Friday, April 20, 2012
Point of view in stories makes a novel as significantly noticeable as genre. Whether you write in first person or third person, or even the anachronistic storytelling second person, editorial standards demand you don’t switch at random. I can understand this to some extent although the golden rule of ‘there are no rules when it works’ apply here as always. It would be extremely difficult to go from first to third and back again without the reader bailing on us. I’ve only done first person once and it took me nearly half the book to get comfortable. When your fictional world is created in first person POV, every action, every scene, and every thought must be related by that main character. You can get a little something going in dialogue interchange, but even that must be perceived by the main character.
The omniscient factor of third person POV drew me in as a writer. I love reading a novel with POV changes even in the midst of the same scene – and believe me, before the editorial nation went to war using the head-hopping banner, it was done regularly. It still is by some of the big names. What this foolish affectation no-no does is strip third person POV of a very appealing tool. If we want to create a scene where the hero and heroine interact with comical or romantic inner dialogue, we as writers are forbidden to do so without breaking the scene up, no matter how plain it is to the reader about which character is speaking and thinking. Granted, getting an agent or publisher to even look at an unknown writer’s novel rivals hitting the lottery or being struck by lightning lately – so, having a few creative tools stripped from our writer’s toolbox shouldn’t really bother us, right? Wrong! It bothers me. :)