POV Part 1 by Joan Vincent

Point of View (POV) – the perspective or viewpoint from which the story is told.
The POV choices are: Omniscient narrator, limited omniscient narrator, objective point of view. For a review of these terms go to the Literary Terms website (scroll down to POV—the site is alphabetically arranged and quite interesting) To see an example of a brief story written in each follow Sleeping Beauty link, available beneath the POV list on this site.
POV involves, at the very basic, level two things:
1. Deciding which POV to use
2. STAYING with the POV of the character you’ve selected. Switching POVs abruptly and often in a scene is called Head Hopping. That’s because in one character’s POV you can only write what THAT character would do or know or see or think. Any other character’s thoughts, knowledge, etc is a hop to a different head. This is Verboten in most instances. Scenes are to be from one point of view but that can be tricky to achieve.

Below is part of a scene that I wrote that has frequent switches in points of view. See if you can recognize where they occur—the first step in fixing such a faux pas. I suggest you print it out and highlight the first part of each switch in viewpoint using different colors for different POVs.

Eldridge Blanchard blocked his cousin’s way when Richard turned from greeting his last guest.

First cousins and the same age, Dremore and Eldridge were at times mistaken for one another by those not familiar with the pair. They were tall and well formed with faces more square than long, with chiselled features. Both were blond though Richard’s thick mane curled at neck and forehead while Eldridge wore his swept back.

“The old pile is in fine fettle this eve. Does you proud,” Eldridge drawled even though he knew as well as Richard that the ancient house, a dozen furlongs from the newer family mansion, was kept in good repair because of a codicil in the original baron’s will. “Still cowtowing to your mother’s whims I see,” he continued, certain the dowager had insisted the week of activities be held here. Having been raised with Richard after the death of his parents Eldridge had diligently ferreted out all of the family foibles and skeletons.

Richard, accustomed to his cousin’s cutting jabs, and eager to be on his way, merely nodded.

“I do hope she isn’t taking guests to visit the portrait. Could prove--well you know,” Eldridge finished with a smirk.

Hackles rising, Richard took a steadying breath. “’Haps you should have remained in London,” he said shortly and made to pass his cousin.

“Never think I meant to offend,” Eldridge drawled as he manoeuvred the baron so that his cousin’s back was to the chamber. “My apologies,” he offered. “The Haven and its grounds are truly beautiful this time of year.

“Do you recall my first summer here? Lud, what a time we had we had exploring this heap. Remember that day we removed the panel in the library?”

Those long ago days were better forgotten as far as Richard was concerned. The consequences of his cousin’s “little pranks” had usually fallen on him. Why has Eldridge trapped me in “conversation” this eve only to prattle nonsense? Dremore wondered. What does he want? He always wants something.

As Eldridge nattered on Dremore’s thoughts went on the guest he most wanted to see. Despite knowing Miss Stratton but a few days he missed the young woman’s company. Everything in his life brightened for having met her, even Heart Haven.

Miss Stratton. He unknowingly half smiled as he pictured her delicate oval face and extraordinary blue eyes. This eve I shall gain permission to use your given name. Dremore’s smile broadened. Daphne.

Would she wear her neat braid of rich brunette neatly coiled at the nape of her neck or adopt a more frivolous still for the party? A feathering of wayward curls about her face, golden highlights shimmering amidst the coffee brown tresses would prove irresistible. Such beautiful hair, Richard mentally mused not noticing Eldridge smirk at his inattention. Such kissable lips. I cannot regret that I dared more than kissing her hand when we strolled alone in the gardens yester day. Richard sighed.

Tomorrow I will post a copy of the above paragraphs with each POV in a different color. You will see that it is far too colorful! I will also include my “Fix.” If you’re feeling energetic you can write your own fix and compare it to mine