01 August 2011

Change Your POV

Someone once asked me why changing the point of view of a story is so important when you get stuck. This is harder to explain than if I just show it. But, I'll explain first and then show an example.

When I start out a story in one POV, like 3rd person POV, I have more freedom to develop my main character. It's easier to describe their actions externally and I can paint them how I want, but it's more difficult to convey their thoughts and develop the character from an internal aspect.

Some differences that I see when changing POV is that I'm careful not to pay too much attention to myself as the main character while in 1st person POV. It's a different feel to it because the way I show my character is limited but it also has to feel real. In the examples below, there's such a big difference in the way the story is told and that's why changing the POV could show you a different path that might be better for your story.

This is the opening paragraphs of a short story I wrote about a disturbed teenager involved in an online text-based role-playing game. Written in 3rd person POV, it feels like a story being told.

"How about that ownage ya fucking putz." Todd unleashed the last missile from his character's repertoire of spells. His latest victim fell to the floor in a heap. Todd hit the F6 function key on his keyboard to bury the corpse and to reveal the entire inventory dropped by the now dead elf, Tolkien Vernette. He pressed F2 and picked up the loot. Two Swords of Taiken, three golden gauntlets and a pile of coins.

"Easiest level 42 punk I ever took out," he said. He flipped up his middle finger to the computer monitor, his knuckle making contact with the glass surface. Thunk. He pushed the keyboard aside and made his journey to the bedroom, his bulkiness filling the hallway. It was 2 a.m. and a school night.



The same opening paragraphs written in 1st person POV is drastically changed to connote a disturbed kid without the character having to tell the reader anything at all. Everything is conveyed through the actions of the main character and it feels like a story unfolding.


I typed in the last missile command to kill the elf. Stupid mortal. I laughed and finished him off. Pretty weak of him to run, but it was fun watching him drop to the floor. One dead elf named Tolkien Vernette. Bury. Get all. Sweet! Two Swords of Taiken, three golden gauntlets and a shit load of coins.

It was too easy. I flipped the bird at the computer. "Rest in peace, dipshit." Then I went to bed because it was a school night.



I think every writer should play around with POV because not all stories are best told in one POV over the other. My rule is if I want to tell a story, I use 3rd person limited. When I want to experience a story as a particular character, I use 1st person.

Contact Diane

Name

Email *

Message *