Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - POV - Eileen Charbonneau

Once again, I'm looking at  Elements of the Novel by Eileen Charbonneau. This time she's talking about POV or to make this simple, who's telling the story. A point of view can make or break a story. I usually write in third person with two or more eyes to view the story's events. What Eileen points out here is that if a number of people view the same event they will all have different versions of the same happening.

So there's First person and that's told from the eyes of one character. Useful for mysteries and often seen in YA. The problem here means that the character can only relate what they see, hear, taste, smell, touch. If something happens off stage, someone must tell them what has happened.

Second person is you and often results in stiffness or a lecture. I've never read much in this POV. This is You being the addressee.

Third person finds most of the fiction. There can be one story teller, two, or multiple plus the teller looking down on the action. This is Omniscent and sees, hears and knows all. I've used all but the omniscent POV. I like seeing actions shown through several people's eyes. In romance, two is usually what's used but I've used three when there's something that needs to be shown that neither hero or heroine has seen. I've also used many characters telling part of the story. The problem here is sticking to the chosen character for the scene or the chapter and not being in one of the other character's head.

Now this brings us to head-hopping. I once read a story where in one paragraph there were 4 POVs including the dog. Perhaps a feat but left me shaking my head and feeling lost. So an easy thing to remember is to show a scene through one character's view and switch to another for the next. If one decides to switch in the middle of the scene, make sure there's a transition allowing the reader to shift gears.

How about you? How do you choose whose eyes a story is seen?

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