Continuing with a week of writing about, well, writing this week. Yesterday, I ranted about $10 words and purple prose. Today, it’s point of view: Who’s speaking all that non-purple prose we’re writing?
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Okay. I have to ‘fess up here. I’m a bit of a POV Nazi. I love POV shifts by chapter or by scene break, but if you shift POVs on me within a scene or — God forbid and call in the Marines — within a freakin’ paragraph, I will close your book and never pick it up again.
Drives. Me. Nuts.
I took an online workshop a year or so ago, and began shuddering as soon as the second lesson was posted. The instructor–a published author–said that in romance it’s important to shift back and forth between the hero and heroine’s POV within each scene so that the reader knows what both are thinking.
I know what I was thinking. I was thinking I wouldn’t be taking any more workshops from that particular person and had to refrain from challenging her to a public POV duel in the streets of Cyberville.
I started writing in first-person, and find it’s still the easiest way to get into a deep POV and stay there. But it has a lot of narrative limitations to work around. My current WIP is in third, with POV shifting among five characters. Admittedly, it’s a bit like a juggling act but so far it’s working, and the POV shifts occur either with chapter breaks or scene breaks and only when the story demands it.
And sometimes, to make sure my POV is as deep as I can make it, I’ll write a scene in first person through that character’s eyes and then shift it to third person. It’s a good way to make sure your character’s distinctive voice is coming through.
So, talk to me about POV. Does shifting point of view within a scene bother you? Have you found anyone who could pull it off well? Am I off base here–go ahead, you can say it. POV challenges you’ve faced?