Monday, April 13, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #321 -- Struggling with POV

Any advice for new or beginning writers who are struggling with POV?

Just the same advice I use for anyone doing anything complicated -- KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid or Keep It Short and Simple, if you're less annoying than I can be.)

The simplest, most basic point of view from which to write is the third person. The simplest form of that is third person omniscient because you don't have to worry about what you characters know and don't know since the narrator knows all.

The drawback to third person omniscient is that many readers today find it tedious and prefer to be in the characters' heads. And no, that apostrophe isn't in the wrong place. Characters. As in multiple characters. For that, you'll need to bounce around and use what's called the third person limited POV. That means you write from the third person (he, she, it said or did) but only about what the character whose head your currently knows. Unless your character can read minds, then he or she shouldn't know about something he or she hasn't seen, heard, read, or inferred.

That can be tricky. Especially when you jump from head to head.

To keep that simple and easier (note that I didn't say "easy"), I suggest the following:

1. Only uses one character for POV per scene.
2. Limit your POV to core/main characters the readers really want to know.
3. Re-read what you've written often to make sure you're not revealing stuff your characters shouldn't know. Make a list of what they know if it helps.

Happy writing!