Monday, 1 August 2016

How I Decided on the POV for My Books

POV is extremely important to the reading experience and it’s not a decision to be taken lightly by the author when penning their story. Should the story be told from one person’s viewpoint? In the first person? Or a third-party narrator? Would it be beneficial to have members of the supporting cast telling a portion of the story too? What if each chapter was from the POV of a different character? Wait, what if it’s necessary to flit between the various characters’ perspectives within a scene/chapter?

And what will the readers make of it? Some like to get inside the heads of each of the main characters of the story, whereas there are those who prefer to see the world through the eyes of one character only. I recently read a review on Goodreads where the reader stated that they won’t even consider reading a book if it’s from multiple POVs. Writing as a neutral, all-seeing, all-knowing, third-party narrator isn’t easy, either…

I will outline below why I decided to write my Poison Blood Series in the first person POV and why I opted for a ‘third-party narrator’ for my Soulmates Saga.

When I sat down to write the first scene of my debut novel Chasing Pavements (The Soulmates Saga, Book 1), I was going to write the contemporary romance novel from Mukti’s POV only. She’s thoughtful and observant, making her the perfect story-teller. Before I wrote the first sentence however, I realised that wouldn’t work. The male character, Jamie, is introverted and not particularly verbose. It would be difficult for Mukti to relay to the audience what was going on inside his head, because he rarely told her. And there are events that Mukti doesn’t know about, which are instrumental to the story and need to be conveyed to the audience. I also wanted the readers to get a peek into Jamie’s head too.

This meant I’d need to write from Jamie’s POV too. The problem was, I’d recently read a very good historical novel where the author wrote from the POVs of several characters (one character per chapter) in the first person, and I hadn’t enjoyed the mind-hopping. The characters were so well-developed and the author had really gotten inside their heads, and I think that’s why my head hurt a little when reading the multiple POVs.

I wanted to alternate between Mukti and Jamie’s thoughts in the same chapter, but in a way that wouldn’t make the reader feel like they were constantly jumping from one person’s head to another. So, I decided to go for a ‘third-party narrator’, which would be ‘biased’ towards one character at a time. It’s like writing from the first person POV, but instead of saying, “It was awfully quiet in my head,” it would read, “It was awfully quiet in his head,” and use the character’s name or he/she instead of I/my/me. Once I was done writing a scene from Jamie’s perspective, that section would end, either as a chapter-end or, if it’s the same chapter there would be a * underneath the final sentence of that segment, before switching to Mukti’s viewpoint.

It turned out to be a great decision because, as the novel progressed, I wanted to write from a few other supporting cast member’s viewpoints too. I changed the style and vocabulary to suit the different characters’ personalities, the sentences longer and more convoluted for some, and shorter and concise for others, depending on how their minds worked, how they looked at the world. This meant, you really got a feel for each of the characters’ internal workings, but weren’t completely immersed in their ‘voice’ to feel discomfort when the narrative switched to someone else.

With my paranormal romance series, Poison Blood, I knew that the majority of the series would be from one character’s POV, Ellie’s, and so I went with first person POV in the present tense. I hadn’t written in present tense before, or from one POV, and really enjoyed it.

The downside is that if the other characters in the story are keeping secrets from your protagonist, secrets that the audience needs to know about, your readers will not have all the knowledge you want them to have. And you can’t have a big bulk of the book dedicated to the protagonist learning those secrets, with the required amount of detail - the commentary becomes long and boring. In the Poison Blood series, I decided that Christian’s secrets (well, the majority of his secrets) were worth sharing with the readers, so I wrote one whole book from his POV (Poison Blood, Book 2: Absolution) to shed light on the events of Poison Blood, Book 1: Revelation and throw a few extra questions out there too.

So, that’s how I decided how to approach the narrative for my books. Simply put, I chose what made most sense for the novel I wanted to write and the message I wanted to convey.

Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, click the image below to learn more about it:

Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.

And the first two books in my urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords

PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Vampire Romance / Paranormal Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!

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