Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Point of View Askew.

Ah, the mental battle of deciding what point of view to use. Nothing punches you in the face hundreds of times the way choosing a point of view does. Well, for me anyways.

What's really fun is when you get 25k words in and think "Hey, this would be great if it was in first person!"


Immediately after that discovery, you want to push your thumbs right through your eyes and into your skull because now you have to revise all of it. And when you do that you almost always change a thousand plot points along the way. Then you find yourself re-writing everything... shortly afterwards you just want to strap the entire thing to a rocket and send it into space where it will inevitably set on fire as it makes it way through the atmosphere and then falls like little ashes of failure all over the world.

Exhibit one: While rewriting, my MC went from wearing jeans and a leather duster to a sun dress and a hunting knife. How the hell did that happen? How does a sun dress go with a hunting knife anyway? Do I want her to be gruff and boyish or psychotic and girly? I wish I knew because right now her identity crisis is giving me a head ache from hell. If I had time to take a writing class I probably wouldn't because of my social anxiety issues, but that's not the point. The point is, I need to find a way to not be so sporadically insane.

I'm going to spend the next 20 years of my life on my book aren't I? And by then I will have probably moved to an igloo in Antarctica to escape all things writing. Hey, I think my round head would look great in a parka. That and I hear that cold weather keeps the skin young.
Actually, I just made that up.

Moving on, I thought that I liked writing in third-person omniscience because I liked the idea of being in every character's head. I liked to put their thoughts on paper. I liked to play god in a world that was only mine. Turns out, god's job sucks and its too much work.

But if I look at in a realistic way, maybe I would rather write in first person. Other peoples thoughts are probably not all the interesting. Also, other peoples thoughts aren't all that hidden if you watch their body language and facial expressions, right? Maybe readers don't have time to dissect every characters thoughts? Maybe they want the guy with the leather chaps to only pick his teeth and have no thoughts whatsoever. Or maybe they want the supporting character to wheeze and cough without really knowing how he feels about.

I mean really, is it necessary to know everyone's thoughts? Is it so bad that there is allot of mystery? No it isn't. Mystery is good. Especially in a man. Because once the mystery is gone your left with beer farts and pubic hair in the shower drain.

I don't think I could write another persons thoughts all that well because they would be thinking the following all the time;

"I should go away for a very long time." This would be their only thought.

Because for some people I know and I'm not pointing anyone out, especially my boyfriend... but that's what I would want them to be thinking....What can I say, I miss being alone.

So what I want to know is what pov gets you going? When you write, how do you decide on a point of view? What pov do you like to read the most? Your thoughts??


  1. My blog friend Meika is having EXACTLY the same issues, check out her 2 latest post and maybe you can help each other?! http://me1ka.blogspot.com/

    For me it is different depending on the story. My WIP now has so many main characters so it wouldn't feel right to change the point of view. Even though one might stand out a bit more it just would not be fair to the other suckers in my WIP...

    Plus, it's a good way of coping with all the voices in my head. Joking! (Sorta...)

  2. You need to pack your laptop and whatever writing tools you need and go to a very isolated place and take a few deep breaths...and think...

    To be honest, that's one of the reason I haven't started on a story yet (Yes I would like to write a book too, don't we all?). My thoughts are all over the place...

    Anyway, why don't you stick to the girl in the dress hiding a knife? That sounds cool! ;p

  3. To be honest, I like the sundress/knife duality you've thought up. Much more interesting. Sundress speaks of innocence and light and smiles; knife, well, self-explanatory. The girl has a dark side. And if there is anything I've learned from my creative writing professors is that dark is always much more interesting than light. And the more complex, the better.

    Good luck and keep creating! Let those thoughts dictate your words; the story will write itself.

  4. For some reason, I tend to write my mysteries from first person POV and my romantic comedies from third person using both hero and heroine's perspective.

    Love the image of pushing your eyeballs into your skull w/ your thumbs, BTW. You should use that one in your book!


  5. Oh, I so feel your pain. I wrote three novels in first person. For the one I'm working on now, I've decided to go with third person and I'm really enjoying it! It's a tough call.

  6. Just found your blog, love it!

    I'm in the process of editing my MS and I've starting thinking it might be better in third person. I stopped editing because of this thought. I feel your pain.

  7. AHHHH! Someone who feels my pain! It's enough to make you wanna tear your hair out, isn't it?

  8. Hello, OfficeGirl... First time commenting. I have been through a very similar situation, so I can relate to what you're going through. While writing my first book I wound up with two versions of every chapter before deciding on the final perspective with which the story would be told. After going through this I determined that the perspective which works best is the one that helps to tell your story best. I know that's some pretty vague advice, but I hope it helps somehow.

  9. Meika: Yes, I have already torn out a small spot of hair. But I have covered it with a super cool comb over.

    Michael: Vauge but great advice. I never thought of doing two versions of every chapter. It would be a good to play with instead of re-writting the crap out of everything.

    Lulu: Thanks for coming by! Glad you're here and hope to hear more from you.

    Tawna: Why didn't it ever cross my mind to only have the thoughts of two characters instead of everyone? That would be allot easier.

    Johana: I think I will stick with the sundress. Its actually changed everything about her. Thanks!

    Annika: I'm going to conduct some tests...and see how diffrent point of views work out. This my second half finished novel standing on the shoulders of another half finished novel...damn pov's is driving me nuts!

  10. I write in first-person as it allows me to be more personal and more funny with the character. I write chick-lit and think books work better this way in this genre most of the time.

    However, I HAVE written a whole novel in present tense, then decided to change it when an agent said she thought it would work better in past. Correcting that was a tad annoying...