Choosing the right POV for your novel

untitled2When planning your story or novel, deciding on the point of view is critical before you start. Though you can change the point of view after you’ve begun writing, it makes it time consuming and confusing. Taking time to consider what will work for you and your story when structuring it will keep the reader grounded and help them understand who is telling the story.

A single POV or first person can be limiting, so character depth and development become critical. Your untitled1main character has to be compelling enough to take the reader through the entire story.

Third person multiple is the most popular POV because it offers the most variety. The reader learns what drives each of several characters, and the change helps keep the pace. Shifting POV broadens the scope of the story and gives it momentum.

It’s important to remember when you’re using multiple character POV’s, limit the number of characters in your story. Too many characters with separate POV’s can end up confusing the reader. Stick to one POV per scene and though there’s no rule about how long a particular scene should be for any character, do not switch back and forth too quickly. Head hopping is disorienting and can frustrate your readers.

imagesD16HOMFYMake sure your scene changes are distinct and that the story picks up where the last scene left off. If you do change POV within a scene, make sure the change is clear. You don’t want to lose the reader because they are trying to figure out when and where the characters are in relation to each other.

Keep your story focused and active. Adopting the view of more than one character does not eliminate the need to maintain pace. Give each character his own weight and each scene its own forward momentum.

Make sure each one of your characters is different enough so that the reader doesn’t confuse them. Technically this falls more under character building than POV, but it’s an important point to consider. Make sure your characters all have original, and distinct, traits.

 

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