Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A to Z: Editing Fiction - Point of View

2017 THEME: Editing Fiction (Because that's what I'm in the middle of doing.)

What is the Blogging from A to Z challenge and where can I find more participants? Right here.

If I haven't returned your visit in the past couple days, its because I've been busy finishing up another round of edits on The Last God so I can get it out to my lovely critique partners to rip apart while I finish out this blog challenge. Thank you for your patience. I should be back to my regular rounds today.


POV is yet another thing to keep your eye on. There are several aspects to watch for.

If you have multiple point of view characters there are multiple ways to go about it. Most commonly, switching characters at a scene break or chapter. Romance likes to flit back and forth with little to no signaling. I prefer chapters, myself, but whatever you do, be consistent.

Don't get caught head hopping. One of my major pet peeves is happily reading along in (first or third) Mary's head and then suddenly having reader whiplash when we're thrown into Susan's head in the middle of a conversation because the author really wanted to share Susan's side too. Pick which character gets the most bang for the buck with the scene and stay in their head.

Depending on the whether you are in third, first, or omniscient, you will need to keep a close watch on what details should or shouldn't be included. Are we deep enough into the character? Are we sharing thoughts? Are the five senses used to fully immerse the reader? This is where telling and showing can make a big difference in the reader experience. Does the character know things we don't, or conversely, do we know things the character doesn't and is either thing what you intend?

Do you have a preference for stories with a single point of view or multiple?

18 comments:

  1. Naturally. a memoir has to be written in first person. In the past, I'd often tried writing fiction, preferring the third person. But now I'm also trying a diary-based novel, which naturally also has to be written in first person. I'm starting to find first person easy now.

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    1. I write in both, but I find I get more attached to my first person characters than those I write in third.

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  2. Often the head-hopping I encounter is not full-blown, but more of a 'how did you know your own face is red' kind of thing (it can be heated, or warmed, or whatever, but you can't see the color of your own face unless you're standing in front of a mirror). Still, it throws me off when I'm reading.

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    1. That's a very good point. Those slips drive me batty too.

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  3. You know, I like stories with single narrators to a number of them, so long as there aren't more than 4 in the first couple chapters. Readers need continuity. I think it's a blast to rewrite scenes from a different characters perspective and see which one gets the biggest bang. You just never know.

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    1. Writing a scene through several characters as an exercise can be a lot of fun and a great way to stretch your understanding of those characters too.

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  4. I don’t mind reading stories written in single or multiple points of view so long as they are written well. I agree with you about consistency and not rushing a P.O.V shift. As I was reading I also thought about authors who write a whole novel in one character’s P.O.V, and then they are lucky enough to re-write the same novel from another character’s P.O.V from the same story. P.O.V has such amazing power!
    P for Princesses
    Shari

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    1. POV can be fun to play with. You learn a good deal about your characters that way.

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  5. I have yet to try to write from another's POV in first person other than short stories. I admire those who can do it well. As far as reading books from multiple POV's, changes at chapter breaks are best for me.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Post-Earthquake makeshift camps

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    1. Chapter breaks to make things clear for everyone. Those are my favorite too.

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  6. Hi Jean - I've never really considered this aspect - so it's interesting to read your post and the comments. Cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/p-is-for-pigs.html

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Hilary! Still loving all your animal posts. :)

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  7. I hate head-hopping too, but it seems to happen more and more often, even with excellent successful writers. I don't get it.

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    1. So I'm not the only one noticing that. I don't get it either and I'm not fond of it even in romance, which I do read a good deal.

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  8. I don't have any particular preference as long as the writing's good, but too much head hopping can get jarring. As for inner thoughts - I probably do too much of that. Should tone some things down and leave them more to the imagination!

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  9. I write first person, and my current project switches POV between the two main characters. It's very tricky to make the characters each sound unique, but I'm determined. Because I really hate it when a story is supposedly in multiple points of view, but all the narration sounds exactly the same. Different people will have different pet phrases, notice different things, have very different emotional reactions to the same stimuli.

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  10. I know what you mean, as a reader, I really don't like hopping between POVs in the middle of a scene. Plus, it's also really difficult to make sure your reader knows whose POV you're writing from when you bounce about too often.

    Depth of POV is an interesting one - we did a lot of removal of extraneous information from one of our books that might have been interesting, but interrupted the flow of the story and was not necessary, it went too deep into the POV and background reasoning of a character that could be shown rather than told.
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

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  11. I've learned, the hard way, to print a copy for my first edit. I then label the top of each chapter page as to who owns the POV. Makes it much easier for me to correct those little (and not so little) lapses in POV etiquette.

    DB McNicol | Oh, the places we will go! | Quartzsite & ???

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