Thursday, July 29, 2010

More on Point of View

OK - first things first. The New Kitchen! If you want to see a bunch more pictures, including some "Before" shots, click here.

I thought I'd continue with my POV notes as I get ready for tonight's Savvy Writers chat. Yesterday, I gave a brief "definition" of the basic point of view options. Today, a little more detail about each one. And again, any suggestions are appreciated.


Pros: Reader can see what's going on from inside several characters

Cons: Distancing. Reader starts to get involved with one character, then another takes center stage.

Not currently popular with editors.
Often reads like head-hopping as the author moves from one head to another.


"If only she'd known what waited behind the door, she'd never have opened it."

"A melody she didn't recognize as Mozart came from the room."

"Outside, unbeknownst to him, the enemy was gathering its forces for an attack."

Your POV character doesn't know this. Someone outside the story is telling the reader.

1st Person.

The reader is in only one character's head, and can see only what that character sees. Most common for 1st person books to be written in a single POV.

Reader can identify closely with that character.

Closest to 'real life'. We live in 1st person POV.

When something happens off the page, the reader doesn't know it if the POV character doesn't know it. A challenge to show what other characters are seeing and thinking.

Overuse of "I" gets monotonous for the reader.

3rd Person

Single POV – only one character's POV is used for the story

Multiple POV – several POV characters, still in 3rd person.

Restricts the author to showing only what one character sees, hears and feels, but can be as close as 1st person.

Thanks for everyone's comments yesterday. Tomorrow is Friday (already?) so we'll be taking another field trip. I think we're going to explore the Hornbek Homestead. And if you're looking for a quick read or two, please check out my Smashwords site.


Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Love this breakdown. Very practical.
I prefer 3rd person or 1st person.
Your Giveaways are things I like to think while I read rather than being told about them. Maybe it's the ADD but Omniscient overwhelms me.
I'm sure the Symposium will be a great success.

Terry Odell said...

Mary, thanks - this makes me feel better about being the Person In Charge tonight.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

This is very helpful, Terry. Thanks. Oh and LOVE the new kitchen.


Terry Odell said...

JW - I love the kitchen too! It's a lot smaller than the one in our old house, but it's working just fine for the 2 of us. I'm just afraid I'll get everything put away and then find 4 more boxes in the basement that need to be in there too.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Terry - thanks for the additional insight into POV. And the kitchen looks great!

Terry Odell said...

Linda - my pleasure, and thank you.

Author Guy said...

I think I invented one, at least I don't see it on your list. It's like your multiple 3rd person, except that all description is done as that person sees it, using terms that that person knows. I've had it described as 'third person that reads like first person.'

Marc Vun Kannon

Terry Odell said...

Marc- it sounds as if you're referring to "Deep POV" which indeed reads like 1st person. The giveaway -- substitute "I" for "he" or the character's name. Does it read virtually the same?

That's my preference when I write. And you can do deep POV from each character's head, so you're not restricted to one the way you are in 1st person.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great breakdown!

I prefer reading and writing in 3rd. There are a few really great books I've read in 1st, but I think it's hard to pull off well.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Your kitchen looks wonderful -- but your wine rack is empty. Maybe you should take a wine tasting tour on the western slope this fall.

POV, one of our favorite writerly topics. I like reading everything except omniscient, but especially love thrillers in Author Guy's multiple 3rd person limited POV. That way, I get to keep track of what the bad guys are up to. :)

When writing, it seems like certain stories work better in first person and others in 3rd. Sometimes we have to play around with rewrites to figure out what's best.

Terry Stonecrop said...

I like the way you broke it down too. Nice little bits.

Love the new kitchen, especially your stove in its island.

Terry Odell said...

Jemi, I prefer 3rd, but can "handle" 1st, especially in mystery where the detective is the protagonist. What bugs me (and is kind of POV related) is present tense. With very few exceptions, I just can't wrap my head around that.

Pataricia - thanks for chiming in--yes, it's a drag to have to make a special stop at the liquor store (unlike Florida where you can buy beer and wine in the grocery store). But if you look closely, there IS wine there--the boxed variety, which is actually not half-bad.

Terry Odell said...

TerryS - Chats only let you post a couple of lines at a time, so I'm glad my notes are in 'little bits.'

Love the new stove -- have wanted to cook with gas for the last 30+ years.

Catch Them If I Can ... said...

I find talking out loud, to 'myself' -- preferably when home alone (so they don't lock me up!) -- helps as you can hear the dialog flow and switch the POV's in a more natural environment!! But that is just how I work!!

Great job!!

Jacqui Jacoby

Terry Odell said...

Jax - I mumble--hate to hear my own voice, but hearing is important, as I've discovered too late. Some just plain clunky sentences have slipped by, which reading aloud would have caught.

Liana Laverentz said...

What a gorgeous kitchen! Love the open floor plan.

Terry Odell said...

Liana - it's a new concept for me. Normally, I prefer people don't observe my cooking techniques! But we don't entertain much anymore, so I'm hoping it won't be a problem.

Glynis Peters said...

I love your kitchen. We have open plan living here in Cyprus, it is great as you do not get left out of the conversations while you cook.I miss my large fridge, I had to leave it in the UK. When we arrived here they hadn't arrived in the stores.:(

I wrote my first in 3rd person, my second will be the same and I am experimenting with 1st.
Author Blog: Glynis Smy

Terry Odell said...

Glynis - thanks so much. I write almost everything in deep 3rd, but I did have a short story that demanded 1st. Who was I to argue - the protagonist was a cop!