#amwriting topic: POV

One of the more important things to decide going into a new story is what POV you will write in.

Me, I generally don’t do much to decide this anymore. However the voice comes into my head, that’s how I write it. (And these days, that’s first person present. I’m currently cycling between a first person present WIP and a first person past POV, and boy, is that going to be a headache in editing. I’m switching up tenses all the time and having to go back and fix it when I realize I’m in the wrong story/tense.) The funny thing is, I really don’t like first person POV. It’s limiting. I prefer third, but in my experience, the readers don’t. I wrote a duet in third person dual POV, but several ARC-readers gave up on it, saying the third person made it hard for them to connect with the characters.

So I switched. (Not that duet, but going forward.) Now I try to write all my stories in first person, but that hasn’t been without its issues, either. I just released a first person present (dual) POV book, and two of the reviewers pointed out what they took to be plot-holes or inconsistencies. An example: in one chapter, the hero’s POV, he is in a separate place from the heroine, so there would be no sense in detailing her specific stops on her way home, where he’s waiting for her. In this story, the heroine happens to live in New Jersey, but she had spent time in the city that day. The heroine has anxiety, and chooses not to drive in the city, so she used public transport while there. The hero is waiting at her house, though, and isn’t along for any part of this, so it wouldn’t make sense for him to detail her stop after departing public transport and getting back into her car to drive home. But when the heroine showed up back at her house in her car, one of my readers thought it was an inconsistency. One scene she’s getting on the subway in the city, in another she’s driving a car to her house in Jersey. But the hero/person whose POV the chapter was written in wasn’t there, so why would he mention that?

My current WIP has some similar issues popping up, and I find it annoying. An early reader pointed out a possible plot hole that isn’t a plot hole, but to tell the audience one thing while showing them another, the first person heroine (immersed in the life, so this wouldn’t jive with her worldview) would have to tell them. Obviously that’s a no-no (and a little insulting to the reader, in my opinion), but not including—in my opinion, unnecessary—information does leave you open to criticism. Including it would, too (boring! Tedious! Telling instead of showing—worse, telling after showing), so I guess there’s just no winning. At the end of the day, I guess all you can do is write what makes sense to you, what you think will make the most sense to the most people, and accept that a few people are going to find fault with it either way. 🙂

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