I had just completed Chapter Five in my “still in progress” novel. My protagonist is a single female, late twenties, public school biology teacher. Chapter Five ends with her accepting an invitation to serve as the “Green Counselor” at a month long summer camp for girls. Chapter Six begins with her turning into the driveway of her best friend’s house. She will leave her dog with this friend. Chapter Seven has her arriving at the camp.
Now, thus far I’ve written this narrative in Third Person Omniscient. We see the world through my protagonist’s eyes and her eyes only.
BUT, by the time I had gotten to the end of Chapter Six I had an uneasy feeling. I let it go and finished Chapter Seven. But upon a quick read, the unease set in again. Chapter Five was just wrong. But why?
My epiphany was that Chapter Five would be vastly better if I used a different POV for my protagonist’s arrival at her best friend’s house. I changed the POV from my protagonist to her best friend, and sure enough the narrative took on a new life, seen from another person’s eyes, as it were. The improvement, if I may call it that, was a source of amazement.
Of course, I also realized I would have to go back to my outline and figure out POVs for each chapter. But even with the added work, I’m now convinced the multiple POV will work best for this novel.
What are some pros for multiple POV?
- Greater mobility. For instance, with Chapter Six, I can avoid the cumbersome “arrival scene” and start with the person in the house! It works so much better.
- Greater depth. I can reveal the attitude of “reliable” others towards my hero. An effective way to reveal your protagonist’s flaws.
- Increased tension. I can, through various conflicting views, raise the bar, as it were regarding my characters’ actions.
What are some cons?
- Derail plot movement. I spend too much time with a secondary character, and the narrative bogs down travelling in the wrong direction.
- Character deflation. I spend too much energy with other characters and lose my protagonist in the turmoil. (In the novel I’m currently reading, I find myself liking the secondary characters more than the protagonist!)
- Narrative implosion. My story line goes off in a thousand directions curves back in on itself and implodes into total oblivion! Whoa!
So dear Blogger writers, what’s the point of all this? My point is that we should be open to our “highly intuitive writer minds” when, for whatever reason, you suddenly feel something is not quite right with the way your narrative is moving—then believe me there IS SOMETHING WRONG, so, stop and review your work. I was reluctant to change my Chapter Six. But, I did it, and I am happily surprised with the results.
NOTE: As a writing exercise, re-writing a scene from one point of view to another often reveals some very interesting aspects of your story. I’m sure this has been said a million times…sorry.
Picture above: Crows in our front yard. Talking!
What are your thoughts about shifting from one POV to another?