POV and More (Rox Delaney)

This is the third start I've made on this blog post, not sure exactly what I want to blog about today.  POV is actually our 'topic for the month,' but we don't always stick to the topic.  Hey, we're individuals!

If you're struggling with POV, Joan Vincent has two fantastic blog posts on the subject that can put you on the path to understand.  Check them out!

Recently I've been reading YA novels.  Why?  Well, writing for middle readers (ages 10-12) and young adults is where I began my journey.  My oldest daughter, who is still a voracious reader, was inhaling Babysitters Club books at the time, and I decided I wanted to give it a try.  But instead of sticking with Babysitters Club type books, I searched for other books and authors.  I found some fantastic ones.  Mary Downing Hahn (who I actually met!), Cynthia Voigt, Norma Fox Mazer, Paula Danziger, Lois Duncan, Louis Sachar, and Jerry Spinelli (who I also met).  And that's a partial list, which is growing, now that I've begun reading YAs again.  I already have a favorite new author and am reading my way through her list.

So what does all that have to do with POV?  Books for children and teens are written primarily in one POV.  Not all, just the majority.  It's been quite a shift from romance to YA, but I'm enjoying this newest journey.  I can't think of once that I've wanted to know what one of the other characters is thinking or feeling, even when romance is involved.  If written well, I can guess.

Modern romance novels (especially series romance) also began with one POV--the heroine's.  We often had to wait until the end of the book for the hero's motivations and true emotions to be revealed.  Since that time, romance novels have evolved and now offer both the heroine's and hero's POV.  The hero has become a full and complete character, and we see him as we do the heroine, warts and all.  Suspense books often include brief glimpses into the villains POV.

Outside of romance, there are books that go into the POV of multiple characters.  These are usually books that have more than two main characters, each with their own POV.  Stephen King's The Stand is a popular example, where POV changes occur at chapter changes.  Because his characterization is so thorough and well done, with each character having his or her own distinct 'voice,' there's no question of who the new POV character is at the beginning of a new chapter.

If you're having problems understanding POV, there are tricks you can use to help.  Marking character POV with different color highlighters, as Joan did in her example, will help you see POV switches.  Another way is to write a scene in first person (I and my, instead of she and her), then change it to third person.  While reading published books, try being more aware of the POV of the characters.  Many authors switch characters only at a scene change and never within a scene, while others switch only by chapter.  Others, who have mastered POV switching, can do it within a scene, but most don't do it often.

It's fun to discover the likes and dislikes of other readers (and writers!)  So here are some questions:

In a romance novel, whose POV do you enjoy reading the most?  The hero's?  Or the heroine's? 

Which one do you enjoy writing the most?

6 comments:

Reese Mobley said...

Rox, I enjoy reading the female POV a little bit more than the male's. I've heard that some famous writers can get away with going into the dog's. I'll bet that would be fun to write.

Fae said...

I was thinking about POV the other day...and where I should put the story I'm working on. For me a story always seems to move faster in one viewpoint only (or sometimes chapter changes but that is mostly related to fiction where the characters accomplish different things apart from each other). I hate head hopping in scenes because it feels like the flow is broken up too much. But, that is me. :)

As for YA fiction, I read it occasionally too. A good story is a good story no matter who it is "aimed" at. My favorites are Robin McKinley (who writes YA and adult) and Jane Yolen.

Fay

Roxann Delaney said...

Reese, sometimes I like writing one better than the other. I've enjoyed the male POV in romance. I love to confuse them! (They're so easy to confuse. LOL)

And I have seen a couple of those books where the dog has its own POV.

Roxann Delaney said...

Fay, interesting point that the story moves forward faster with one viewpoint. I'll have to consider that.

As for head-hopping, the problem I find is that I'm not able to get to know at least one character well. I like to be able to get into deep POV, whether reading or writing. Writing made me more aware of head-hopping.

Penny Rader said...

Rox, I love to read YA books. There are some fabulous stories out there. They have to be good to keep the kids' attention.

I like to read both the female and male pov, but I don't like being confused as to whose head I'm in.

Another thing to think about is how much suspense do you want the reader to be in? I'm reading a Dean Koontz book right now. He gets into several POVs, mostly the main character, Tina, and her love interest, Elliot. Because Koontz lets me into the POV of Elliot, I can relax a bit and know that he's helping Tina and is not a bad guy. If we didn't see his POV, I'd probably be wondering if he was a bad guy and was just biding his time. It could be that in your book you want the reader to hold her breath and wonder whether the hero really is a hero. Does that make sense?

Penny Rader said...

Rox, I love to read YA books. There are some fabulous stories out there. They have to be good to keep the kids' attention.

I like to read both the female and male pov, but I don't like being confused as to whose head I'm in.

Another thing to think about is how much suspense do you want the reader to be in? I'm reading a Dean Koontz book right now. He gets into several POVs, mostly the main character, Tina, and her love interest, Elliot. Because Koontz lets me into the POV of Elliot, I can relax a bit and know that he's helping Tina and is not a bad guy. If we didn't see his POV, I'd probably be wondering if he was a bad guy and was just biding his time. It could be that in your book you want the reader to hold her breath and wonder whether the hero really is a hero. Does that make sense?