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Ruby Tips & Tricks – Changing POV

Tip of the Day: If a scene is not working, try re-writing it in the other character’s point of view.

Point of View (POV) is something every writer must think about when writing a scene. “Point of view is the angle of considering things, which shows us the opinion or feelings of the individuals involved in a situation. In literature, point of view is the mode of narration that an author employs to let the readers “hear” and “see” what takes place in a story, poem, or essay.” (https://literarydevices.net/point-of-view/) Basically – Whose head are you in?

When I started my writing career, I didn’t realize how important it was to stick with a single POV in a scene. Wait…wait… I know an author can change POV in a scene and make it work beautifully. If something works for you, do it. Just be aware that hopping from one head to another can confuse the reader and may pull them out of the story. Therefore, it must be done with finesse and consideration. In my first ever manuscript, I wrote one scene from three POVs, the heroine, the hero, and… the horse. Yes, the horse. It was, to say the least, confusing.

Fast forward many manuscripts and for every scene I write, I consider whose POV I’m writing in before I type a single word. I usually pick the character that has the most to lose or learn or reveal. Sometimes I write from the other character’s POV because I don’t want to reveal something yet, or I want the reader to wonder with the POV character why the other character is reacting a certain way. So, I choose a POV to write in, and sometimes I get it wrong.

Have you ever had a scene that just wasn’t working? Of course. We all have. The words are coming slowly, and your muse is shaking her head. What to do? First, I take a real look at the scene to see if I need it. Does it move the plot forward or reveal internal conflict or show character growth? Or is it just a segue scene that could really be summed up in a sentence? I remind myself that if I am bored writing a scene, then the reader will be bored reading the scene.

If the scene must be there, but something is not working, try changing the POV to the other character. On the surface you might swear this won’t work, but if it must be in the book, just give it a go.

I did this the other day with the scene that led up to the first love scene in my current WIP (work in progress). It was critical for motivation or the two would just be hopping into the sack together, but it wasn’t flowing right. I took my own advice and changed the POV from the heroine to the hero. I lost a chance to show the reader an internal reveal for the heroine, which I will have to work into a different scene, but it opened up the wonderful internal dialogue of the hero. The hero is rather stoic. You know the type. He’s a brawny, broody Highlander, so hearing his thoughts about the heroine before they slept together was good, really good.

So, if you have a scene that must stay in your book, but it is not flowing right, try changing to the other main character’s point of view. It just might transform a forced chunk of pages into a scene that flows perfectly.

Anyone else use this technique?

For more information about Ms. McCollum, please find her here:

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