Friday, April 10, 2015

Point of View explained

POV explained by Kristen Lamb

Editor Kristen Lamb said, “P.O.V. used properly can create entire worlds, and breathe life into characters. Used improperly, it can make your reader feel like she’s been bungee-corded to Satan’s Merry-Go-Round—not good. P.O.V. stands for Point of View. Although this literary device is one of the most vital tools an author possesses, it is probably the number one style problem I encounter as an editor.”

When an author is writing in one person’s POV that person can only comment on or experience what they know and see. Convention indicates that the POV stay with that person for an entire scene. This means that if a person is killed, or goes to sleep, or just leaves, that scene needs to end immediately.

Sometimes in a long scene there can be a line break and a POV change but its best avoided. It’s better if the main characters take turns at telling the story. It’s also best if the story is told only from a few different POVs so the reader doesn’t get confused.

Make sure whatever is happening in a scene is something that could be filtered through that character’s five senses. Unless this is a paranormal story and he has the power of mindreading, he does not know what the other people are thinking.

It’s no use complaining that Famous Author head hops, POV shifts and puts two lines in at random from the POV of her pet koala bear. Until you too, are famous, I suggest not irritating your readers by giving them a headache trying to work out who knows what in your book.

Kristen Lamb’s article is here:

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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