Ch 1 Blunders: Premature POV Changes

May Picture by Paul Klee:  one of Paul Klee's Magic Square series of oil paintings and watercolors that derive from the 1914 Tunisian watercolors in which he fractured the landscape into squares. They are also related to Klee's preoccupation with the laws of color, prompted by his teaching at the Bauhaus. #Painting #Paul_Klee #Magic_Squares(Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Don’t blur your reader’s vision of your story!

Last month, I received some fantastic feedback on the first quarter of my current MS. For this series of articles, I will draw from the remarks of my wonderful Beta readers and discussions I have had with other writers on these topics.

In some ways, I made it difficult for my readers to connect with my characters. Here were three bloopers that I made in the first chapter…

  • Establish the character first before changing points of view. This may mean that you keep the first chapter mostly or entirely in the main character’s (or villain’s) POV. Give the reader space to invest in a character before you change POV. A point-of-view switch will build reader if done after the reader cares about the character you are leaving for the moment.
  • Confuse the reader. Aside from caring about the character and needing to identify the main character, rapid POV changes can confuse the reader. Changing points of view means looking through another seet of eyes — and the minds behind those eyes. Gender, assumptions, mood, emotions, involvement, goals, and focus all change each time you change perspectives. Confusing!
  • Who is the MC? Okay, I did not use on in this book — but I have in others! Typically the character given the most POV scenes is the main character. the importance of other characters is often determined by the reader according to 1) the order in which the characters are presented and 2) the amount of “air time” each character is given.

DISCLAIMER: This was feedback for one author’s MS and should not be taken as all-or-nothing advice for all stories.


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