Picking a point of view

I broke a thousand words yesterday, but not without quite a bit of serious wheel-spinning first. If I were to include all the words that I wrote trying to figure out what I needed to write, I’d easily double that word count.

My problem, I realized eventually, was that I was in the wrong point of view. My Saturday words (which I still love) were in Natalya’s point of view, but since she can basically see a bit of gravel and some night sky at the moment, I needed to be looking through someone else’s eyes. I thought that would be Rose. But Rose didn’t have anything to do in the scene, no action, no agency. Eventually I realized something that I keep needing to rediscover–scenes in which the point-of-view character is simply an observer don’t work for me. I wish I could remember that before I start writing.

I think for my next novel I might really try writing a scene map ahead of time — not just an outline, but a detailed plan where every scene has a goal and a purpose, and I know where my highs and lows will be. With my usual writing style, I know where a story begins, where it ends, and a few scenes in the middle, but weaving those pieces together takes words. I’ve sort of thought that if I had it all mapped out, the actual writing would bore me–I love the little surprises along the way, the discoveries that circle back to previous moments, and so on–but it might be worth trying just to find out. I’ve wasted a lot of time on this project with words and scenes that went nowhere. I’m a little afraid that when I start editing, I’ll feel that way about more of them than I even realize now. But that’s for worrying about sometime in December.

Goal today: 1000 words.

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4 thoughts on “Picking a point of view

  1. I’m just setting foot into my manuscript, but I am very much appreciating the fact that I created a full outline for the story. As I finish each scene, I am leaving notes for myself regarding the next several.

    It’s providing me with guideposts, but there are still surprises to be had.

  2. I agree with Tom about the outline being “guideposts”, because that’s what it is for me too. There is still always room for my characters to run their own routes down the field.

    Wendy, I love what you said: “Eventually I realized something that I keep needing to rediscover–scenes in which the point-of-view character is simply an observer don’t work for me. I wish I could remember that before I start writing.”

    I rarely enjoy a scene (even as a reader) from a passive character’s POV. And I’m not sure I knew at the time that was why those scenes (by various unnamed authors) bothered me. But you put it into words that gave me a WOW moment. Of course, I do give allowances for characters that may be tied up or something equally constricting. (No, I wasn’t referring to erotica there. 😉

  3. I’ve always had an outline of sorts and a plan for the book, so I’m not a true seat-of-the-pantser. But it’s never been detailed down to the individual scenes. I may make that my November project, though.

  4. Pingback: Point-of-View Poll Results and Story Update | Emilia Jordan

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