Friday, July 1, 2011

Choosing a POV character

Yesterday I realized something about my writing style: I don't like to write from the hero's perspective, at least not much. I much prefer to write from the point of view of another character observing the hero. The funny thing is I'm not entirely sure why.

The problem is that it's a lot harder to characterize a person and show his/her thoughts and emotions when you can't get inside his/her head. You have to rely on other characters noticing certain things (e.g. facial expressions, nervous ticks, tone of voice, etc.). And there's also the problem of those times when the hero does something courageous, virtuous, selfless, or ... well, heroic, but there's no one around to see it or report on it. Those are about the only times I can bring myself to write from the hero's POV.

What do you all think? What are the advantages and disadvantages of my little quirk? Do you have any particular preferences (rational or otherwise) in POVs?


  1. Oh let's talk irrational. Sometimes, I hash out a scene from every POV on site. Just in case someone has a better take on the issue. Plus, it's nice to see things from every angle. Of course, I only end up USING one POV spiced up with these tid-bits I learnt, but it could be anyone's POV. Depends who has the best story to tell.

    It always surprises me what secrets come out when I do this. If you ever have trouble getting two characters to interact, try it. Get inside the other one's head for a bit, your dialogue will spice right up. It's instant magic.

    Besides, you're right Reece, sidekicks see things about a hero that the hero doesn't always know or see about themselves. Why not use them? They're just sitting there, put them to work! hehe

  2. I can relate to what you're saying here. For some reason, I always know before starting a manuscript who will be my favorite character, and I make sure I don't write from his/her perspective. I really enjoy writing about that person from someone else's viewpoint. Not sure why. Wouldn't it make more sense to write from the POV of a favorite character? *shrug*

    Anyway, I just found your blog through a friend's and wanted to leave a comment. So, hi! Nice to meet you! :)

  3. Hi Reece, just dropped in to let you know that I have a couple sweet and versatile awards for you at my blog. Congrats. Later.

  4. Hm, interesting! I like reading things from multiple POVs, because I like seeing what the characters think about each other. I have a hard time actually writing that kind of thing well myself, though. I have experimented with first person in my last two books, and I like the emotional closeness I get with that POV.

  5. I think that could be an interesting take on using POV, if like you said, you could describe the actual hero's thoughts well through this other POV. Maybe you could do it through the POV that is like one of those people that work for the police and have that special 6th sense ability but for the life of me I cannot think of what they are referred to. Just a thought.

    I like Tanya's idea of hashing out scenes through different POVs, I'll have to try that.