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Thursday, 27 March 2008

It's Just A Point Of View

Equinoxe

Over the last few months I've been pondering over points of view. There have been a few discussions about this on various blogs too. This is probably quite a complex and possibly subjective topic but one phrase I keep hearing goes along the lines of:

"I was confused by the change in POV..."

This usually happens with a change of scene. For example, moving from an indoor scene to something that is happening at about the same time outside the house.

It's clear to me that you must change POV if you change to a new scene where the character with the current POV is not present. So, how do you effectively achieve a scene change and POV change without confusing the reader?

5 comments:

Fiona said...

I suppose that a drawback of the protagonist having a first person point of view is that they cannot be everywhere all the time so you have to have someone telling them something that happened in their absence. If you have more than one protagonist, I guess that's not a problem.

With a third person point of view you wouldn't have that problem at all would you?

Am I making any sense? It has gone 9pm - past my bed time.

motherx said...

Now I feel REALLY stupid!!!

Annieye said...

In my appraisal, Lynne Patrick advises on viewpoint. I'll e-mail you a copy Kev. I also read somewhere that you should keep viewpoints to a minimum in a single chapter as to keep changing viewpoint in a short piece is confusing for the reader.

Debs said...

I have to concentrate on not head hopping (not sure if that's the correct name for it) and try to keep viewpoints to a minimum too.

I was told that a viewpoint should be from the same character at the end of a chapter as at the beginning but having read various novels I note that this isn' always the case.

So much to think about.

Lane said...

Oooh I was going to use this subject for the Novel racers coffee morning as I'm up next for a couple of turns.

I think if you use an omnipresent narrator you don't have this problem because although you may focus on different characters the voice is always the narrator's. Apparently though, this is considered an old fashioned method and first person as well as multiple POVs are much more popular now.

I've been experimenting with every possible combination in my WIP and getting my knickers in a twist in the process. I originally wrote it in the 3rd person past. Since then I've tried to change it to the first person but it means losing vast amounts of story that she couldn't possibly know about. I've also tried changing tense, adding to the confusion. Result, I've gone back to the original 3rd/past which can encompass everything. Still may change though.
Good subject Kev and Annie, I'd be interested to hear what Lynne Patrick said too.