Playing with Point of View

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Point of View

When I wrote my first book many years ago, it didn’t occur to me to write it in anything other than the third person point of view. In fact, I never really gave point of view much thought at all, and by default, my book ended up being an omniscient third person narrative. Years later, after attending many writing classes and workshops, I realized I’d committed what many consider to be a rookie mistake—head hopping.

I began to pay attention to what other contemporary authors were doing. Some wrote in the first person, others in the third, but most chose to filter the narrative through one character at a time. This meant if the character the reader was seeing the story through didn’t experience something, then the reader didn’t either.

Another nuance I noticed were those writing in third person present tense instead of past tense. For a long time, I found it jarring to read “She walks to the hallway and opens the door” instead of “She walked to the hallway and opened the door.” I would actually avoid a book written in the present tense. But over time, I came to realize every story calls for a particular point of view and perspective can make the difference between it being told well and being told best.

When I was working on The Veritas Deception, I felt that using a close third person point of view would make the story most compelling. In its earliest rendition, there were over ten point of view characters. Talk about reader confusion! Over time, I pared it down to four: the protagonists, Jack and Taylor, the antagonist, Damon Crosse, and a protagonist from the past, Maya Deering. There were a few more significant characters I wanted to let readers hear from, so I gave them their own point of view chapters, but sparingly.

During revisions, Maya’s story expanded, and I made the surprising choice to put it in the first person present tense. The point of view I most disliked in the past was now calling to me, and I soon discovered it was the only way to write the Maya perspective to best convey the urgency of her story.

I have learned a lot about point of view and now give it strong consideration in every book. Most of my books now have a combination of one or more points of view all dependent on which best suits the character and story. Who knows, I may even write another book from the omniscient point of view. The story will decide.

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