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He or She, How to Choose?



Until the other day and, based on a reviewer’s comment to the differing points of view in Shattered Illusions and Danielle’s Touch, I’d never really given the ‘how I decide’ whose head to crawl into, too much thought. But looking back on my stories, I realized that yes, I do write from the POV of the character with the most to lose, or gain. But how do you choose when the hero and heroine’s loss or gain is equally matched?

While writing Shattered Illusions it was natural to find myself in Cage Sinclair’s head, and to pretty much stay there the entire story. He’d spent ten years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and the woman he loved more than life itself had helped to put him there. She’d hidden truths that had cost her dearly, but in the end things aren’t as black and white, or as cut and dried as they seem.

In Danielle’s Touch the heroine struggles with domestic violence issues and a manic, stalking ex-husband, but the hero, Ethan McCord battles demons of his own—loss and grief.

There’s a natural mourning process intertwined with issues of mistrust and doubt for both characters. It only seemed natural to show emotion from both POV’s, and then from the dark and twisted mind of the antagonist. Danielle’s Touch would not have the emotional impact that it does without multiple perspectives.

Another interesting thing I’ve learned is…I enjoy delving into the male psyche and especially that of the bad guy.

Man in Shadows

As a reader, does it bother you to come across a POV shift at a scene or chapter break? And, as a writer, how do you decide? Which POV do you prefer, male or female?

Trailer and buy links for Danielle’s Touch and Shattered Illusions are below. Watch and enjoy!
Danielle’s Touch @ Passion in Print

Shattered Illusions@ Pink Petal Books


8 responses

  1. Absolutely! Nothing jars me faster than having a POV switch in mid sentence, page or paragraph. Tight POV is a must. I hate it when I have to go back a page or more to find out where the pov switched or even whose pov I slipped into as I was reading.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:15

  2. Thanks for commenting Faith. But I was talking about at a scene or chapter break. Not mid sentence or mid paragraph. 🙂 *Head hopping* Guess what I was asking is…do you stay in one POV the entire book or story?

    October 26, 2010 at 5:15

    • Whoops! Sorry, Lisa. I was reading in a hurry and misunderstood!

      October 26, 2010 at 5:15

  3. POV switches while reading doesn’t bother me, if it’s obvious we’ve jumped to another person and especially in large stories. Every now and then I mess up and switch POV’s and don’t catch it until my editor does. lol How I decide on the POV to use is well just recently I wrote a Halloween story and it was going to be from the female POV but it didn’t work that way. Good thing I enjoy writing from the male POV. lol

    October 26, 2010 at 5:15

  4. A POV switch at a NATURAL BREAK in the story, such as a scene shift or chapter break, doesn’t jar me out of the story. I like storie told from multiple viewpoints. But one thing that does throw me out of a story is a POV shift in the middle of a scene when it’s not clear who’s head I’m in. If I can’t tell who’s emotions I’m reading, I pull back and go “where am I, who am I” and if I can’t tell, then I close the book.

    October 26, 2010 at 5:15

  5. That’s okay, Faith. I figured you were in a hurry. 🙂

    Cassie, I still have my times where I slip too. Wish it wasn’t so, but mine are mostly the hairy little POV issues where it could go one way or the other with just a simple word change or action.

    John- I don’t like to backtrack to find out who’s talking or thinking either, or POV shifts without warning. But the reviewer had me thinking about why I write one story one way, and another totally different. I found it interesting. 🙂

    October 26, 2010 at 5:15

    • Hi Lisa,

      POV can be hard. I tend to use the old tried and true method of going into the POV of the person who has most to lose. Some times I twitch in the middle of a scene, but onlly if I feel that the story calls for it. Mostly I stay in one POV until there is a natural scene break or the end of a chapter.

      And yeah it does bother me if there’s a lot of head hopping, because that’s when I get confused in whose head I’m in.

      If the writer moves the POV the middle of the scene, but makes it very clear whose head, I think works just fine. I’ve done it myself, lol.

      I like Danile’s touch and found it creepy how you were able to get into the head of the bad guy. GFY.


      October 27, 2010 at 5:15

      • Thanks for stopping by, Janice. I’m with you. As long as the POV isn’t head hopping and we can tell whose head we’re in, I’m good with multiple points of view in a story. 🙂

        And thanks on the bad guy POV. I had fun with it in Danielle’s Touch. Glad you enjoyed the story.

        October 28, 2010 at 5:15

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