How many of us have written something, anything, and then sat back and thought “this is perfect” only to have someone far better qualified tell you that your masterpiece “still needs work?” Come on. Admit it. It has happened to someone you know.
What? You, too?
I figure once I need to dust off more space on the shelf for that second Pulitzer, then I will ignore the experts, but until then, I happily welcome their advice.
Lately I have been learning about Point of View, or POV for short. A common error seems to be hopping back and forth from one character to another, POV-wise, until no one is certain who is talking anymore. It’s an easy trap to fall in and I have had to rewrite many a paragraph just to create some sort of clarity. There are many books and blogs out there that talk about POV and “head hopping” and I recommend you read as many as you can. Kristen Lamb comes to mind right off as a clear and concise authority on the subject, however you could Google “writing, point of view, problems” and you will get 453 million other options. Kristen’s blog is well written, check it out first.
Here’s my solution: Once I have written the scene, I talk it through, out loud. I may look like a certifiable nut case, but I have uncovered redundancy, unclear POV, very poor grammar, too many POVs, unresolved plot points, and even redundancy.
Of course, I am also reading more carefully, trying to identify the POV switches, asking myself why switch then and not somewhere else. It’s all about taking every opportunity to improve, bit by bit. I still need a lot of bits, by the way…
What are your thoughts on POV? Are you guilty of head hopping? Do you stick with one POV per scene?
Let us all know, especially me, since I will be clacking the modern-day “typewriter” again starting next week!