Archive for March 12, 2017

From your point of view…

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on March 12, 2017 by Kate Jack

From what point of view do you write? Your own, as the narrator? Multiple characters? Or first person? Personally I find it quite hard to write first person, as it’s too restrictive for me and it’s quite difficult to indicate what any of the other characters are thinking. Yes, you can use facial expressions, body language and so on, but for me I run the risk of becoming repetitive. I also feel that my hands are tied and become bored and frustrated as a result.

These days the fashion seems to be to write from a single point of view, rather than several, as this is supposed to confuse the reader. To change POV, the writer is supposed to move onto another chapter, or scenario to avoid this confusion. I find that opinion a little patronising, as I’ve read several books written from multiple POVs, within one chapter or scenario, and if it’s done skilfully, I find it’s not a problem to follow what’s going on. An example of this is the brilliant fantasy writer, Sir Terry Pratchett. He changes POV constantly, especially with internal dialogue, and he does it so well, there is no problem knowing who is “speaking.” Having said that, a writer has to be extremely clever to achieve this.

So from what POV do I write? Well, for the sake of my sanity, I usually follow the current trend, a single POV, only changing it in the next chapter or scenario. Why? Because I don’t have the skill to not confuse the reader. At one time I was “head hopping” by the second, this resulted in laboured narrative and dialogue, plus comments that my writing was a “headache” and reading it was like “wading through treacle ” A plethora of adverbs 

Why did I finally settle on my style of writing? It was all down to my university lecturer, when I was doing my MA in creative writing. He explained it like this: Imagine that each character is wearing a camera on their shoulder. When you are writing from that character’s POV, only indicate what that camera,  or the character, can see or hear. This helped me immensely and stopped me from making my character’s get inside each other’s heads.

So, whatever POV you write from, make sure it’s clear to your readers who’s doing what and why, and the world will be your oyster 🙂

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