One Writer’s Journey

January 22, 2019

Steady Ahead: Maintaining POV

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:02 am
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Why you have to keep track of who is telling your story.

When I say that I’m in an adult book club, I don’t mean racy adult.  I mean grown up book as opposed to the books for children and teens that I write.  Without these ladies, I might go months and never lay eyes on a grown up book.  Not that I’m 100% happy with all of them.

I’m not going to say which one we are currently reading, because I won’t pan another author’s book.  Someone else might just love it.  But this book was getting on my last nerve.  It seemed like every other page, the author switched point of view (POV).  One of the other group members messaged me a few days ago telling me that she was having the same problem so I know it isn’t just me.  The POV shifts are annoying.

Point of view is the view from which you are telling the story.  If you’re not sure what that means, think of it as who is holding the camera.  If you are telling the story from the point of view of your main character, your reader will get the entire story, including thoughts and feelings, from the perspective of this character.  This can be done either through a third person telling (Mark couldn’t believe how hot it was when he stepped outside) or first person (I couldn’t believe how hot it was when I stepped outside).

One of the hardest things to learn in writing is not to shift points of view.  You do that when you are merrily writing the story from Mark’s point of view but then tell us something that only Atticus knows or something Atticus has just observed.

“Wait!” you may be thinking. “Isn’t that just third person omniscient?”  Third person omniscient POV means that the reader knows everyone’s thoughts and feelings from page one until the last page.  They don’t hear the story from Mark’s point of view until page 10 and then bounce over to Atticus from pages 11 to 23 only to then switch back to Mark or maybe to Mabel.

All of this bouncing around was just annoying . . . until I switched to the audio book.  In audio, I almost didn’t notice it.  I’m really not sure what that means but it is something I observed.

Be conscious of which POV you are writing.  And keep it consistent.  A frustrated reader is bound to become someone else’s reader.

–SueBE

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