HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24

    POV what a nightmare

    Hi Guys, what a nightmare I went through editing my novel with the publisher. You can't do this. You can't do that. Why do we have to write in only one or two specific POVs per scene? I had a great scene where 5 main characters got involved in a conversation at a bar. They all had POVs as we all do, don't we. It had the guts completely ripped out of it and I had to write from just 2 POVs. I relented and the publisher liked what I did and kept it. By creating a double space from 1 charcter to the next it made it clear whose POV it was. Have you guys had trouble with POV?



  2. #2
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    I'm thinking you don't really know what POV means, or the publisher used that term and meant something else. Typically, POV identifies the narrator. There's First Person, where the narrator is a character in the story or the author who uses the pronouns I, me, my, mine and is limited to his own thoughts and perceptions. In Second Person, the author speaks directly to the reader using the pronouns you and your - it is a comparitively rare POV. A Third Person narrator is usually an unknown observer outside the story who uses the pronouns he, him, his, she, her, they, them, their. The Third Person narrator is either limited (can read the thoughts of no characters or perhaps only one character) or omniscient (can read the thoughts of all characters).

    Was that what the publisher meant? Or were they simply wanting you to reduce the number of participants in the bar conversation?

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24
    Hi John, my publisher was very explicit - he insisted the POV is from which character the start of a scene is described from with their thoughts thrown in. When in that character you cannot suddenly show what another character is thinking, only what they're doing. That's what POV is as from my publisher. I have looked it up and that basically agrees with most explanations on the web. What I was doing was blending thoughts of several characters in one scene, sometimes in one paragraph. He said it is easier to stick to one POV - one character per scene if possible.

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Well, if you were initially writing in First Person, then I agree with your publisher - you can't jump into other character's thoughts unless the First Person narrator is some sort of mind reader and tells what he reads from his perspective. If you were trying to write with several First Person narrators - well, I can't imagine that would be successful in a scene like a bar conversation. It would fracture the story. Now you could write a collection of stories - say five people telling the same story from their own perspective - and multiple First Person narrators might be demanded in that circumstance.

    However, if you were initially writing in Third Person omniscient, then I disagree with your publisher - the Third Person omniscient narrator can jump into any character's thoughts at any time.

    Which POV were you using initially?
    Last edited by John Oberon; 11-29-2012 at 09:26 AM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24
    third person, but there is a thing called "head-hopping" which is frowned upon by publishers and agents.

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    Aaaah...yep - really irritating, very difficult to read. Fractures the story. Especially in a conversation where speakers change rapidly. If that's what you were doing, then I agree with your publisher. Typically, you enter another character's mind with the advent of another scene, not within the same scene. I've read a scene where the narrator accessed the thoughts of four characters without too bad an effect, but it wasn't a conversation. I can't imagine trying it with five in a conversation.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684
    I've read stories where writers will jump POVs in a single scene. It can be done successfully if the transition between viewpoints isn't too abrupt. If you do that a lot, or you try writing one scene from 5 different POVs, or you're introducing new characters that way, I can see the problem. Plus, you have to look at what you have to gain from doing it. Do you really need to use those five viewpoints all at once. Some stories in omniscient suffer because they seem not to have a main POV character, a protag. Speaking for myself, I hate that lol.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    24
    Thanks everyone for your valuable input. POV is changing all the time. Now it's acceptable to have 2 pOVs in a scene especially where a man and woman argue etc. It is essential and it's normal.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    12
    I have edited books that handle shifting POV's and I can tell you from my perspective it can be very confusing to the reader if not handled adeptly. Obviously, there are many books that handle different POV's within scenes in different ways (Cf. The Sound and the Fury) but it has to be artfully crafted. In my own novel, I change POVs by chapter, with the protagonist's chapters told in the present tense. I also use a simple device to tell the reader whose POV it will be in that chapter by beginning the first sentence in each chapter with the name of the character whose POV it will be. Not fancy but I think it works well. fwiw

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts