What’s in a POV

I have written an entire novel in the wrong point of view. When I finally realized–many drafts later, after I’d already done a complete rewrite–fixing it was not as bad as I’d feared. But changing the whole POV of a story…is not something I would do for fun.

And yet.

It’s no joke that the writing process is somehow different for each story. My gut tells me this story I’m writing now needs to be a tight third person POV (like we’re looking over the character’s shoulder), yet I’m still writing it in first person (like the character is the narrator). It seems like I am choosing hard mode–writing is already hard enough!–but I am actually doing this to make my job easier.

POV is a matter of intimacy. True omniscient narration (an extreme example of third person) is at one end of the spectrum, creating the greatest emotional distance between the narrator and, by extension, readers. First person is at the other end of the spectrum where you can sometimes sink into the character’s skin. Second person is just a special case that manages both at once and can be jarring and confrontational (my favorite example is Harrow the Ninth by Tamsin Muir).

One big difficulty with my stories that form from an idea or concept, as is very much the case with the current one, is that I tend to have a weaker understanding of my main characters. I’ve struggled to figure this one out with no appreciable progress and I’m not longer willing to let that get in my way. Sometimes I just need to write the story to figure things out.

So I’ll have my work cut out for me in a draft or two when I change the POV, but it’s more than worth it to be writing again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s