Posts Tagged ‘point of view’

Solo vs. several points of view

The other day someone asked me how many characters in their story should have a point of view. Ever wrestle with this one? Most writers do.

We want our fascinating characters to lend their perspective to the narrative. We want to try out different voices. We want our novel to follow several interesting story lines. And show that we can do it.

These are the wrong reasons.

But there are some better reasons, discussed below. Read More…

The Heart of POV

A while back, I posted on point of view (POV), a primer on what it’s all about and the basic navigation principles for mucking about with it. Read it here, and come back to this post, so you’ll have some grounding if POV trips you up sometimes.

As I said in that post, POV is about which characters’  heads you will enter in order to tell the story and how closely identified the narrator is with the POV. Thus if you’re using “I” to identify the person who is thinking, then the narrator is very immediate and you’re using the first person POV. If using “he/she,” you have stepped back a tiny bit in emotional distance and you’re using third person POV. (This does not diminish the emotional impact you can have. It’s the difference, say, between hearing a tale whispered in your ear or told around a campfire.) To me, there is a slightly voyeuristic aspect to the first person POV (using “I.”) It’s almost like reading a diary.

Note: when the third person POV ranges across several characters, sometimes it’s called the limited omniscient POV, meaning, really, the third person POV spread around.

The best point of view

Do you want your book to feel like a diary? Do you need more than one POV?  I dunno. There is no better or best POV. Look carefully at your favorite books, and those most similar to yours. What do readers expect? What is traditional and comforting to your core audience? And once you know that, ask yourself, what suits your story best regardless of custom? Read More…

Point of View Basics

Writers sometimes get in a snarl over point of view (POV) issues. But never fear. It’s just another tool you get to use–and choose. One of the reasons that point of view seems hard is that as a reader  you may have been unconscious of viewpoints in novels. (That’s good. The author’s viewpoint choices didn’t draw attention to themselves.) POV can also seem daunting because how-to books list so many types of viewpoints and give them long names like Modified Objective Viewpoint and First Person Subjective.

Limited Omniscient Point of View

The most commonly used viewpoint is the limited omniscient. All this means is that you’ll enter more than one character’s thoughts, (using such phrases as “he doubted,” “she expected”) but you’ll limit the number of characters whose minds you enter. Read More…

Characters: Stereotype or Stellar?

I think we need a new definition of the stereotyped character. The old one: round vs. flat just isn’t working anymore. It’s not about shape, it’s about depth. I don’t care what their favorite book is, or even what they’re scared of (snakes vs. rats, for example.) We give characters quirky properties and call it good enough when it’s not.

I keep learning about characterization. Every time I think I’ve got it down, I realize I’m slipping into stereotypes. But below, please find my new (improved!) insight. It is not only an effective way to draw a memorable character, it is much easier than painting a labored picture of them. Read More…