Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quiet on the Set...

Okay, people, let’s take it from the gal’s point of view first.


She gave him a nice long hot going over, ending with his fine dark eyes.

He glanced away, then back. Who me?

Yes, you. I’m coming to get you.

Eyes a-twinkle, he answered her dare with a slight nod. Yes! She set off across the room, seduction on her mind and in the sway of her hips. He leaned back on the bar, a smile lifting a corner of his luscious mouth.

Cut! Too many words. Let’s try that from the guy’s point of view.


She walked. He salivated.


How do you decide the point of view (POV) character? Yeah, I heard you, whoever has the most to lose in a scene gets point of view. Or whoever has the most to say, if you’re watching word count.

Ho. Hum.

Let’s try something different to help you figure it out. How about if a person who has nothing to lose gets POV?

I heard that snort of disparagement. I also heard the question you wouldn’t voice.

Put POV in the hands of a random stranger who couldn’t care less about the outcome of the scene. But, don’t choose the cool omniscient observer. Instead, choose a curious person (call them Pat) who just happens to be in close proximity and has been on both sides of the scenario. For the example, in my opening, Pat knows what it’s like to be a seducer and the seduced. Being without gender, Pat fully understands and shares the emotions of the man and the woman.

What flows through Pat’s senses? What outcome does Pat hope for? What would surprise Pat? If Pat was permitted one moment of interference, what would Pat do?

Have you got a scene that’s just not working? Let Pat explore your scene. Is the POV decision any easier? Did you get an interesting bonus by way of plot twist or character reveal?

Joan Leacott

heart, humour, and heat...Canada style


Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Hey, Joan! My mother was from Canada! Loved your article about pov. My editor wanted other povs in my stories, and sometimes they can really help to showcase your main characters better. :) Plus if you get stuck with where to go with your main characters, it's fun to take a step back and see them through someone else's eyes. :)

Sheila Tenold said...

I love your POV idea, Joan,and I'm going to try it out. When I first write a scene it's straight dialogue. In my head I envision Pat as a Blackjack dealer, watching everyone for "tells" about their hidden cards. This sounds like fun!

Mona Risk said...

Interesting Joan. I never thought of that, but what if you are stuck with three POVs hero, heroine and villain. Who will be the observers. BTW I absolutely love the four words scene in the her's POV: She walked. He salivated.

You said it all!!

Joan Leacott said...

Hey Terry, What part of Canada was your mom from? I'm a Toronto gal. You visited the TRW last summer. Seeing through another's eyes is the whole point of Pat--the unknown, highly flexible, all-purpose Someone. Glad you liked the article.

Joan Leacott said...

Sheila, Looking for "tells"--what an excellent analogy! I hope things work out with Pat.

Joan Leacott said...

HI Mona, Pat is neither hero, heroine, nor villain. Pat is the spirit of the story, if you will, moving in and out of each character at will and sometimes observing everyone all at once. Yeah, four words says it all for a man. Doesn't it? ;-D

Jill James said...

LOL Joan. I was thinking about all those guys who think romance novels are about the sex. Nope, we write romance heroes who actually have conversations!

I will have to try the Pat POV. Love it.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

POV was something that eluded me for years - when I first started to write I didn't even know what it was. It became an obsession with me and now I am so aware that its like having perfect pitch with an out of tune piano. It grates on my nerves when I find I've messed up. Your ideas are great and I enjoyed reading them. I only hope that I can do so well and keep my POVs pure and clean.

Joan Leacott said...

Hi Jill, I've had a lot of fun with POV Pat. It's like possessing a body and being a voyeur at one and the same time.

Joan Leacott said...

Hi Paisley, Ueah, POV can be an awful wriggly thing to control. So many characters, so much to say. I know exactly what you mean about the out-of-tune piano, except for me it was my out-of-tune voice!

Joanne said...

Interesting post, Joan. As a writer, I've always struggled which POV to be in. I've heard to always write in the character who has the most to lose.