POV Part 2 by Joan Vincent

Yesterday I asked you to highlight each switch in point of view. Below I have done just that. Below I’ll have some information about how to fix POV.

Red is for Eldridge, Green for Omniscient, Blue for Richard


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.

POV affects the mood and the voice of the story. Each character’s POV brings its own freedom and limitations. You have to decide which POV makes it easier to develop your characters, which reveals the information you need to make known and which makes the story stronger or weaker. It often takes strategy and maneuvering to figure this out. The paramount point is to always be certain you are totally IN the POV you have chosen. Take the switch from Richard to Omniscient and then back to Richard in the last paragraph of the scene. The Omniscient POV is intrusive and totally out of line. Perhaps Richard SHOULD notice Eldridge’s smirk. Would the story be stronger if he did?

Below is my attempt to put the scene completely in Richard’s point of view. Print it out and compare it side by side with the original to see how I did it. A site that has useful information and examples on fixing head hopping is WritingWorld.com. Do you have any “tricks” that make POV easier? Please share!

Dremore started to turn as they headed toward the footman only to be halted by a gentleman who blocked his way.

Tonight not even Eldridge can mar the evening, Richard thought as he took in the square face of his first cousin with its chiseled features so like his own. He knew this and their similar build and blond hair caused casual acquaintances and strangers to mistake them for each other. But Eldridge’s frosty grey eyes, thankfully different from his dark blue, as usual had a gleam Richard could not like. He banked his impatience to find the lady with whom he longed to share the evening.

“The old pile is in fine fettle this eve. Does you proud,” Eldridge drawled with his usual touch of sarcasm.

You never change, Richard thought. He quashed unwelcome memories of their childhood together. His parents had raised Eldridge with him when his cousin was orphaned. Eldridge knew perfectly well that the ancient house, a dozen furlongs from the newer family mansion, was kept in good repair because of a codicil in the first baron’s will. It unpleasantly dawned on Richard that Eldridge would also deduce his mother had demanded the soiree be held here despite his objections.

“Still cowtowing to your mother’s whims.”

The purr in his cousin’s voice confirmed Richard’s thought.

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

“’Haps you should have remained in London,” Richard snapped. If only he could slam a fist into the man’s face and wipe off that smirk.

“Never think I meant to offend.”

Richard took a step to pass Eldridge. He arched a brow in surprise when his cousin laid a hand on his arm.

“My apologies,” Eldridge offered. “I did not mean to offend. 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 exploring this heap. Remember that day we removed the panel in the library?”

Those long ago days are better forgotten, Richard thought. 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? Richard wondered. What does he want? He always wants something.

As Eldridge nattered on Dremore’s thoughts went to the guest he most wanted to see. Despite an acquaintance of only a scant week with Miss Stratton, he was beyond fond of the young woman. 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. Richard’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 style 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. 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.












14 comments:

Becky A said...

Thanks Joan for your clear instructions on POV. POV is always difficult for me and this helped a lot. It will mean more work, but better now than 20 rejections later! I knew I was doing something wrong, but never could figure out what until I read your blogs. I tend to become omniscient in the middle of someone's POV. AACCKK! A difficult thing to avoid since as the author, I do know everything. Double AACCKK!

Thanks for your great blogs.

Joan Vincent said...

Becky, POV gives me trouble at times. A change in it can sneak in so easily like going to the omniscient and back. I thought, hoped the example would be clearer than any explanation. Thanks for the compliments.

Becky A said...

The sad part for me is that I don't see the POV changes when I read, or write. When I read through Part 1, I was looking for them but didn't really find them. When I'm writing, I think I'm doing okay and then someone else reads my stuff and points them all out to me. I try, but I just don't see them. Maybe I'll get an editor who loves Georgette Heyer! Otherwise, I'm probably in big trouble. Thanks again for the great blogs. I'm going to print them off and see if reading them over and over will help my POV blind brain.

Roxann Delaney said...

Wow! Good job, Joan! Well done. And not a simple task.

One trick that can help stay in POV is to write it in 1st person. Use "I" to start. It can be changed to 3rd person ("she") later.

Pat Davids said...

Awesome job, Joan. It makes one think you may have been a teacher in the past.

POV is one of the hardest things to learn when a new writer is starting out. I head-hopped like mad in my first ms without a clue that I was doing it. Once someone pointed it out, I went, yeah, I see that now.

Starla Kaye said...

An excellent job, as always, in teaching a very important writing element. I think all writers struggle with POV, no matter how many books you've written. It is just so easy to slide out of a character's POV and into another's.

Reese Mobley said...

Thanks for the refresher course. POV is something I think everyone struggles with at one time or another.

Joan Vincent said...

Becky, lots of authors head hop. I've noticed it more since I worked on sharpening my skills with it. JD RObb does is constantly. That said, until we're that famous we need to conform. I never really thought about it nor evidently had a big problem with it--at least none of my editors have ever asked for changes due to POV. But I did have it with Never to Part probably because it has had so much revision. Getting it straightened out taught me a lot. Now I've added POV to my editor's hat list. For some reason when I'm in edit mode I tend to catch much more than when I'm writing.
Don't despair over POV--it'll come.

Joan Vincent said...

Rox, I've heard from other authors that that works. Seeing examples seems to help me "get it" most and that second web site I cited cleared a lot up for me.

Joan Vincent said...

When I realized I had a problem with POV in Never I printed it and went through it highlighting each character's POV with a different color--just the first two words of a paragrah. That really brought home to me what I had done wrong and made fixing it much easier.

Joan Vincent said...

Starla, I agree that it is far too easy to slip into different POV's. I think Rox, Pat, and you have both said single POV per scene often enough that I've finally gotten it--or hope I do!:)

Joan Vincent said...

Thanks for stopping by Reese. What would we do if we didn't have POV to work on? I know, I have a million come backs to that one myself.

Roxann Delaney said...

Ah, but Nora has always head-hopped. That doesn't mean everyone else can. Changing POV within a scene can be done, but it must be done well...and flawlessly. There are tricks, but first a writer needs to learn to stay in one POV. It's that thing about knowing the rules to know how and when to break them.

Roxann Delaney said...

It wasn't all that long ago that romance novels were written only in the heroine's POV. We've gained a lot of ground since then.

Staying in one POV for each scene makes it easier to write 'deep POV' where the reader learns more about the character's emotions. Besides, not every action needs to have a reaction by the other character. It can also lead to having a scene with 5 or 6 characters' thoughts and becomes extremely confusing.

I admit, I must have somehow internalized POV while reading all those hundreds (thousands?) of books, because I don't have a big problem with it. A blessing, for sure!