Thursday, September 23, 2010

Point(s) of View

I would like to address the whole question of point of view as it applies to our novel. Nearly all of our characters, at one time or another, are center stage with us inside their heads. Is this typical? To have so many points of view? No, not typical, but also not unheard of.

One scene between Bella (the mob boss’s daughter) and Kelly (the main character’s girlfriend) was written from Bella’s point of view. We managed to communicate the necessary information to move the story forward, but in a fairly dull exchange with more “telling” than “showing”.

Changing the POV to Kelly breathed some life into the scene. She’s lying in bed at 2:30 in the morning when her doorbell rings. Who could it be? No good news can come at that time of day. Should she answer it? Somebody’s trying to kill her boyfriend, and maybe they’re trying to kill her, too, but would a bad guy really ring her doorbell? Kelly has been living in constant fear, which we found added to the tension and humor of the scene, making it much stronger.

Now we’re trying to decide about another scene between two bad guys, each thinking that they have the upper hand. How should we choose? By the character who has the most to lose? By our favorite bad guy? By who could make it the funniest?

I’ve seen writing exercises where you’re instructed to write the same scene from different points of view. To do a whole novel that way would be time consuming and exhausting, and I’m just not interested. What I am interested in is telling the strongest, most amusing story we can, so occasional exercises in point of view are bound to be expected.

So what did we decide about the bad guys? We don’t know yet, but I’m thinking we could go with the character who can communicate the most information in the smallest amount of space.

Then again, we may go for the laugh. It’s still a work in progress.

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