Point of View

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Had a blast at Dawn's! We talked so much and so fast, and still didn't get everything said! And y'all have to try Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc - YUMMY.

Only got 3 pages done yesterday, but will be doing timed writing here in a few minutes. I'm supposed to clean the kitchen today, according to my schedule. I may bump it till tomorrow.

The dh's bday is next week and Father's Day is this weekend and Mom and I are debating combining the two, or having them separately. I would be just as happy to meet everyone at Rudy's Barbecue and celebrate there. My MIL would hate it, but does she offer to have his bday party? Uh, no.

Okay, so point of view - when I started writing, I was not a point of view purist. Then I came to see the benefit of being one - you keep the reader in suspense of the other person's thoughts, you only see what the POV character is seeing. But apparently lately my POV transitions aren't apparent. My cps pointed it out in Breaking Daylight, and I noticed it when I was going over my Ghost Hunter scene yesterday. Plus, now that I'm doing online critique, I have a few beginning writers that I need to explain this to.

So what's a good way to transition from one POV to another, without the reader having to go back and say, "Whose head are we in again?"

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dawn said...

obviously, today's kitty wants some of that sauvignon blanc, too!

it was a blast. i love that we can jump around and keep up with each other.

Terry McLaughlin said...

Mary--are you talking about a point of view switch in the middle of a scene?

MJFredrick said...

Dawn, I'm still grinning about it!

Terry, good to see you here! Yup, that's what I'm talking about.

Kelly Boyce said...

Mmm...sounds like a good wine. I'll look for that one.

As for POV switches, if its in the middle of a scene I usually just do a double line break to separate the switch.

KATZ said...

Good question -- POV is becoming an issue in my current ms.

I usually switch pov once in a scene. I just like getting the critical bits from both angles up front -- seems like otherwise I feel the need to go back and "recap" the scene from the other person's POV in the NEXT scene, which gets tedious.

In my current ms, I'm switching more than once per scene (yikes) -- quick dialogue with some injected thoughts from each character. I try to be aware of when I do it, though, and make sure they stay in one POV for several paragraphs at least...
Waiting for my CP's to ding me on it, but they haven't yet. :)

And I don't leave any lines or spaces, but try to have that first "switching" sentence be definitively in the new POV. Like switching to Zach's POV, I might say "Zach couldn't believe what he was seeing." You know?

One contest judge told me to have a sentence or 2 in "no one's" pov between the switch, but that didn't make any sense to me at all.

Sorry for the long post! lol

Trish Milburn said...

Now that I think about it, and I believe most of my POV changes occur between scenes, which I separate with two number signs (# #).

Hey, is Rudy's where we went for BBQ when I was there? If so, that was yummy.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Personally, as a reader, a line break signifies a time change, and I get really annoyed that it's just a POV switch. Like the author thinks I'm stupid and can't follow. No offense to Kelly, because it's obviously an accepted technique and frequently used. :)

But I prefer Sarah's way. I think when it gets confusing is when it's done like the contest judge said--with sentences that are in no one's POV.

Anonymous said...

SEP uses different POV in a scene. And Nora's notorious for it. :-)
But both authors do it so flawlessly, I'm never confused. In SEP it seems like the scene is owned by a main character but the other POVs slip in as needed for reaction or emotional intensity. When the other POV is there, there's no confusion. As the reader you KNOW who's speaking or thinking.
I don't know if that helped or not. I'm definitely not a POV purist, but I do hate it if I don't know whose head I'm in.

MJFredrick said...

I only use double breaks for time or place change. I make a point of staying in the new POV for a time, but I noticed in Ghost Hunters, some of them are less than a page, which bugs me.

Sarah, I've used the "Zach couldn't believe what he was seeing" but that's not always so easy. The "no one's POV" makes me shake my head.

Trish, yes, Rudy's was where we went when you were here!


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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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