Tuesday, March 03, 2009

POV/Perspective

Recently I have noticed the biggest problem for new writer’s is not getting the story out, it is keeping the story consistent.

Consistency in POV and consistency with tenses. Sure I see alot of grammatical issues being tossed out there as a new writer, but POV is one tough element of the craft that needs to be honed and mastered.

Mastering the POV will help in keeping the work consistent.

We had an exercise this week in POV and when asked to shift pov, alot of people wrote the same exact paragraph and switched the POV from “He said” to “I said”. To me, shifting the point of view changes the perspective and the ‘who’ is seeing what and from whose point of view.

Here’s an example of something I’m working on: Two pov’s and different perspectives arise.

POV 1 ~ First person
As I hover over my lifeless body lying below me, I wonder where I am. The aroma of a fresh garden surrounds me making me feel like a weightless cloud. I want to yell down to myself, but I can’t seem to communicate from here. I walk slowly toward the endless portal that awaits me. I float like a feather on an endless air drifting into the unknown. No claps of thunder, no bolts of lightning, just eerie warmth surrounds me. A gravitational pull sucks me like a huge non-existent vacuum of space and time. I turn away from the light and try in a motionless effort to reclaim the body I left. Suddenly, I awaken to the trickle of an ice cold shower that releases me from the warm safe haven. I scan the bathroom and wonder how on earth did I get in here?

POV2 ~ Third person
Look at her, a lifeless form in need of assistance. She has left her body only to discover the realm of the unknown. The bright light that has hold of her won’t let her go. She can wriggle and worm all she wants but it is pulling with an endless flux of gravity. She knows this is the end of the line, the place she’s heard about but never wanted to be at the cusp of her youth. She's grappling with fear yet releasing herself without a fight, letting herself drift into the aromatic garden that waits. As moments pass, time is of the essence.
She needs to be revived; it’s not her time. Wait; look; she’s in bathroom shower. How on earth did she get there?

The same paragraph but from different perspectives, and two different pov’s. This shift sometimes confuses new writer’s because they can’t see from anyone elses eyes. They are looking at the paragraph and thinking they need to write the exact same words but change *I* into *She*. When I shift pov, I see from someone else eyes.

I think we need to look at perspective as much as POV. Work on the POV, sifting through all the knowledge you can and retry the exercise and I can bet you’re perspective will change too. You’ll be seeing through different eyes in no time.

Now get moving, Write Right!

2 comments:

Granny said...

Good one joni, you make it seem so simply and effortless. Very poetic too, which always shows through in your writing. No one but you could make POV sound like poetry. [LOL]
{{joni}}
granny

Anonymous said...

Good essay Joni,

I might add that learning POV shift
is not an option. If a writer is going to submit work, he/she must understand there is a good chance the editor may ask him/her to shift the story into a different pov. It's scary and it's hard, especially when moving from first person to omniscient, third person. You really have to know what you're doing. Learn it now, while there are other writers available who can help.
Otherwise, that story may never get published.

Raven