megwrites: Reading girl by Renoir.  (Default)
2006-11-16 04:54 pm

Point of View Is Not Your Enemy

Dear NaNoWriMo Word Counter,

Quit effing shorting my word counts, okay. It's frustrating me.

No Love,

Also, I just want to say amen to Justine Larbalestier's take on switching POV's. The one single writer's group I've ever been a part of in real time also passed out the "don't switch POV's" advice.

It got my hackles up then, but I kept my mouth closed about it. There's a lot of stuff I wanted to say in that group but held back from, for various reasons. That's another entry on why Me and Writer's Groups aren't mixy things.

Thing is? I'm one of those writers who's completely undisciplined and unruly. I take the story to the most interesting place. Sometimes a character's POV is very interesting, and then a few pages later, someone else has a more interesting train of thought.

I try to make it clear who's head is who's, but I feel no guilt in switching.

Book are textual movies, basically, and if a camera is allowed to switch angles for the sake of making the movie more interesting, the writer is allowed to switch POV's. Now, if the camera switches angles too much or goes to an angle that the viewer can't figure out.

But come on, how many times in a conversation does the camera go from one person's shoulder to another?

I say, use the omniscient POV for all it's worth.

I figure that omniscient POV is like watercolors. People are used to using it from the time they're little kids with their crayola paint set, but to really make an impressive picture with it takes serious, lowdown skills. No, man, it takes skillz. With a *z*. Because most people can only make vague flower shapes and bubble-shaped trees.

Whereas, first person POV is like acrylics. Acrylics are easier to use (IMHO, artistically speaking) and far more precise, so I'm infinitely more critical when people screw the pooch on it.

Omniscient POV is also far harder because not only do you know everything, but you've got to decide who should know what and when and you yourself have to know what's going on at all times.

Whereas with first person, you get to be really rather linear. Unless you're writing as though you're God - which would be literarily very cool 'cause God is both first person and omniscient technically.