Point Of View

What Is Point Of View Writing?

POV Ahhhhh! It can drive you crazy, whether you’re a new writer or a seasoned one. It is perhaps one of the most elusive elements on our quest for becoming a writer. Here are some point of view basics. Hope they help!

The viewpoint character is the person in the story who has the most to gain or lose. Who will the outcome of the story affect most? First let’s cover the different viewpoints and how they are executed. There are three basic ones that a romance novelist might use: First person; third person/singular viewpoint; or third person/multiple viewpoint.

Close shot of a human hand writing something on the paper on the foreground

You will rarely see first person in romance, occasionally it is used in Young Adult. Many editors and readers dislike this technique, therefore a novel written in first person can be hard to sell. Here is an example of first person viewpoint: (in Kee Kee’s head)

I knew the moment I opened the rusty iron door that everything was different. Sebastion was inside. He apparently sensed my entry and turned to look at me.

learn POV

Although you will probably not use first person in your writing , it is an invaluable tool for helping you learn POV. For example, if you want to write in Kee Kee’s head but aren’t sure you have accomplished this, try to read the story substituting I for She, my for her, etc. If it makes sense, you are probably okay on POV. If it is gibberish, it needs work.

Woman working at home office hand on keyboard close up

Third person/Single viewpoint is the viewpoint that a lot of romance novels use. This is HER story. Example:

Kee Kee knew the moment she opened the rusty door that everything had changed. Rick was inside. He apparently sensed her entry and turned to look at her.

Tips To Remember

Now, if you jump into Sebastion head you are in HIS pov and it is no longer single viewpoint. Ex:

WRONG: Sebastion felt the need to put some space between them. He wanted to be alone to think about this strange turn of events.

BETTER: Kee Kee watched Sebastion edge toward the back of the room. It was apparent that he wanted to put some space between them. He probably wanted to be alone to think about the strange twist of events.

She can GUESS what Sebastion is thinking but she doesn’t really know for certain.

Lastly, third person/multiple viewpoints is the use of both the heroine and hero’s viewpoint. The current trend in romance seems to be leading toward technique. It is probably best when using this technique to not “head–hop”. In other words, for scene one stay ONLY in Kee Kee’s head. Then switch to Sebastion’s POV and stay only in his head for the next scene. I have also seen it broken down into chapters. Chapter one: Kee Kee’s POV. Chapter two: Sebastion’s POV. However, as long as you are consistent, this should not matter.

Brief example:

(Sebastion’s POV)

Sebastion studied her face. She was putting him in an awkward situation again. He was attracted to her but he couldn’t let her keep tearing him apart this way. He needed to get away.

(Kee Kee’s POV)

Kee Kee watched him moving toward the door. “You’re leaving?” He didn’t anwer her and she knew from the look on his face that he needed some space.

POV does not have to do with dialogue. Just as when you are having a conversation…you understand and hear what the other person is saying but you aren’t in their HEAD. You don’t know their innermost thoughts.

Ex:

(Sebastion’s POV)

Sebastion edged toward the door. He had to get away.

“You’re leaving?” Kee Kee looked furious.

He needed some space. Wasn’t ready for another argument with her. “Yeah…I’ll catch you later.”

(Kee Kee’s POV)

Kee Kee watch Sebastion edge toward the door. He was running away again. The rat! “You’re leaving?”

“Yeah…I’ll catch you later.”

Same scene. Two different viewpoints of it.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1) Can you rewrite the scene in first person and it makes sense?

2) Who has the most to lose/gain in this scene? Are you in their POV?

3) Did you head–hop from one paragraph/sentence to the next? Were you in Kee Kee’s head in sentence one and then in Sebastion’s thoughts in sentence two?

4) Exercise: Read novels in your genre. Study how the writer handles POV switches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *