Monday, March 6, 2017

Why Switch Your Point-of-View?

Photo Credit

 In editing stories I wrote ages ago, I can’t help noticing how my writing style has changed. I’m worse than neurotic when it comes to editing, so it takes me longer that most to feel that process is complete.  Sometimes it happens that I have to adjust the point of view depending on the story. There's one particular novel that I wrote in third person omniscient because of the unorthodox way in which it is told.  

Some things had to be revealed from the perspective of adults and I wanted readers to have an up-close and personal experience, no matter which character was on stage. I think I eventually did a decent job of that in going for deep point of view.  The filters between reader and character/s were removed, which created a rich reading experience.  

An aside here—every time I edit a book written ages ago, I regret not learning the craft properly before I started writing novels. It would have saved me a lot of time and energy as it pertains to editing.  

By changing the set-up in the novel I mentioned, I was able to tidy things up nicely for publication.  That said, have you ever had to overhaul a novel and switch up the point of view? What’s your take on having different points-of-view—including that of an adult—in a YA novel? Which point of view do you prefer writing in?  

20 comments:

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've recently read a lot about making sure you're using the right POV in a scene. I'm not sure if I'm hitting that deep POV all the time. Never stop learning.

J.L. Campbell said...

I believe in that, Susan. As long as I'm writing, I keep studying the craft to make my writing better.

cleemckenzie said...

Since POV is such a powerful tool, I like to experiment with it. I often find new ideas when I do.

Sandee said...

I'm not an author, but I appreciate a well written book. Some just take my breath away. There is so many facets to writing well.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Bish Denham said...

Which POV I use all depends on the story. That said, I changed POV and/or tense on The Bowl and the Stone at three times, maybe four.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've not had to switch point of view yet, but it does make a big difference in the story.

J.L. Campbell said...

Yes, I like to experiment as well, Lee.

Thank you, Sandee. It does pay to learn the craft to be able to write well.

Bish, wow! I lift my hat to you. I can only imagine how challenging that was.

That it does, Alex.

Juneta Key said...

Great post. Good points to think about.

Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Pat Hatt said...

The more you write the more you learn, but yeah, knowing more to begin with sure cuts the editing time down.

Olga Godim said...

I've never changed the POV in any of my stories. Most of what I write fits comfortably with the standard third person past tense POV, but one of my stories wouldn't work with it. It needed first person present tense to be effective.

Ann Bennett said...

So much goes into creating a book. You do write a good book J. L. Campbell. I've read several of your books.

Janie Junebug said...

A variety of POVs can become confusing for the writer and the reader. The best example I've ever seen of multiple POVs is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Love,
Janie

G. B. Miller said...

I definitely had to tidy up on my p.o.v. with my stories, since most of my stories later feature telepathy. I'm getting much better at eliminating the head hopping (dropped 3 C-notes to learn that lesson) in my stories but it's still a challenge to keep the p.o.v. consistent.

Father Nature's Corner

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sometimes that's exactly what's not working in a manuscript and switching it up makes it flow.

Robert Bennett said...

Hmmm...I've never thought much about POV before. My writing tends to flow in and out with my imagination. I need to look at it with a more critical eye, I suppose.

J.L. Campbell said...

Glad it helped, Juneta.

Yes, Pat, it makes life easier if we know a fair bit going in.

Olga, we do what we must to make the story work.

Thanks so much, Ann. You made my day. :)

Janie, thanks, I need to go check out that book.

Good, G.B. It's wonderful when we can see we're growing as writers.

Yes, Diane. Finding the best perspective helps tremendously.

Good idea, Robert. You never know what you'll find once you begin a minute examination.

Deb R.H. said...

Just this past fall, I rewrote my entire manuscript from 3rd person to 1st. Then, I had to go back through a couple of times to find errors where it still said "she" instead of "I" and so on.

LD Masterson said...

I struggle sometimes because I like third person omniscient (head-hopping). Done well, it's not confusing to the reader and allows more insight into the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters.

Unfortunately, after I finished writing a novel (about ten years ago) in that POV, I was told a) I did it pretty well and my test readers had no problem knowing whose head they were, and b) head-hopping was out of favor and that would kill my chances of the story getting picked up by an agent or publisher. So I re-wrote it. But to be honest, I still like the original version more.

Lux G. said...

My writing style has changed through time as I learn new and more things. So good to keep on learning and growing, especially when you're in a community of great writers too.

Michelle Wallace said...

Deep POV is fantastic in creating that close and immersive reading experience.

I once had an idea of three different POVs (three different sections), and then the culmination of the three in section four. The story idea lent itself to that approach. Then I read about the "sin" of head-hopping and so I shelved that idea.