Sunday Salon: Where’d You Get That Point of View


Most of my reading today has been sample edits by a professional editing service of the first chapter of my novel.

A chief, and valid criticism, is my switching of point of view. It’s a common criticism of beginning novelists: break switches in point of view into sections or chapters, and, if possible, use only one point of view.

Given that I have two narrative lines, I will have to separate the shifts into sections or chapters.  Of course, I’ve also been noodling with the idea of switching POV from third to first person and setting the narrative up like Audrey Niffenegger does in The Time Traveler’s Wife.

But, I’m uncomfortable using first person narrative as a writer, even when the narrator is completely unlike myself.

This week POV seems to have been a theme of my readings: I wrote about the use of second person in Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, and I know that POV is one of the most important aspects of a story; it affects the whole perception of the narrative.

Getting that sample edit has been great. It has kept me thinking about my book and has given me the urge to think about fiction again, and writing and taking another look at my novel. I worked on it for two years and the edits have given me insight into the novel. I hope I am able to afford to work with this service on my full manuscript.

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Editor’s Note: This post has been written as part of Sunday Salon.

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4 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Where’d You Get That Point of View

  1. Great post with some good advice. I’ve spoken to writing groups about POV (point of view) and how best to accomplish this. Although some bestselling authors use multiple POVs within even the same paragraph, “head hopping” is very irritating and it pulls the writer out of the story.

    There is a short article on POV on my website that you or your visitors might find helpful.

    http://www.cherylktardif.com/whats-the-best-way-to-pov/

    All the best and happy writing!

    ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling Canadian author
    Whale Song * The River * Divine Intervention
    http://www.cherylktardif.com

  2. Interesting post, Todd. I’m glad you got some feedback that was thought-provoking. Choosing the POV is one of the toughest choices, I know. I’ve almost always written in first person and just tackled a new project in third person. It was a challenge for sure. The Time Traveler’s Wife is a great model/inspiration for your story. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

  3. Happy to hear things are moving forward with the book. POV can be tricky – in that you don’t want the change of POV’s to appear as a trick itself, but rather something organic (or better still, an emanation from the steady hand of a confident authorial voice). Some day I will attempt second-person, but damn is that ever intimidating.

    • POV is tricky, especially trying to determine if the character narrating needs time and space in which to narrate, or whether a whole different POV should be used to convey the information, or even whether the information should be withheld completely to maintain suspense.

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