Point of view is the relative identification of the narrator with the character. Point of view is the story as seen through the eyes of the narrator. It is one of the easiest ways to tell a story. But even with a simple explanation like that, we can still get it wrong.
We are reasonably intelligent, even talented people. Why the confusion?
Film and Video games. Hell on POV
Film gives you the long shot, shows other people that the main character cannot possibly know or see. Film gives you zooming perspectives and close-ups. Film mixes it up. Film shows us who and what is around the corner. Film gives us the character motivation visually. We are used to knowing everything.
Video games are even better at violating POV.
You already know the cast of characters and their motivation and strengths because you reviewed them all before starting the game. When they pop up, you already know stories, motivation and moves.
Great for a game. Great for a film
Crappy for a novel.
If we already know everything, what is the point of the journey?
Here are some ideas:
Cleaning up POV
• Does your character suddenly know what the other character is thinking?
• Are you creating scenes of action or explaining motivation?
• Is there action that accompanies the dialogue?
• If the view from above a little mixed up?
• Have you decided on who is filtering the story and sticking to it? Readers will forgive a great deal, but not an author who violates his or her own world.
• In reviewing your second draft, ask the question, how does character A know that about Character B?
Solutions in the first draft
• Write the action from one point of view, all the way to the end of the story.
• Then write the same story from the other character. Now put them together. Sometimes all it takes is for us to be clear in our own heads who is talking to whom.
• If each character has a secret, and a history, that helps keep each one clear in the reader’s mind.
• Also if the other characters do not know the secret, then that will help notify you as you write if you’ve over stepped the POV and suddenly switched to mind-reading.
Be clear. Stay in the right head, stay with the right character. And everything will be okay.