The dilemma of choosing POV

Karalee’s Post #105

I’m well on my way writing my next manuscript.

My main character is a displaced detective trying her hand in a new business venture. I’ve written many of my major scenes awhile back and over the last couple of months I’ve dedicated time to early preparation for my daughter’s wedding this summer. Alas, my story has sat mostly idle.

That means that I’m catching up with it again and glad to say that I’m loving the story! It amazes me when I leave my writing and come back to it and I get excited all over again. I feel like shouting, “Damn, I can write!” The feeling feeds my passion, and us writers need a boost once in awhile to keep going.

But now I find myself toying with character POV. I know you are probably saying, “Isn’t it a bit late? Why didn’t you decide before starting to put words to paper?”

Well, I thought I had. Rather, I started writing in third person because that’s what felt the most natural at the time. I didn’t really decide up front in my outlining. I guess I let my muse decide at the time.

While rereading my manuscript I’ve realized that, although I’ve written the story in third person, I have my main character in all the scenes and in her POV too. Not even my antagonist has a scene in his POV.

My story could easily be written in first person.

I didn’t consciously do this. I’ve written many stories and all in third person multiple POV’s. All that is, except one. The last novel I wrote I tried out first person. I enjoyed the close in-your-head perspective and maybe I continued in this manner without actually planning it.

Now I seem to be in-between the two! Should I make the switch to first person? The reader would be closer to the main character. But then I’m restricted to only her POV, although I could still write my antagonist in third person without a problem. That could be a good option.

I need to give my story more thought and decide if I want another POV character. Will I have a better story if I do? Should I give the antagonist his own scenes? One thing I can say for sure, writing is never an easy task!

My options are still open.

How do you decide what POV to choose when you write?

As it happens, Nathan Bransford has a post today about POV called 4 tips for handling multiple perspectives in a third person narrative. It’s worth checking out.

Next week I will address another perspective to be aware of in our writing.


Writing Progress: Good progress reviewing my very rough first draft. Considering my POV choice.

Writing Distractions:  

  1. One thing leads to another and I found myself with paint brush in hand and touching up the baseboards and door-frames in my old and now my new office and the hallway between! Not in my original plans for the week, but it looks great!
  2. Vancouver’s winter is so mild that the crocuses and daffodils are blooming. The garden called very loudly and I spent a day cleaning out old foliage to make way for new. Oh, I also went to a garden shop and got some primulas. Gardening is my other passion….
  3. Ongoing photo project. I’m digitizing old photos at home on a scanner and have sent video tapes off to be digitized through Costco.
  4. Got my tax stuff done. Awesome!

Treats eaten: homemade apple crumble after said tax stuff done!

Movies/TV watched: Happy Valley on Netflix, catching up on Downton Abbey.

Books reading: Gabor Maté’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, books on writing. I’ve downloaded a few from James Scott Bell.

Perspective Photos taken this week:









venza mirror







Happy writing!

6 thoughts on “The dilemma of choosing POV

  1. Well said Karalee! Given where you are in the book, this is actually kind of a nice problem to have. You’ve left yourself good options with only one POV character so far. Why not try rewriting a chapter or two in first person and see how it feels? It may actually bring you closer to your protagonist and force you to see things a little differently through her eyes and “voice” — even if you choose to stick with third person in the end. Good luck!

    • Thanks Silk. Yes, this is a good problem to have! I enjoyed writing first person and may try a scene in that POV to see how it feels.

  2. Ugh, I recognise this dilemma. I wrote half of my last novel three times, changing from third, to a mixture and then to first person. There it stayed. Now writing the next one I am struggling to write in the third person and I have multiple openings… it’s a mess. So I sympathise.

  3. I started writing one book in first person and simply lost my taste for it. My dilemma was that it started to feel like a memoir! I’m a private person and that didn’t feel right, especially because I would get off on tangents of things that were important to ME, not my MC. I tried once again and felt like an actor trying to get into a part. Didn’t work; I’m no actor. Now anything I write [except comments like this!] is written in third person, single POV. I can pretty much get into the character’s head, but they remain a separate person. Multiple POV has never appealed to me even in reading, I think because none of the books I grew up on [learned to want to emulate] ever used more than one POV, and if one did, it irritated me — like whose story is it, anyway? In writing, like reading, I prefer concentrating on one character arc throughout the book. But this blog post has given me some things to consider, so I may try it in the future:

    • Thanks for your comments Eugenia. I’m glad you may try writing with more than one POV character. I enjoy writing this way as well as being privy to more than one character’s world view when I read a book too. That said, the first time I wrote a book in first person it was very satisfying as well. All this has shown me that every story can be written multiple ways. Sometimes the difficulty is choosing what best fits the story you want to tell.

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