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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Writing Tip Wednesday--POV

What is POV? P = Point. O = Of. V = View. Point of View is the perspective from which a story is told. Different genres allow for different perspectives. Romance should be written from either first or third person POV. This encourages a deeper connection to the reader. Mystery often incorporates omniscient POV.

What do I mean by "first person," "third person," and "omniscient?"

First Person POV--When a writer tells the story from first person, he/she uses the "I" perspective. All scenes are shown through this main character's senses and thoughts. No other characters should intrude. I can't know what another person is thinking or feeling unless that person tells me. First person POV can be written in past or present tense.

Example: I flattened myself against the wall, peeking around the corner to locate my target. My pulse thumped in my ears, and my stomach roiled at the stench of rotting garbage.

Then he stepped out of the crowd gathered near the fountain. His eyes seemed to latch onto mine, sending my heart to my knees.

Third Person POV--When a writer uses the "he" and/or "she" perspective, multiple characters' POVs can be shown. While one character can tell the entire story from third person POV, you must use this approach if you want each main character to have an opportunity to show a scene from his/her point of view.

Example (Starting in her POV and then transitioning to his POV): Lyra flattened herself against the wall, peeking around the corner to locate her target. Her pulse thumped in her ears, and her stomach roiled at the stench of rotting garbage.

Then he stepped out of the crowd gathered near the fountain. His eyes seemed to latch onto hers, sending her heart to her knees.

A slow scan of the square yielded nothing, but Kem strode out of the throng, intent on finding his stalker. He'd yet to catch sight of the follower, the tingle between his shoulder blades the only hint that he was being watched. His instincts had never failed him.

Omniscient POV--When the reader is aware of all characters thoughts/feelings and information the characters may not know, the writer has used omniscient POV. The perspective comes from a non-participating observer, much like a movie. Omniscient point of view is acceptable in some genres, but it's a no-no in romance because it distances the reader from the story.

Example: Lyra flattened herself against the wall, peeking around the corner to locate her target. She could hear her pulse thump in her ears, and her stomach roiled at the stench of rotting garbage.

Then he stepped out of the crowd gathered near the fountain. His eyes seemed to latch onto hers, but he only suspected he was being followed. The tingle between his shoulders blades had never failed to warn him that he was being watched.

He continued to scan the square as he strode out of the throng.

Note the subtle differences between the examples. They all contain the same action, but each gives the reader a unique perspective.

Next week, I'll continue on this immense subject, posting about how to choose the right POV for your story and why one character should show a scene rather than another.

Happy Writing!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!

2 comments:

  1. I can't wait for next week! I've never put a ton of thought into why a character needs to take control of a scene other than just story balance. I usually just listen to the voices and do what feels right. :)

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    1. Ideally, the characters tell you! I tend to write that way :)

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