The importance of POV

Writing my first book I had no idea how muddy my use of POV (Point of View) was. New writers make mistakes and mucking up your POV is right up there. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes but it’s so important to fix them. Typos and poorly written stories are annoying! We read fiction for entertainment and there’s nothing less entertaining than reading something awkward (except something awkward with lots of typos!)

So it was a revelation when an editor schooled me on POV. I rewrote the novel (Hotel Deja Vu) fixing the mess. Oh dear…the number of times I had multiple POVs in one paragraph! I’ve largely kept each chapter from a single POV but if necessary define changes of POV using a gap symbol. Because it’s a time travel story I love the infinity symbol.

Something I’ve realised lately is by clearing up the POV dialogue becomes far easier. If we know whose POV we’re writing from, it’s easier to create dialogue tags and write large amounts of dialogue without too many ‘she saids’ cluttering up the page.

The Australian Writers’ Centre says this about POV…

Point of view is an essential skill in fiction writing. In fact, editors and publishers often say they will reject stories where authors clearly do not understand point of view. Or where they have used it inconsistently.

Why? Because stories are told through characters. We believe in those characters – especially the point of view characters – by how much the narration fits them and their view of the world. An authentic character voice draws the reader deep into the story and makes it come alive in a unique way.

This ability to see through a character’s eyes and narrate the story through their experience is what sets books apart from film and television. It’s one of the main reasons readers seek out novels and memoirs – to experience what it’s like to be another human being.

An update on advertising on this site. I decided to allow adverts on blog posts but only for readers who are not logged in. I think that’s a nice compromise.

Feature Photo by Aachal on Unsplash