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Point of View

Make Point of View Work for You
(Originally published April/May 2009)

Make POV Work for You–Introduction

    In modern-day writing terminology, Point of View has come to mean not only what “person” the story is written (1st, 2nd, 3rd) but also which characters’ viewpoints the story is told through.

Make POV Work for You: Dispelling a Few POV Myths

    So let’s look at some common misperceptions about Point of View.

Make POV Work for You: POV Begins with Character

    No discussion of Point of View is complete without beginning with characters. Whether you’re an outliner, loose-plotter, or seat-of-the-pantster, knowing who the key viewpoint characters of your story are before writing it is very important.

Make POV Work for You: I’m Ready for My Closeup

    Whereas many other things in writing cannot be learned, only honed and polished (like voice or the storytelling ability), these are some tried-and-true techniques for making Point of View seem much more immediate, for putting the reader right into the character’s head and make them forget they’re reading a story.

Make POV Work for You: Avoiding Head-Hopping

    We know: head-hopping is bad, bad, bad, bad. No-no. Don’t do it. No writing the thoughts of any character but the viewpoint character. Yes, that’s the majority of head-hopping—from one character’s thoughts to another. The other part of head-hopping, the part that’s harder to grasp, is when we jump outside of our viewpoint character into either omniscient or no viewpoint whatsoever.

Make POV Work for You: The Unreliable Narrator

    The reality is that once you’re adept at writing in Deep POV, your characters become unreliable narrators—because you’ve put the reader so deeply inside each character’s thoughts that the reader is experiencing that the “truths” of the story depend greatly on each of your character’s own internal thought processes.

Make POV Work for You: Character Vocabulary

    One of the best things we can do to take Point of View deeper is to start recognizing that each character is going to have his or her own unique internal vocabulary. This has two sides to it.

Make POV Work for You: Show Don’t Tell (Part 1)

    Aside from making the prose pop and the story more immediate, using showing instead of telling language deepens POV and makes the characters pop off the page.

Make POV Work for You: More on Character Description

    My personal opinion is that by the middle of the book, the reader should have a pretty clear picture of both the hero’s and the heroine’s physical looks—hair color, eye color, approximate height (relative to each other, anyway) and body shape (plus-sized, slender, athletic, curvy, built like a linebacker for the San Francisco ’49ers, etc.), in addition to the hero’s and heroine’s first impressions of each other’s overall appearance.

Make POV Work for You: Show Don’t Tell (Part 2)

    Let’s return to our review of Showing vs. Telling and how it ties in with deep POV.

Make POV Work for You: Writing the Male POV

    One of the most important things to know about men is that they say what they mean and mean what they say. They don’t mince words, they don’t beat around the bush, they don’t drop hints and hope someone else will catch on and understand what they’re not saying.

Other Posts About Point of View

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