Friday, June 1, 2012

Three Articles on Deep Point of View

by Jodie Renner, freelance editor

Here are three of my articles on effective viewpoint in fiction, which appeared recently on DP Lyle, MD's blog, The Writer's Forensics Blog:

POV 101: Get into Your Protagonist’s Head and Stay There (for most of your story)
I’ve been editing fiction for years, and the most difficult concept for many of my aspiring author clients who write in third-person point of view (the most common POV in novels) is to portray their story world through the viewpoint/eyes/head of one character at a time, rather than hovering above them or ping-ponging back and forth between different characters’ viewpoints (head-hopping).

Point of view (or POV) simply refers to the character through whose perspective the story events are told. Ideally, we should only see, hear, smell, feel, and experience events as that character would—with no additional information provided “from above” by the author. This closeness helps your readers get to know your viewpoint character intimately, which makes them start worrying about him – and that keeps them turning the pages!

For the rest of this article, click here.


POV 102: How to Avoid Head-Hopping
In POV 101, I discussed the effectiveness of starting out your story in your protagonist’s point of view and staying there for most of the story.

But what if you want to show how other people are feeling? If they’re important characters, like the villain, a romantic interest, or a close friend or family member, you give them their own POV scenes, where you get into their heads and we see their thoughts, emotions, goals, aspirations and fears.

If they’re in the same scene as your main character, you show their thoughts, feelings and attitude through their words, tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. Say you’re writing a romantic suspense or mystery, and you’re in the heroine’s point of view, showing her thoughts, perceptions and reactions. The hero, whom she’s just met under unfortunate circumstances, is angry. You’ll show his thoughts and reactions, not from inside him at that point (What the hell is going on here? he thought. What’s she trying to pull off, anyway?), but by what the heroine is seeing and perceiving—his tense posture, hunched shoulders, clenched fists, furrowed brows, set mouth, clipped tone of voice, angry words, etc.

For the rest of this article, click here.


POV 103: Deep Point of View or Close Third

As I discussed in POV 101, in order to draw the reader in and grab her emotionally, every story needs to have a clearly dominant viewpoint character. We should meet that viewpoint character right away, preferably in the first paragraph, and the first chapter should be entirely from her point of view, so the reader knows whose story it is and can start bonding with her and rooting for her. When we see the story through her eyes, reacting as she does to her problems, it sucks us into the story and we want to keep reading to find out what happens to her.

In POV 102, I gave some tips for avoiding “head-hopping.”If we stick mainly with our protagonist, in his head and heart, with a bare minimum or no stepping back to describe things from the author’s stance (omniscient POV), we’re using deep point of view, or close third, which is a lot like first-person point of view, with the added freedom of switching to the villain’s or some other character’s POV when it suits our purpose. Deep POV is a powerful way of drawing your readers into your story quickly and making them worry about your hero right away, and keep worrying – which is exactly what you want!

But how do you go about this? Let’s suppose you’re writing a story about a macho, hero-type guy named Kurt, who defeats the villain, restores justice, and even gets the girl. It’s Kurt’s story so he’s your main viewpoint character. How do you make sure your handling of his viewpoint is as powerful as it can possibly be?

For the rest of this article, click here.


Jodie Renner, a freelance fiction editor specializing in thrillers and other fast-paced fiction, has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: WRITING A KILLER THRILLER and STYLE THAT SIZZLES & PACING FOR POWER (Silver Medalist in the FAPA Book Awards, 2013). Both titles are available in e-book and paperback.  For more info, please visit Jodie’s author website or editor website, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.
 


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