But is it the *right* POV?

While going through my "Russian Novel" aka the adult UF I wrote at the same time as ID and shelved, I've spent a lot of time dwelling on POV.  POV isn't usually an issue for me, nearly everything I write is in 1st person singular, (though ID and the Elfpunk MG are in 3rd.) 

In my Russian Novel, I not only used in 3rd person, but I have *4* POVs. 


I had 3 in ID, but for some reason 4 seems so much more.  Not to mention I'm finding it really hard to write from the POV of an adult male. 

When I drafted this story I wrote the scenes from the POV that came most naturally to me for that scene. 

While re-reading it I realized the the most natural POV isn't always the right POV, that a scene might be much stronger as told by someone else.
Often a scene was in a specific POV because there was some funny joke or "darling."


Well, not that scene, but the POV. 

Every scene needs to be written from the POV of the person with the most to lose in that specific scene.

Every time you go through a scene you have to think -- who has the most to lose?  Is this the most effective POV?  Can someone else tell it better?

Rewriting scenes (or chapters)  from alternate POVs, especially after the book is drafted and you're editing, sucks.  But it will make your story stronger. 

Be prepared to kill darlings. 

Also, when writing in multiple POVs think really hard as to *why* you use each person's POV.  MC/Hero/Antihero (or Villan) can work, but if you're bringing in other characters, why do you do it?  What does their POV add?  What is the point to being in their head?

Honestly, I think I have too many POVs for this story.  I have the MC and the Antihero (there's no hero), but no villain.  I think I used some of the POVs for ease of storytelling and because I really like their voice, not because it makes the story better. 

In brutal honestly, if I go forward with this project, I may go as far as to re-write the whole thing in 1st from the POV from the MC.

Which is a heck of a lot of work. 

But, we'll see. 

How do you handle POV?  Do you prefer 1st or 3rd?  Do you write from multiple POVs?


Beth Caudill said...

I prefer writing in 3rd person. And yes, I use multiple points of view...but only in one scene at a time.

My new Fae fantasy novel has had the first two chapters trashed twice because I'm not getting the PoV correct.

I'm hoping when I restart it the third time it will go better. Usually I know the point of view and things move along. But lately with my last two stories...I have spots where every word feels like it is being dragged and I only get 100 words written in 3 hours.

But I need those words on a page to move to the next section. I know I'll either be rewriting the PoV or will trash the scene totally but as a pantster I need to have it written down before moving on.

Kelly McCrady said...

Yes, it is easy to be lazy about POV--we all want to be omniscient and hear what everyone is thinking at the same time, but as you said, effective POV is involving the reader in the most emotionally wrenching journey--let us in on who has the most to lose.

With the aid of physiological clues, body language, vocal tone, facial expressions, we can get as clear a picture of everyone else in the scene as we get with our friends and loved ones whom we know well--as long as the information is filtered through the POV character.

Sometimes you have to try a scene in both people's POV and choose the stronger one afterward.

Great post!

Heather Anastasiu said...

Great post. I had POV wars with my first two shelved novels, ended up re-writing half of one from third person to first person. Since then I've just decided to stick with first person. I like the intimacy and the limited knowledge of first person for my MC, the reader figuring things out just as she does.

Shawn said...

I had a story rejected and one reason was there were too many pov's. I had 5. The editor wanted me to cut it down to 3. The hero, heroine, and villian. The other two had great voices but they had to be cut. Not from the story, just their pov's.

Kinley Baker said...

I write multiple third person POV and I think this is a great post! I just recently deleted a POV because my Editor requested the change and I couldn't believe how much more I liked the secondary character without her POV. Less is really more for secondary characters. I think POV should focus on main characters. Great idea to write scenes from several viewpoints. I ended up doing that a lot. But if I would have done that from the start, I would have saved time.

suzanne said...

@Beth Good luck! I love Fae stories.

@Kelly you're right, as much as it sucks to write the same time twice, sometimes that's what you have to do and see which one is stronger

@Heather and that is why I like 1st best, though sometimes it just doesn't work for some stories unless you do multiple 1sts, which is a whole different bag of pixies...

@Shawn It hurts, and I feel you on it, but yep, sometimes you have to kill the darlings to make your story better. Good luck!

@Kinley You're right. Saving the POV for the main characters can add more intensity to the story. I wish I would have done that sooner, too. :)

mulligangirl said...

Great advice, Suzi! I can't remember where I heard it, but someone once suggested writing the first chapter in 3 different POVs to see which makes it strongest. I've tried it a few times and it is enlightening. Good post!