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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Is Point of View Difficult For You?

When I first started writing, point of view (pov) was pounded into me, but I still didn't get it.  Even though pov was explained to me, and I understood I still wanted to head hop all over the place.  Once in a while, I still do pov change in the middle of a scene or a paragraph.

Here's my theory of why so many have trouble with pov:  When you have two or three characters together in a scene you want to go into their heads immediately to tell the reader what they are thinking.  We want to tell our reader everything; we want them to understand how each character feels at that exact moment.

Once I learned about action/reaction I knew the best way to handle point of view is to show each individuals reactions to what is being said but just stay in one person's head at a time.  This way the reader has one pov but knows by the actions/reactions of the other people in the scene what they are thinking. 

Did you have trouble with point of view, and if so what helped you keep from head hopping?

Have a great weekend.

Sandra K. Marshall, author of The Odyssey Mysteries
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Paris said...

The urge to peek into everyone's head during a scene is so hard to resist, lol! I may use a transistion to split a scene into two points of view or switch POV's when I change a scene but my stories usually have both the hero and heroine's POV.

Cara Marsi said...

I had never heard of POV when I started writing. The books I read back in the day head hopped like crazy so I thought that's what you were supposed to do. Like you, POV was pounded into me. I always have hero and heroine POV in my novels and novellas. In a few of my books I've also gotten into the villain's POV. I always have a scene break before I go into another POV. Some writers, like Nora Roberts, can head hop seamlessly, but most of us can't. If I didn't write I still wouldn't pay any attention to whether an author head hops. I wonder how much readers pay attention to this or even realize when a writer is head hopping.

Sandy said...

Paris, I have both the hero and heroine's POV, too, but in different scenes.

Sandy said...

Cara, some readers don't mind head hopping but others will stop reading if it happens too much.

I, also, go into the villains POV, but in a different scene.

Tina Donahue said...

In my early books I head-hopped all the time. I did that because I saw it done quite a bit even in bestselling novels (romances and other genres). I honestly thought that was the way it was supposed to work.

I like the way you explained how a character's reaction to what is being said/done will get the point across just as easily. :)

Adele Dubois said...

Beginning writers usually head hop and have trouble grasping the POV concept. It took a couple of revisions on my first novel to break the habit.

These days I separate points of view by scene, scene break, or chapter to make perspective clear.


jean hart stewart said...

I still have trouble with POV. Have to watch myself carefully and my editor still jerks me up sometimes.

Janice Seagraves said...

When I first started writing, I head hopped like a mad woman. But my mentor Faith Bricknell-Brown told me "One scene one POV."

That was a good rule of thumb for writing and it taught me to stop head hopping.


Molly Daniels said...

I have to seriously reign in my head-hopping tendancies. My first draft I just write; then I go back with the Head Hopping Editor Mode.

It doesn't bother me; I have no problem keeping everyone straight. I blame my love of early Danielle Steele and Judith Michael books:) I thought that was how books were supposed to be written:)

Sandy said...

Thank you, Tina.

I do the scene break, too, Adele.

Jean, I think everyone has to watch POV. After all when you see it in the books you read it's easy to slip back into the habit.

Janice, I agree with your mentor.

Molly, I bet your readers appreciate you going back into editor mode. Smile.

Marianne Stephens said...

POV - doing a scene break always helps, but sometimes you just have to do it sooner in the story...and in the same scene. When you do that, you have to be careful to let the readers know who is talking/thinking!

Sandy said...

Thanks, Marianne. I agree with you.

Katalina said...

When I first started writing, I was guilty of head hopping. I think practice and patient editors finally cured me.

Louise Behiel said...

POV was a learned skill for me, but now that's how I write. and if I get stuck it's usually because I'm in the wrong POV. oops. I hadn't thought of it in terms of action reaction - great idea, Sandy. thanks

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