Friday, January 14, 2011

POV Violations

Some Point of view (POV) changes are disruptive and obvious, others are subtle and debatable. It’s the ones that deal with actions that I have trouble with. In the 6 examples below, we are supposed to always be in Skye’s POV. Which ones would you consider POV problems?

For example in #1, do you believe Skye can be aware of her eyes popping wide as she stares at her boss, or is this something another would be observing about her? What are your thoughts about the following examples?


1) “Dear Darlene?” Skye’s eyes popped wide as she stared at her boss. An advice column?

2) An indulgent smile lifted her lips as she crossed her arms and stared at her sleeping sister.

3) Her scowl deepened.

4) Skye’s face crumpled into lines of disgust.

5) Her eyes widened.

6) Faith opened her mouth as if to explain, but then frowned and changed her mind.


Vince said...

Hi Theresa:

I don’t have a problem with any of the above. (Unless the book is written in the first person.)

There is also the author’s POV.

When I read a physical description at the start of a chapter, I know that is the author speaking. If the description is of mountains and a sunset, as far as I care, no character needs to be looking at the view. The character could be asleep at the campfire.

‘Head hopping’ is a real POV problem when the reader cannot tell who is thinking what or who is doing what. A really skillful author can hop all over the place if the words allow for no misinterpretation as to who is saying or doing what. It is very hard to do this but with unique characters who might speak and think in dialect, it could be done. Just don’t try it at home! : )


Theresa said...

Thanks, VInce.
Good reminder of what point of view is supposed to accomplish--identify who is saying what. I agree head hopping can be skillfully done at to not pull a reader out of the story, but it's a very advanced skill that few authors seem to be successful at.