She said, he said, I said, you said

I wrote the first draft of my novel The Girl From Oto organically (after doing a lot of research and plot planning). It evolved as a series of scenes because that’s how it seemed to work best given my schedule. (I write an average of about 3 hours a day but usually break it up over the course of the day.) Then I shared my draft with a bunch of beta readers, got great ideas for revising it, and set to work. All went well for a while. Until I became hyper aware of my habit of switching points of view (POV) constantly. I began to feel nervous about all of my POVs. They were unruly, popping up everywhere at random. Some of my scenes stayed within one character’s head, while others switched POVs every few paragraphs. I started wondering if I needed to corral my POVs, force them into a pattern. In short, I began to wonder if I was a cotton-headed ninnymuggins. (Yes, I did just watch Elf).

To clear this up, I started trolling around the Web looking for answers. What I found was confusing. Some writers insisted on clearly defined rules about POV usage. For example, only one POV per chapter. Terms like “Godlike external narrator,” “psychic distance” and “free indirect style” were bandied about. The more I read, the more I sank into a quagmire of self-doubt. How had I attempted to write a novel without an encyclopedic understanding of first-, second- and third-person narration? Self-flagellating thoughts ensued.

But then I found writer Emma Darwin’s blog posts about POV. After reading her advice, I now have a much better understanding of POV. Whew! Thanks, Emma.

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Amy Maroney

I'm a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and daughters. It took 4 years to write and publish my first novel, The Girl from Oto. Before that I was a writer and editor of nonfiction. This blog charts my progress as an independent author navigating the fog-shrouded switchbacks of "authorpreneurship." Come along for the ride...I hope what I've learned along the way can help you, too!

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