Monday, September 21, 2009

POV - Which one?

The mystery novel I've been working on has really worked me over on POV. When I originally started the thing, I started out in third person. At the time, I'd never done anything in first person so didn't feel comfy with it. I was happy with the third person version of it but after playing with first person a time or two started wondering if I had the right POV.

So, I rewrote the start of the novel in first person and while I really liked it, I sent it to a friend who has more practice with first person to get her take on it. And, she loved it. To be sure, I gave it to my oldest daughter (18 and quite a reader)for her opinion. She loved the MC's voice and another writer who read it also commented on her voice and how fun it was. That was all I needed to start over in first person.

I got about 15k on the puter and started wondering if I'd chosen the right POV afterall. I told myself to suck it up, just finish the rough draft and that I could go back and change it back to third later during revisions if I thought I needed to.

But, I'm at right at 45k and still being nagged by the shoulder vultures on whether I picked the right POV. So, last night I chatted with my mentor about it and after much pondering decided that I was using the wrong POV.

This morning I started by adding a scene from a second character whose POV I hadn't been able to use since he wasn't the MC. This scene made up ch. 2 so I revised ch. 1 and started a new novel doc with it in third person. But as I worked on it, I realized he'd have ch. 2, maybe ch. 5 or 6 and then 10.

I also realized I was losing a lot of the MC's voice that I loved and didn't want to lose. So, I scraped all the third person stuff, (well, I saved it in a seperate file, I hate to delete stuff) and now I'm happy with my first person choice.

Not only does it feel right with me, it's the best POV for the story. And, when you get right down to's the story that matters.

I know y'all probably aren't terribly interested in my POV problems but I felt I needed to share this with y'all because it could happen to you.

Settling on a POV for your novel isn't a "decide once and that's it" thing. If the one you start in doesn't work, you can change it. You aren't limited to your original choice.

So, if you decide mid-novel that the POV you're working in isn't working, just change and continue on. You can go back during the revision stage and fix things.


  1. I never would have considered some POV changes without getting feedback from some of my SC buddies. It's great to talk your story out and brainstorm with others. It's a pity when it happens so far into the storyline, but it's not the end of the world either.


  2. I had to change once on one of my fanfiction short stories. It is amazing how things can start to fall into place just by changing POV.


  3. Cheryl...I thought it was just my own personal shoulder vultures so decided to continue but my mentor suggested it'd be better to change now since third person has a different structure then first. But like I said, after working with it for a while, I realized I had it right in first person after all.

    It was a good thing though. Now I can go forward with confidence and not have to wonder.:-)

  4. I have novel that I think may be missing a POV. I like the MC, but I think that the addition may make the story really pop. Hmm. Food for thought. :)