Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Theme: POV - The Who

If you're writing romance (or most other genres) there are two main characters you'll be dealing with - the hero and the heroine. That simple fact leaves you with a choice. Whose POV do I write in? Who gets what scene? How do I divide the book?

Sometimes the targeted publisher will help you answer those questions. Certain category lines (Harlequin/Silhouette) want the bulk of the book in the heroine's POV - and don't really allow for POV's beyond the hero and heroine.

Sometimes the style dictates. If you're writing women's fiction in first person, chances are you'll stick with that the entire book. There are always exceptions, some first person books have chapters of third person from another characters POV. Only you can make that decision.

But when you're writing single title, you may have numerous POVs - the hero, the heroine, the villain, a secondary character you hope to spin off as the heroine in book 2. Lots of option.

So who gets the scene? My rule of thumb is the POV belongs to the character with the most at stake. However, remember I said there were exceptions? Here's one - if the character with the most at stake also has information you're not ready to share with the reader. Then writing from their POV will seem false, because you'll be tip-toeing around the thoughts that would give that info away. The reader will pick up on it and the scene will fall flat. (Unless you're exceptionally skilled, etc.)

Don't be afraid to rewrite scenes that aren't working into the opposite characters POV. Sometimes doing that makes all the difference. Making that change in my third book is part of what helped me land my agent. The heroine, bitter after the death of her 2nd husband, came off too bitter while in her POV. Putting the scene in the hero's POV let us see her with sympathetic eyes. It worked. She became likable. (And my agent saw I was capable of making big changes without whining about and dragging my feet.)

Do what works, but when it comes to POV, be willing to try several roads. The final destination will be worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Kristen, I just want to say thank you for this series of informative posts this week. :)