The Consulting Writer

aka The Frazzled Mom

Writer’s Series: Pitfall #1 – POV


I’ve posted this on the Goodreads group, but feel it’s important enough to include in the Writer’s Series. Personally, I have been guilty of many of the same “pitfalls” as other writers. I think it’s part of growing and improving as a writer, but it is nonetheless a hard lesson, especially after publishing one’s first novel.

Point of View

Point of view allows the reader to understand the scene, what a particular character is thinking and feeling. It can refer to the narrative mode.

First person: the narrator is also the main character within the story. The obvious advantage is a direct link to what the character is experiencing. However, it limits what we as the reader can see from other characters. We must rely on the what our character “sees”.  Use of “I”, “me”, “my”, etc.

Second person: gives the reader the feeling of being part of the story, but referring to the main character as “you”. The only time I’ve read this was in the choose your own adventure books. Use of “you”.

Third person (omniscient): this is the most flexible of narratives, allowing for an unidentified entity to view all characters. This view point can use a subjective (feelings/thoughts) versus objective (not revealing the feelings/thoughts). Use of “he”, “she”, “it”, etc.

Alternating view: As the term suggests, the view can change from omniscient to specific characters.

New Writers: If you decide to right in third person, be sure to continue with that same point of view until a section break or chapter change. To do otherwise would risk confusing the reader. The problem I have run into is the switching of point of views (POVs). I’ve personally been guilty of this problem. When I had first started writing, my chapters were filled with POV switching between characters. I would reveal the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters within one scene. Though it made sense to me at the time, it only occurred to me after reviews from readers how confusing it read.

So what is the solution?
-Practice writing, focusing on a particular POV for each writing session.
-Work on show versus tell when describing the characters in a particular scene (will be discussed in detail in the next post).
-Rewrite the chapters as needed.

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