Thursday, September 05, 2013

Crash POV: Shallow Point Of View

Today I'm going to talk about Point Of View, or POV, in your writing. Point Of View is, in a nutshell, who is telling the story. Romances are usually told from the hero/heroine's point of view, and POV can change from scene to scene. In this way, your reader gets a taste of how it feels to be that hero or heroine, experiencing the events of the story. The "depth" of POV in your writing is affected largely by your use of "Telling" vs. "Showing". (For the refresher on Telling vs. Showing, click here.)

As I've mentioned before, there are levels of POV in writing, and you may choose among them for the best punch in your story. In romance, a deeper POV is preferable. The more you bring a reader "inside" a character's head, the more emotionally invested he or she will be in the story. Remember that even while we prefer deeper POV in romance, it can get emotionally exhausting, so it can and should be varied - but definitely use it in your most critical scenes (first kisses, love scenes, black moments, etc.). Below is a picture that will provide the setting for a short example of shallow POV in writing.

John was getting impatient. The wind was warm and rippled softly over the river, but it was still cool in the shady spots under the tree. Mary had stood him up for their picnic. He hated that he'd given her a last-chance date. Every time he'd booked reservations at a nice restaurant, she'd pulled a no-show.  He wondered why he kept trying with her.  At least sandwiches didn't cost much.

As you can see, all the information is there: character, setting, and conflict. Unfortunately, the reader is on the outside looking in. We are told of John's frustrations, but it's not the same as empathizing with him. There is no "punch" in this writing, because of its emotional distance. Fixing this is a matter of your wording. Next time, we'll try this scene again, with a medium POV.

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