fiction · Uncategorized

Point of View: The Irresistible Novel

It’s time for my ninth week reporting on The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke. This book is about structuring your novel and finding your voice as an author. Nothing mentioned in this book is meant to limit your writing or to be completely prescriptive, rather the information contained within its pages is to cause writers to think through their decisions. This book is making me more and more confident about my writing voice each week. I’m learning what I prefer and thinking about aspects of writing that I otherwise would not have considered.


Point of View

Point of View (POV) refers to whose eyes the reader is seeing the story through. Oftentimes writers don’t start out with any one POV in mind, but as their story develops it becomes necessary to nail down a particular perspective. There are four major categories when it comes to POV:

  1. Omniscient– Also known as head-hopping. This is a POV that was more popular in the past than it is today. It is when the reader knows the thoughts and motivations of all the characters of the story. This POV is sometimes nick-named the God POV, because like God the readers know even the innermost thoughts of every character in a scene.
  2. First Person-This POV is categorized by the use of pronouns I and me. A story told in the first person focuses on the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of one character per scene (and oftentimes throughout the entire novel.) This POV is best when it comes to creating an intimate connection between the reader and the character.
  3. Second Person-Rarely is it ever acceptable to use second person POV in a novel. This POV uses pronouns like you and we and is generally reserved only for Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, cookbooks, and blogs.
  4. Third Person-The third person POV is used when the author focuses on the story from the perspective of one character per scene using pronouns like he,she,her, and him. With the third person POV authors may choose to focus on one character throughout the entire book or they may switch from scene-to-scene or chapter-to-chapter depending on other elements of the story. However, most third person novels focus on the narration of one character.

According to Gerke, the general rule for writing novels in the current market is that authors should focus on First or Third Person POV. Second Person is laugh-worthy in the novel field and the problem he sees with the use of Omniscient in current books is that it is outdated. Famous authors of the past used omniscient POV successfully, but it has become widely unpopular now because as Gerke puts it, “If we’re in everyone’s head equally, then no one really is our home team.” (Gerke 67)

When it comes to writing your novel a few important tips:

  1. Know that there are exceptions to every writing rule.
  2. Evaluate your story and the type of connection you want to provide between your characters and reader.
  3. Choose the POV that will execute your desired results.

My Current Project…

In my first book I chose to use the Third Person POV. My story is about the relationship between a father and son and so I chose to alternate perspectives from chapter to chapter. The whole book remains consistently in the third person, but each chapter focuses on either the father or son’s viewpoint.

In my reading experiences I have seen this done successfully many times. It can be a challenge as a writer at time because you are forced to limit what is known at different points throughout the story, but it really helps to create connections when a story has two main characters that eventually cross paths or experience something thrilling in the climax.

I’ve recently begun drafting my second novel. Lately, I’ve done a lot of Young Adult reading and have been inspired to write my own version of the post-apocalyptic genre. I’ve decided to use the First Person POV to convey my story and the perspective is a teenage girl from England. I’ve really enjoyed using some of my English experiences to inspire a futuristic world of my own creation. I get why so many authors are trying their hand at dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature–it’s so much fun!

What is your favorite POV to read and why?

The Ameri Brit Mom

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