Have You Chosen Your POV?

You definitely need to know what point of view you will be writing your novel in before you begin.  The most common point of view is Third Person. That is the one I have chosen although I have veered from it a time or two.

Book images glassesWhat is point of view? It’s the way the author allows you to “see” and “hear” what’s going on. Veteran editor Dave Lambert says, “No decision you make will impact the shape and texture of your story more than choice of Point of View.”

There are three points of view:

  1. First Person –  When a character in your story narrates the story with I-me-my-mine in his or her speech.  Harper Lee’s novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is told using this POV.  We see everything through Scout’s eyes.
  2. Second Person – You rarely see books written in this POV. The author uses you and your to draw the reader into the story making them a part of the action.  This POV is considered to be a daring choice and only recommended in certain situations.
  3. Third Person – Is the view of an outsider looking in. There is third-person omniscient, in which the thoughts of every character are open to the reader, or third-person limited, in which readers enter only one character’s mind. The difference between third-person limited and first-person, is in third person limited the voice you hear is the author’s not the character’s.

The secret to making your POV work is limiting it to one perspective per scene, chapter or book.  When you start jumping around from one POV character to another in the same scene/sentence/paragraph you have committed a cardinal sin. Agents call it head bopping (being in the head of more than one character at a time).  I’m familiar with this one because it’s one of the most prevalent problem’s in aspiring authors. I have gotten dinged for this.  The literary agent will kick it back.

If you are writing in Third Person and Lauren is your POV character, you can’t write “Lauren said she would meet Janie at the mall but Janie didn’t believe her” because you only know what your POV character (Lauren) knows. You don’t know what Janie thinks but you may have an idea.  You can say, “Lauren said she would meet Janie at the mall, but she could tell from her friend’s response that she didn’t believe her.”

Hope this helped somebody.  There is a lot more information on POV on the internet. This was a hard one for me to grasp.

I would love to read your comment on this post or any of my others.  The purpose of this blog is to build my platform but also to help you avoid the mistakes that I made.

-Jan R

Have You Chosen Your POV?

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