes sent his body into a sex-driven frenzy.
• Corrected which now is in David’s POV
He stared into Gwen’s eyes searching for an answer. Beyond this incredible desire to be in her, he realized he really liked her. She was kind, funny, and intelligent. Her ability to discuss any topic sensibly excited his brain, perhaps even more so than her scent and soft eyes sent his body into a sex-driven frenzy.
• Original which should be in Gwen’s POV
David watched through narrowed eyes, his mouth grim. A blue vein throbbed in his forehead and his hands gripped his glass like a vice. Unmistakably, he was pissed watching Gwen enjoy herself with another man.
• Corrected which now is in Gwen’s POV
She noticed David watching her through narrowed eyes, his mouth grim. A blue vein throbbed in his forehead and his hands gripped his glass like a vice. Unmistakably, she thought, he was pissed watching her enjoy herself with another man.
Just a few word changes will bring the paragraph into the right POV and maintain the continuity of the scene.
Go through your work and edit it to be sure you have all the correct POV’s within your scenes. Your writing future depends on it.
Wishing you all joyous religious holidays! I'll be back Monday with Emma Lane and her new release Dark Domino. Until then...