Thursday, July 29, 2010


Hmmm. These look sooo good, so settle in with a few (no calories, I checked) and enjoy the chance to learn about POV from.... well my POV!

P.O.V. Point of view. It is the head of whoever you are in while reading (or writing). POV needs to be consistent without a jump from one head to another while in one scene. Otherwise referred to as head hopping. A change of POV needs to be defined by a series of *** or ### or just a couple enter jabs on the keyboard. Whatever way, it needs to stay consistent the entire book through.

I really like POV. I didn't used to. It would bother me as I was reading and I would enter another scene where the opposite character would see the other person (upon whose head I was just in) completely different they were just protrayed to me.

Until I started writing my own work. Now I love POV and let me tell you why.

POV gives you the chance to show the reader (notice I said show here not tell) what the other person is really like. When you are in the head of one character you are going to get their personal bias and opinions. Unless you are a self incriminating person, you are not readily going to see some of your faults or what some people are going to consider faults.

But when you enter the head of the character opposite the other character, you get an entirely different view point. You see the other character's bias, and in that opportunity you as the author have the chance to show the reader your hero or heroine's main problems that they need to work out. Let me give you an example.

Mabelle crossed her arms and quirked a brow. The gum between her teeth snapped and popped and she chomped down hard on the defenseless minty rubber. "What do you care anyway? It's my problem." She showed Brad her back and marched away. He just had to poke his nose in her life. Make her feel inferior and good for nothing. She didn't need his help.
Brad groaned and ran a hand through his hair. Why did she always have to do that? Walk away when he was only trying to help. To show her that he truly cared for her. There was no way she could move all of her office supplies, filing cabinet and computer junk all the way across the building on ten inch heels. Brad slapped his hand against his thigh. So be it. If she wanted to be stubborn... well two could play at this game too.

Do you see the difference? In Mabelle's scene you see her opinion of Brad. Nosy, obtrusive, busybody. She wants nothing to do with him. But flip the other side of the coin and you see that Brad really does care. He wants to help and can't understand why she just won't let him. He finds her stubborn and uncaring.

For every coin there are two sides. And for every story there (unless you are writing first person) will be at least two points of view. You as the author have an amazing tool in POV if you just use it correctly.

You can:
~Have a character view another's actions and be completely wrong, which plays into tension later.
~Show a character's true actions for what they really are.
~View the same scene, but with a completely different take away value.
~Play with emotions that another character will not see.
~Pit actions, views, or emotions against characters.

There are so many fun (and challenging) things you can do with POV. And one of my favorite things about POV is used in the example above. You can take each character's actions and pit them against each other. Because no two people are going to see the same scene in the exact same way. Just like a fingerprint, it will always be different.

POV does not have to be just about two different characters working for or against each other. When in a certain POV, you are going to see that world in an intimate way through that character's eyes. Depending on your character's mood, you are going to see the world in that manner. If your character's mood is dark and brooding, no matter the scene, be it bright and sunny, the POV character is only going to see the worst. And the exact opposite is true too for the other way around.

When you write a scene, you need to consider the character and their mood at the moment. Think about when you are depressed or when you are happy. No matter what, nothing is going to get you down. If you are peace, secure in your world and the Father's love for you, you are not going to necessarily notice the wicked and dark. (depending on what you are writing here)

There are many fun things you can do with POV. The options are endless and given the deft hand and skilled writer that I am sure you are, you can expand on this and use your imagination to push your character's POV deeper and wider until you have tapped into an amazing reserve of knowledge about your character's emotions. And that is really what it is really what it is all about. Getting to know your character until you understand their actions on an intimate level.

So, do you have anything to add about POV? I am still learning too, we will never stop, so be sure and share!


Julia M. Reffner said...

Hmmm...interesting...I prefer writing from one POV so far. I think maybe because I am so new to the craft. But I would like to experiment so maybe I will add a scene just for fun even if it doesn't go in my manuscript.

Casey said...

I wrote in several POVs in my first story and do like the variation, but my second story was first person, so only one POV. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep her interesting to warrant one POV, but I personally think it worked. One author that does one POV *very* well while in third person is Susan May Warren in her PJ Sugar series. A must read series! Those were excellent and I never once felt like the book needed to go to another POV. She did an excellent job just inside PJ's head.

Thanks for stopping by Julia!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Great post, Casey! I tend to not enjoy first person POV, because I LOVE to get into the hero's know his thoughts and feelings regarding the heroine. So I write third person. I did include the villain's POV in my book, but the chapter was only 1-2 pages. Just enough to get into her head and see her motivation.

Casey said...

Her? For a villian? Ohh, I want to read it! You don't often come across female villians, doesn't that seem like a sterotype? I do like getting into their POV though. :) Glad you liked the post, thanks!

Terry Odell said...

I just did a chat on POV at Savvy Writers last night! I like writing 3rd person deep POV, which is almost the same as 1st person -- and I have 2 POV characters in most of my books. I switch at scene or chapter breaks, but there are no real "rules" about it. The crux of the matter is smooth transitions. And I always start a new scene with a clear shift -- use the new character's name in the opening sentence, if possible, with an action or thought that shows we have to be in his head.

I believe Allison Brennan's first book had something like 17 POV characters--and she's doing very well!

Casey said...

I do agree Terry, smooth transitions make a world of difference when you are writing. It has to flow with an ease that does not jerk the reader out of the "dream", just gently nudges them in a different direction.

17 POV characters??? I think my head would be swimming with so many, but kudos to her if she made it work, that is great!

Allison Knight said...

A great post Casey,

When I first started to write, I didn't understand POV. I didn't get it and did a lot of head hopping. With a writing friend's advice I wrote a story in First Person. Bingo. That helped me. Now, I love POV, whether I'm writing a first person gothic, or a historical romance