In the past two weeks I have written why POV matters and then we compared first person POV to third person POV. Today we’ll take a look at how you decide on a POV character and how to define their voice.
Your POV character is the character from whose perspective you are telling your story. It isn’t specifically the hero of the story but in most cases it is.
Who your POV character is affects your writing because everyone reacts to things differently and like different things.
So if you choose a book lover as your POV character and you let her into a study her eyes will notice the books.
If you choose a carpenter as your POV character and you put him in the same study, he will notice the bookshelves.
This is important because it effects how you will be writing the entire book. If you are writing in third person like we discussed last week then yes you can have more than one POV character, but are you sure that’s a good thing?
Every PO character you have must have their own voice and be indistinct enough that the reader can tell them apart even if you don’t say their names. So if you are new to writing than I suggest that you don’t have more than 3 POV characters. If you are experienced than you can have any amount under 7. If you are writing in 1st person than stick to only one POV character.
First you need to pick a POV character.
Things to consider before you decide is.
• How close to the action will this character be?
Your reader doesn’t want to simply read about a character drinking tea while his friends are out fighting a war. Your readers want to be in the middle of the story where all the tension is. So make sure that your POV character is involved in the story.
• Does this character have anything at stake?
We want your readers to care about your POV character not just everyone around them. Make sure your POV character has something at stake and then make sure your reader cares about it.
• How well do you know this character?
If you don’t know your POV character all that well than go figure them out. If you don’t know your POV character you won’t know how they view the world and you won’t know what to write.
• One last tip is that before a scene ask yourself who’s perspective will be the most interesting in this scene.
So now you have decided on a character you need to work on defining their voice. This is best done through writing exercises.
I start by simply writing a rough scene so I can get the general feel of my character. It’s often really bad but every here and there some piece of the writing strikes true and is my character’s voice. I read this over so I get to know my character a little better.
The second writing exercise I use is to imagine a scene in my head. I place the setting and the characters without so much as putting a word on paper. I then simply start making a list of things my character would notice in this scene.
The third exercise I do is asking myself, what kind of words do this character use?
A prince who has been educated would use different words to describe things than say an uneducated barber.
The words you use are important because people pick up different words and let it become a part of their internal thoughts as well as their dialog. Also if you are writing from the perspective of an artist you will need to have words ready for descriptions because simply saying that the girl had blue eyes and brown hair wouldn’t do if your character thinks in terms of ice blue and midnight blue.
Here is a final exercise for you.
If you are writing from more than one point of view than write a scene with all your POV characters in it. Make sure something happens to all of them. Now rewrite it from one of the other POV character’s perspective.
Rewrite the scene as many times as you have POV characters. Then compare the writings and see if each character has their own voice.
While writing, remember that each character have their own wants and their own set of fears.
I hope his was helpful to you guys, if you have any questions or something to add then don’t be afraid to do so.
How many POV characters do you have? Who is your main POV character?