Monday, November 16, 2015

Could it be your Point of View?

By: Donnell Ann Bell

People love to give advice.They love to share their point of view. Oftentimes, I listen. Oftentimes, I think this person doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. However, I recently received some advice that I think is invaluable—particularly when it comes to writing.

If you’re writing in first person, you can probably stop reading right now. This stellar advice doesn’t apply to you because let’s face it—you only have one point of view. But if you have multiple points of view in your novel, and it’s not working for some reason, consider rewriting (no screaming allowed) in another character’s POV.

Ask yourself this: Am I writing the scene in the POV character who has the most to lose?


If the antagonist has thrown the protagonist off a cliff, and left the hero for dead, and no one’s around, you’re going to have a pretty compelling scene because clearly you’re in your hero’s head, and you’re going to show his desperation as he tries to save himself.

But . . . let’s say your antagonist throws the protagonist off the cliff, then sticks around to taunt him. 

Whose POV would be most effective? 

Some might say the anger seething through the hero. He’s trying to hang on for dear life, and the villain shows him a rope. “Gee, I’d like to save you,” your bad guy says, “but the rope it appears to be . . . slipping.” Then he throws it as far as he can.

Imagine your protagonist believing the antagonist plans to save him, and all hope is lost . . . . (until, if you’re any kind of writer and not a sadist, the hero finds a root, and with super human strength heroes tend to have in our stories, pulls himself upward and saves himself.)

Or let’s see the same scene through the antagonist’s eyes. The hero has thwarted his every move, stolen his girl, and repossessed his car! Villain’s hatred runs deep. Watching hero fall onto the rocks would cause a gleeful moment for bad guy. It would also show what a menacing creature he is. Imagine his shock when the hero pulls himself up, despite the villain’s best efforts, and the two engage in an amazing fight scene.

Ideally, you get the idea. Point of View is important to your story. Ask yourself who has the most to risk. And if you’re not sure, a great exercise is to write in various POVs. The only problem is then you’ll have a decision to make.

About the Author: Donnell Ann Bell is the editor of Pikes Peak Writers Writing from the Peak blog and a mystery and romantic suspense author. Check out her books at


1 comment:

  1. So true. I find this device--changing POV if the scene refuses to unfold--especially useful when it comes to writing "romantic elements": Sometimes, "who has the most to lose"--the hero or the heroine--can be subjective.


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