Point of View

POV“I can read one page of someone’s work and see how they handle point of view. I don’t have to read anymore.” That’s what a publisher says. Do you agree?

Here’s a short checklist:

  • Do you switch point of view (POV) between characters in one scene? A no-no, except for very experienced writers. At a dramatic Christmas dinner, we start the meal seeing everything through Jack’s eyes, but by meal’s end, we’re in Marcie’s POV. Reader ping-pong.
  • Do you, the author, jump into a scene and explain things? “You see, Jack once dated Marcie, but one date was enough for her.”
  • Do you, the author, use adjectives to describe your characters? “Even at Christmas time, Jack, the tightwad, didn’t buy a present for Marcie.” Of course tightwad, is the author’s POV, but I think the whole sentence is. We should draw our own conclusion after seeing things through Marcie’s eyes.
  • Do you use NO point of view? You the author are omniscient. You see into everyone’s head. Of course in the hands of a skilled writer, this can be an effective POV.

Do you play with POV? Try it sometime. Rethink your story in another POV or try a totally different one, a series of letters or emails, diary entries, or an internal dialogue. Play with POV. It can be a creative tool.

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3 responses to “Point of View

  1. Good post, Ed, I think POV is the last stumbllng block developing authors need to learn. Long after they’ve mastered structure and dialogue, and even style, many authors still don’t understand POV – what it can do for them, and against. Writing a short story in say, 3rd and then changing it to 1st is often a real eye opener for new writers. .

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