Friday, December 14, 2007

Character Point of View Part 2

Since I posted a blog on Character Point of View earlier this week I’ve gotten a ton of email, IM’s and posts. Seems to be a topic worth returning to, and specifically with how that POV thing can be tweaked for effect.

I first experimented with shifting points of view for a scene in GHOST ROAD BLUES (Pinnacle Books, 2006), and in that case I had to select which character's point of view (even in 3rd person) would inform the scene. I had an ensemble cast and throughout the books different scenes were filtered through one or another character's perspective. And then I had a scene where three of the key players were in the same scene. Because I wanted an emotional connection to the scene I wanted to make sure that the scene played out from one character's POV. I wrote it three different ways -from the POV of the bad guy (Karl Ruger), from his intended victim (Val Guthrie) and from the hero (Crow). Each version made the scene feel different.

In the end I chose to begin the scene with Ruger's POV, because he's in charge of the moment; but as the scene moves on I gradually shifted it to Crow's POV as he begins to dominate the encounter.

I've gotten a lot of very positive feedback about the scene, which involves a seriously down-and-dirty fight scene in the rain. Some of the most stimulating feedback was from folks who have been in the fiction biz a lot longer than I have.

Experimentation expands the writer's mind!

1 comment:

Jim O'Brien said...

Jonathan, In "Dead Man's Song", you numbered your scenes, sort of like mini chapters. I think this not only moves the story along better, but allows you to shift points of view more easily.You once recomended reading "Comanche Moon," by Larry McMurty as the best example of multible points of view. He even does it in the same scenes, and its very effective. By the way, Comanche Moon will be shown as a tele movie starting 1/13/08, I think on PBS. Some of the writers here in Florida, disdain the use of multible points of view. They say it can confuse the reader by taking the story away from the main characters. I say, what ever works. Jim O'Brien