point of view

Help! I can’t work out my point of view on point of view

I’m feeling the wind in my sails at the moment as I review the first draft of my novel and consider the changes needed. It all felt murky for a while but I’m suddenly seeing with clarity which bits need chopping and changing.

The mist came down however once I hit the issue of points of view! With the hope that by writing it out some clarity will come, here it goes:

I’m using third person narrative (subjective) but I feel pretty certain that I don’t want it all from my main character’s POV…so this means changing POV.

As soon as I wrote that, I started challenging myself why I felt so certain?

  • My main reason is fun – my WIP is light-hearted and changing point of view lets me have a playfulness and irony at the expense of the protagonist.
  • I also use it for suspense – so the reader knows things she doesn’t know.
  • I also enjoy a change of personality and tone and way of thinking / speaking. I think it gives a breath of fresh air to the reader, a spring in the step of my prose.

So that’s the case for the defence! These problems then follow on…

  • It works out that the first different point of view (i.e. not the protagonist) doesn’t appear until the end of Chapter Three (I have quite long chapters – currently ten in total – made up of several scenes). I’m worrying that this will be a bit weird as the reader may not be anticipating a change after that long. The only way round this would be to have the POV of an incidental character earlier, which I don’t really want to do because…
  • I’m worried I have too many points of view. I obey the “rules” and don’t jump around within scenes but I have a total of (pauses to count) seven in total and some of those only have the POV baton quite fleetingly. At this point I am reflecting that none of my reasons above are to reveal depth of character but this is probably also true for three of the seven who are used more in depth.
  • I am also pretty sure that I don’t particularly want an even distribution of points of view – it’s going to be mainly my protagonist. I don’t think this should matter? Note the question mark of doubt!

At this point I think I will park all those thoughts and go off and read around the problem. Plenty to read on the most excellent Itch of Writing (actually, MASSES to read now I look…) and I like nothing better than an excuse to flick through my books on writing. I may also pick up some favourite novels in the same ballpark and see how they handle it.

Comments, thoughts and suggestions very welcome!