Point Of View

I have 10 minutes to dash off a quick post before I myself must dash to school to sub for the day (the teacher I am subbing for doesn’t have a class first period–yippee!). Since I haven’t said much of interest other than daily progress reports lately, I thought I would take those–9–minutes and see what I could come up with. I haven’t had enough caffeine to come up with anything radically scintillating, so I thought I’d talk briefly about POV. Houses of Cards is primarily written from the perspective of my heroine Michaela, with fewer interjected scenes from my hero Collin’s POV. In the lengthy chapter I’ve just been working on I started out from C’s POV and then switched over for the latter half of the chapter to M’s. And it didn’t work. Gah! I hate that. My pal Pot read it and was right as usual when she suggested that I change the perspectives around. After some grumbling and foot-dragging, I did exactly that and wound up with the 900+ words I got down yesterday and much richer scenes overall. Pot is kind enough to throw out praise for the revisions rather than “I told you so”. Thank you Pot.

I think that this was a good illustration for me about what a powerful tool POV can be for a writer. Some characters inherently know more about what’s going on (or less–occasionally that’s good too). In this case it wasn’t that one of them was more in the know, but the fact that it ended up naturally flowing better to have the opposite character’s perspective for reveal purposes. In therapy, it is sometimes useful with clients who show limited self-insight, to get them to think about what some significant person in their life would say about them or see. I’m discovering that it’s a useful tool to apply to my characters as well. Often they’ll surprise me. What about y’all? Any words of wisdom to share about POV or character illumination?

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