Tuesday, January 14, 2014

POV Does Not Stand for Pushing Out Volumes

I thought I'd post a little about writing craft today and visit POV, which stands for Point of View. A story's point of view is extremely important, and I believe that every novel out there should have a point of view that is best for its individuality, plot, characters, style, etc. So, when I have a book idea, I spend some time thinking about POV. Would this story be better in first person? Third person close? Third person distant? Narrative? Recently I began a novel where I had decided to write every other chapter from first person present tense. After writing the beginning, I second guessed that decision and re-wrote what I already had in third person close and HATED IT. Discovering the best POV for your story is important from the beginning because it isn't fun to do a full POV rewrite of several hundred pages.

So, here are some things to consider as you make the best possible choice for the POV of your story.

  • Who is the story written for?
  • Can you do everything you want to do from that point of view?
  • Do you need or want to have multiple points of view or will that weaken your story?
  • Who needs to tell the story? Or in other words, whose story is it to tell?

It helps me sometimes to take a few pages and write them from different points of view to get the big picture of how the voice will sound. But I truly feel that there is a RIGHT POV for every story. And yes, that means there is also a wrong (or maybe just a not as good) POV for every story.

As you continue your story, make sure you avoid what I call violations of POV. If you're writing from first person or third person, you will not be able to get into the head of every character. Keep that in mind, and stay within the bounds of your chosen POV. If you want to be in everyone's head, which is common in early chapter readers and some middle grade books, you need to write from omniscient POV. 

If you would like to study different points of view, here are some recommendations for you.

1st Person: Hunger GamesGoodreads list

Third Person Limited: Like almost every YA book out there. Goodreads list

Omniscient: A Tale of Two CitiesSome more thanks to Goodreads

Narrative: The Book Thief. Goodreads has awesome lists

Second Person: Who would do that? I'll have to read one. Goodread's list