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John Tucker John Tucker
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Establishing A Character's POV - (Point-Of-View)


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Before I start, let me say that writers tend to gather in two distinct areas of thought when it comes to the literary field. You have your purists, and your rebels. The purists are the ones who want to restrain writers in the ways of the ancient ones – keep your story in one voice (first, second, or third person), start a novel's first chapter halfway down the page, and keep it in a linear path (from beginning to end).
The rebels are the ones who skirt, or openly defy the process. Use different points-of-view (POV) in every chapter, switch from third person to first person when the occasion calls for it, start a novel at the top of the page (save a tree?), and write their novel like Billy Pilgrim's odyssey in Slaughterhouse Five – back and forth from the past to the present, and even the future. If you are one of these rebels - THIS IS IMPORTANT – be sure to make it easy for the reader to follow these events in your writing. If you do – you will succeed despite what your critics say.


Now, establishing a POV is easy. When you introduce a character on page one, the reader is in that character's mind. They are privy to their reactions, inner thoughts, and deliberations. Some writers hold that a story should STAY in one POV for the duration – the only character the reader should know and care about is the main protagonist. The rest of the stories personage should be explained by actions or dialogue only.   A quaint notion that should have stayed in the eighteenth century where it belongs. Given the proliferation of television that started during the fifties, viewers and readers are becoming used to several characters in their books having a chance to tell their own story – be it the antagonist, the protag's first cousin, or the family dog. If they matter to the story – their voice matters as well.


There are certain ways to indicate a change of POV. From the innocuous skip-an-extra-line-between paragraphs, to using markings to indicate such a change – usually ****** or -------------. Whatever.
If you do change a POV from one character to the next, broadcast it in the first line of the new paragraph – by putting the reader in the characters thoughts, or in the middle of his dialogue using an action tag.


Example:


     Bill thought he would never get to the library on time, riding his bike like the hounds of hell were fast on his furious heels. He rolled up to the building, parked his bike in the rack and stared at the red-brick house of literature that was his second home.
>
Bill strolled up the steps and gratefully accepted the blast of cool air that enveloped him as he entered the Woody Pines Public Library.


          ********************
  
     Marjorie sighed in exasperation when she saw the weirdo who haunted her job amble through the front doors, wearing the stupid sweater vest that put him squarely in the dweeb department.
  


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