It’s Behind You – Getting to Grips with Point of View

This is not a blog post about choosing a point of view to tell your story. It is a blog post about how to stay true to the point of view you have chosen. The POV I use in my first novel, Fury, is close, third person. So everything has to be from the view point of my main character, Slav, even though I’m doing the narrating for him.

Here are a couple of POV corkers I made in early drafts.

Mistake Number 1 – Eyes in the back of your character’s head

It’s so easy to do, placing the action behind your POV character, and then describing it as though they were looking straight at the scene. But unless your character is a giant space alien with a thousand eyeballs swivelling in all directions, it’s something to be gleaned out of your manuscript.

“Be still, child, now’s not the time to bring attention on yourself,” Oksana warned. She glanced back to the clearing towards the soldiers. “It’s all right.” Oksana had her hand on his shoulder before he could chase further into the trees.

How does he know Oksana glanced back to the clearing, if she’s behind him? So I changed it.

“Be still, child, now’s not the time to bring attention on yourself,” Oksana had her hand on his shoulder before he could chase further into the trees. She glanced back to the clearing towards the soldiers.

It’s not perfect, but at least now the action of her turning around to look back will register with him, as she is in contact with his shoulder. So I think I can get away with it.

Mistake Number 2 – Telepathic abilities

Narrating from the point of view of a non-POV character is another mistake which is just so easy to trip up on. In the extract below, Slav should be the POV character.

Seeing its mistress fall, the bear lunged towards Slav. Water cascaded from its fur as it reared up on hind legs and bellowed into the night. It towered above him, the moon throwing its shadow across the waters.

How does Slav know the bear has seen its mistress fall? Again, unless Slav was a character with the ability to read the minds of animals, this needs fixing. I decided to be ruthless and cut out the offending line.

The bear lunged towards Slav. Water cascaded from its fur as it reared up on hind legs and bellowed into the night. It towered above him, the moon throwing its shadow across the waters.

Don’t worry, Slav doesn’t become a cropper. Not just yet anyhow.

Below is a link I found useful, with further examples:

Staying in the POV Character’s Perspective

See what you think.

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3 thoughts on “It’s Behind You – Getting to Grips with Point of View

  1. Keeping focus on your protagonist’s pov can be so tricky!
    Thanks for the post.

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