Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Can you see it too? POV conundrum

I was watching Make it or Break it the other night... the standard teen soap opera and one scene came on where the boyfriend of one (who's happened to sleep with best friend of girlfriend while the two friends were fighting, but now they've made up again and doesn't want to tell her about the incident) enters the room and the girlfriend flings herself into his arms and starts kissing him. I found it interesting watching the subtle movements, like his eyes wandering from girlfriend to other girl, his guilty expression and even the friend's envious looks.

The next thing that happened just tells me I'm either a writer or a tad loony (or probably both). I started thinking about how the scene could be written to convey the same emotions that were being displayed on the screen (hey, don't laugh at me... admit it, you've done this too).

The hardest things about rewriting a scene is trying to figure out the POV. Who's going to tell the story? And, let's face it. There was three stories going on in the one scene: The boyfriend, girlfriend and best friend (aka, other girl), there was also a fourth girl present at the time as well. Each person is going to have a different perspective whether it's envy, guilt, lust or even an unbiased outlook of the whole situation, and every person will know a little bit more or less information than the others.

Before I started to take my writing seriously I thought there could be only one perspective... the hero/heroine (but that was also around the time that scenes jumped to show every angle, both good and bad). Now, I've realised that there are many stories to tell.

Just try to imagine what other stories would be like if they were shown from a different POV. Would you feel sorry for Voldemort (from Harry Potter for those who don't know) if you heard his inner thoughts? What about an impartial view from one of the other Cullens on Twilight (especially Rosalie).

I believe (and I can be on my own here) that emotions and attitudes towards an event/character can change based on how the POV of a novel reflects the situation, both favourable or not. So, here's a challenge, either try to think of a novel from the villains POV or your next story think about how the reader would react to the bad guy if they heard some of his thoughts... why is he doing what he's doing? you might find out he thinks it's for the best (in some twisted way).

And, a here's final question, how do you go about choosing which character will be your MC? Is it always a simple choice or do you have many characters auditioning for the lead in your play?


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, most of the time, the MC just kind of develops. Except in one novel I wrote--I couldn't keep it to just one. I have teenager MCs, adult MCs, men, women. Well, the MS is a bit of a mess right now, but if I can work it out, it's gonna be pretty cool, LOL!

Great post!

lisa and laura said...

For some reason we always seem to have really strong secondary characters and usually have to put effort into pumping up our MC! We're weird like that.

Loved this topic!

Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

I tend to have two or three POV characters. I suppose I want to tell all sides of the story. :-)

Kerri Cuev said...

Ohhh goood post :)

I seem to try to keep it to one or two POV chracters. My new WIP is interesting for me because my mc is a guy.

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