No, it’s not some disease. Well, it’s not contagious anyway. It could be considered a writer’s disease, though, and one many authors, including me, have suffered with: POV, or point of view. I had it bad. I can’t tell you how many times I received rejection letters that said, “Your POV issues keep this from being a manuscript we would be interested in.” And guess what, I had no idea what it was. Finally, one publisher gave me some feedback, as well as examples of what POV was. I was so happy, and I felt like I finally had a chance. I bought a POV book and studied it.
I wish a lot of indie authors would do the same thing. I’ve been reading a lot of indie books lately, some really good ones. However, most of them all have one thing in common: point of view issues. It’s so frustrating and confusing when you’re reading a story where the author is jumping back and forth between characters’ thoughts in the same paragraph or scene. It’s also called head-hopping.
So what is POV? Like I said in the paragraph above, it’s picking the character through whose thoughts the reader will view the scene. Below are wrong and correct examples of what I mean.
“Don’t open the door, Dolly.” Ron knew she would be in for a big shock if she did, and he wanted to prepare her first. He’d been unable to locate her mother, but he had found her twin sister, Anne. (his thoughts, or POV)
Dolly wondered what was behind the door that he didn’t want her to see. Was it her long lost mother? Has Ron finally found her? She felt excitement over the possibility, and a little nervousness. “Why? What will I find?” (switched to her thoughts, or POV)
Ron knew if he wasn’t careful he could easily fall for a sweet girl like Dolly. “Not exactly,” he said, shaking his head. “I found your twin sister, though.” He watched as pure happiness spread across her face. (back to his thoughts, or POV)
“Don’t open the door, Dolly.” Ron knew she would be in for a big shock if she did, and he wanted to prepare her first. He’d been unable to locate her mother, but he had found her twin sister, Anne. (his POV)
“Why? What will I find?” He heard the excitement in her tone, saw a glimmer of it in her sparkling eyes. “Did you find my mother?” (his POV)
Ron knew if he wasn’t careful he could easily fall for a sweet girl like Dolly. “Not exactly,” he said, shaking his head. “I found your twin sister, though.” He watched as pure happiness spread across her face. (his POV)
Now here’s where it can get tricky. I’ve written for publishers who don’t want me switching POV except at the beginning of a new chapter. So if chapter one has the heroine’s POV, then in chapter two you can write the hero’s POV. But then I have another publisher who says it’s okay to switch POV after a couple of pages. You could go crazy trying to figure out what your publisher wants, so I’d stick with switching POV when you begin a new chapter. That keeps it neat and simple. That’s what I do most of the time. I’ve actually written a books and short novellas where there’s only one POV all the way through it – The Cowboy Way is an example of a full length book I’ve written with only the heroine’s POV .
I hope this article helps all of you new authors out there. If you’re really passionate about writing, and putting the best product out there – which helps build your fan base, I might add – then take this information to heart.
Tory Richards is the author of erotic, contemporary and paranormal romance. Content of Let’s Talk About POV is the author’s opinion gained from her personal experiences. For questions, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website, toryrichards.com.