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Thursday, April 18, 2013

P: Point of View (POV)

I sucked at POV! No seriously! right up until about 2 months ago I didn't get the whole POV thing! I mean, I studied it - I am an English Major after all, and I did get a BA in creative writing - but apparently I misunderstood several concepts of POV.

So after I attended the ANWA writer's conference in February (you can read my post about it here) something clicked. I went home, printed my entire manuscript, and grabbed my highlighters. I love highlighters! My book was to be written from 2 POVs. It's a romance, so of course it was his and hers.  But in the scenes where they were together I had a bad habit of head jumping. Apparently I assumed that if the story is from both POVs and they are together, why can't we see what they are both thinking?

Well, you can't!

I took my beloved highlighters and I went crazy. I highlighted all over her POV in Green and his in Blue. Then sometime I got bored with this and highlighted hers in pink and his in yellow (I wasn't joking about loving my highlighters) :) I was amazed to find that not only had I head jumped a LOT more than I realized, but that by so doing, I sometimes forgot that my characters couldn't read each others minds also - therefore allowing a character to know something they should not have known.

Then, I tore my manuscript apart - figuratively - and rewrote. By making each section in just one POV I was able to add needed information, give the characters more depth, and overall make the feel of the story more realistic! I was seriously very pleased with myself!

Now I have to do it all over again with all my other manuscripts. It's a good thing I have lots of paper, printer ink, and a love of highlighters :)

So this is my suggestion to anyone who might struggle with POV, like I do:
Print it - play with your highlighters - and be amazed at how much your story improves when you do it right!

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