Let’s talk about Point Of View (POV)
Writers, Point Of View is as important to you as chicks to a mother hen! Guard it jealously! You may fail on grammar, punctuation, write a novel filled with plot holes, include enough expository dialogue to choke a main drain, and you’ll still capture readers if your plot and characters are relatable. However, if your Point of View is weak, readers will drop you in the snap of a finger.
We live in the attention-deficit age. There in lies the problem. Information overload assaults our brains on a
daily basis. The volume of media, audio, visual, or written in content, overwhelms the best of us. Your work should capture the reader’s attention throughout the story. Having an interesting story would not be enough. How do we get them to slow down long enough to capture their interest, their time and attention?
We do this by engaging with the ferocity of an angler setting a hook. Choose the wrong bait, tie a weak knot, fail to read the conditions, and you won’t catch a thing. Point of View is the tackle. Readers are the prize. Keep your eyes on the prize.
There are lots of good books and articles on the subject of POV. They describe
the various styles in detail. The choice a writer of fiction makes regarding first or third person POV involves the art of novel writing, the writer’s voice. What this article is going to be centered on is the craft of writing, the techniques one must develop in order to find that voice.
You Are Probably Wondering: What Can Weaken POV?
Well, everything that isn’t dialogue! The POV is established by the dialogue tags, the narration, the setting, and action. If a dialogue tag is in one character’s POV, then shifts to another, for a moment you lose your reader briefly as they try to make sense of the change. You’re making them do the work. Stay with one set of eyes for the reader until you start a new scene or chapter.
The Age Old Advice of ‘Show, don’t Tell’ Would Always Be Relevant
If you’re telling instead of showing, your POV is weak, and you’re almost always in
passive voice and using filters.
Passive voice includes the ‘was-were’ construction and verb phrases. Attach a modifier to a verb, and you’ve become passive.
‘The group discussed the subject, but didn’t arrive at a decision’ is active.
‘The group attempted to discuss the subject, but failed to arrive at a decision’ is passive.
Keep your writing in active voice. Try to do more showing, and less telling, and your POV is guaranteed to be tighter and more relatable.