Thursday

POV--Point of View

When I was ready to write Stolen Future, the last book in my Stolen Series, I went back to read through the first two books to make sure the story would flow. I started reading the first book, Stolen Woman, and was appalled at myself. I was "head-hopping" all over the place! Didn't I know about that back when I wrote the first book?

He thought, then she thought, then he thought, then...
Apparently not. Head-hopping, in case you haven't heard the term, is when your point-of-view goes from one person to another, as in you're telling this person's thoughts and feelings, then another person's, and the poor reader is getting confused or feeling rather schizophrenic.

I checked the second book in my series. Sure enough, it was there, too, but not as much. I made sure the third book had it right, and then went back and fixed the first two books and made new editions of them. I feel rather embarrassed about all those people who bought my first edition copies!

So, to save you that kind of embarrassment, here's a lesson about Point-Of-View so you won't be head-hopping your way through your writing.


POV-Point-Of-View

When you write a scene, whose perspective is it coming from? I learned that, though in lighter fiction (like light romance novels) the writer can pop back and forth from one person's perspective to another, in general it is considered better quality to keep your scene from one person's perspective. If you change perspective, you need to put a break in your text to show that.

Now that I know this, it makes perfect sense. If you're reading, it's very hard to get sucked into a story when it keeps popping from this person's thinking to that person's, back to this person's. My one writer friend calls it "head-hopping."

To give an example, I'll pick on myself. Here's a scene from Stolen Woman where I kept hopping from Asha's perspective to Mark's. I'll highlight Asha's perspective in yellow and Mark's in blue.


      Having decided to make the best of the situation they had both been thrust into, Asha smiled brightly.  Besides, she was finally feeling the effects of jet-lag starting to wane, and the small burst of energy that filled her felt good.  Maybe he would take her on a tour of the city.  Or shopping.
      Once face-to-face, she stood looking up at him expectantly.  “Well, boss, where do we start?”
      Her smile was drawing his attention to her mouth.  She was not wearing any lipstick, but she did not need any.  Her lips were full and red.
      Mark’s brows furrowed.  This was not going to work.  He had not spent years preparing to return to India, only to get sidelined by a woman who would only be around for a few weeks.
      “Rules.”
      Asha’s face turned quizzical.  What had gotten him all peeved?  Was he still upset about being assigned as her overseer?
      “We’ll start with the rules.”
      Asha almost laughed, but his face told her he was serious.  No shopping?  No ride in a rickshaw to see the sights?  She might have known he would start with the boring stuff.  With an air of martyrdom, Asha tromped back toward the building, sat on a rickety chair on the porch, and sighed.  “Okay, let me have it.”
      Mark wanted to roll his eyes at the dramatics.  With an answering sigh of his own, Mark joined her on the porch.  “I didn’t ask for this responsibility, you know.”
      Bristling at the idea of being a “responsibility,” Asha’s retort was sharp.  “And I didn’t ask for a personal babysitter.”
      His mouth tipped to one side.  “You sure could have used one yesterday.”

You'll notice I jumped into Mark's brain and talked about what he was thinking and feeling, but then popped back over to Asha's. Not good. So I had to go back and change this scene. The dialogue and actions stayed the same, but the perspective (thoughts and feelings) needed to be from only one person, again, unless I put a space break so the reader's mind can make the jump.

POV Conclusion--each scene should be from one person's perspective, 
unless you put a break to show the change.


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