Something that occurred to me regarding my writing a couple weeks ago: one of the things I’m ‘encouraged’ to do by those folks who are reading and giving feedback on my stories is to reduce the number times I switch the point of view during the story.
What I mean is this: we meet the main character. We hang out with them for awhile. Then there’s a little side thing with another guy. Then back to the main character. Then back to second guy. Then main character. Then we meet a third guy…
… and that’s Chapter One.
And I realized why I do that. It’s entirely from running roleplaying games for so many years. I’m automatically cycling through all the main characters and trying to make sure that (a) I don’t ‘play’ with just one character for too long and (b) everyone gets a turn.
It’s generally a good thing in games. It doesn’t translate well in fiction.
It does WORK, but you need to structure it very clearly. It took me three or four passes on Hidden Things before I started to feel like I really had a strong pattern established for when the Point of View switched away from Calliope… and, like most of the book, I’d already unconsciously established the pattern in the second two-thirds of the book, and simply needed to reverse-apply it to the first third. (Here’s a hint: the camera only leaves her when she’s asleep.)
I’m beginning to think that eighty percent of the work during revisions lies in looking at the good patterns that developed later into the book, and trying to apply all that good stuff to those first five chapters where you were flailing madly at the keyboard like some sort of fox hunt brush beater, hoping a feral story would flush out and make a break into open territory where it could be gunned down in a proper, civilized fashion.

One Reply to “PoV”

  1. Okay, that was funny enough to ring true, the part about GM’ing. I would think the idea should point you toward 1) more stories with a group of main characters rather than a hero/heroine, 2) making sure your groups stay together more while GM’ing…?
    [Whistle whistle whistle]

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