Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Point of View Problems

One of the structural problems that worried me about Novel #4 was my changes in point of view. I went through my scene summary and highlighted whenever the point of view changed, using different colours for different POVs. I was surprised to see there were 4 different characters with a voice in the first draft of my novel. One of them only took the stage for a single scene.

I took a good hard look at whether those changes were necessary, and decided they weren't. Middle grade readers don't want to work so hard to follow a lot of different voices. So I rearranged some of my scenes. Cut some and invented others. This is so much easier to do when I'm looking at a summary of my scenes, rather than actual chapters. It turned out that I only need two different viewpoints, a main one and a secondary one. Yay!

Of course, now there will be a lot of rewriting to do, but I know it will improve the story.


  1. Hi Andrea -
    I'm a board book/picture book/early reader writer and have yet to figure out the novel form. Would it be possible for you to explain your "scene summary" system - how you do it, with examples? I can write beginnings, and I usually know how I want it to end, but how to get there is the tricky part!

  2. Susanna, creating a summary of the scenes is something I've learned to do when writing my novel, to make the revision process a little easier (or sometimes I do it after I've finished writing the novel). Basically, I keep a document with a brief description of each scene, with the characters and what they are doing that is important to the story. It also helps to remind me that each scene needs to have a role in moving the story forward. In my post above, I've added a link to a previous blog post where I've talked about this before.

  3. I love when you realize you can simplify your project -- even if simplifying it means a lot more work for you! It sounds like you're on the right track. Good luck!

  4. I love it when things start to come together in a novel project. Seems like this is happening to you.

    I'm sure that your rewrites and changes will make this novel stronger.

    Good luck Andrea. :)

  5. Great procedure. I agree that sometimes you don't need all the different POV's, and the story would be stronger without it.

  6. Three cheers for making your story stronger. I agree with Elana, it's hard to pull off multiple POVs (and usually I find them taxing).
    Good luck!

  7. I do something similar when I'm trying to figure out how many POVs I have, but I love the idea of highlighting and using different colours!

    (p.s. I also wanted to say to hi because I saw in your profile that you're from Mississauga, and that's my hometown!)

  8. Lydia, I try to avoid multiple POVs (except for one still unfinished novel where I tried to alternate the POVs of two girls). But this book seemed to need a different POV to show something that was happening in a different place from my MC.

    Hey, Jennifer - I think you're the first person I've met through blogging that's from here.


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