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JuliePgh
08-02-2010, 10:15 AM
I feel like I'm setting myself up for a fall with the pattern and shift in POV I've established in my latest WIP. I started off writing from the Heroine's POV, then shifted to the Hero's POV, and continued this pattern for the first 14 chapters. And yes, sometimes the shift is within a chapter, and not just from chapter to chapter (which also worries me).

Now I find certain scenes are dictating which POV I need to use to either create tension or pull away from some darker scenes (I don't want one dark scene after the next, but I need to put the Heroine through a few rounds of torture. I'd rather focus on the effect the torture is having on the H/H and not the torture itself.)

So, am I being unfair to the reader, after having alternated back and forth from the Heroine's to Hero's POV, by suddenly having several sequential chapters from only one character's POV? Should I keep a "set" pattern throughout the novel?

Thank you!

AngelaA
08-02-2010, 04:53 PM
My gut reaction is to say that you should keep the pattern you've already established. I read a lot of romance and unless the book is written from the start in one person's POV, I expect the changes of POV to be fairly equal.

I'm not sure what you mean by focusing on the H/H and not the torture itself...what's the point of having those scenes if it's not going to impact the relationship in some way or clarify the feelings of the characters for the reader? You don't have to give details about the actual torture but you can focus on the way the torture is impacting the two characters. Even with the purpose of moving the plot forward, with romance the relationship is central, so there should be some impact on the them and how they feel whether it's a personal revelation or something else.

I wouldn't close the reader out by focusing only on one POV or by white washing the whole thing with vague omni kind of telling. You also don't want to censor too much...

Susan Gable
08-02-2010, 06:44 PM
Do not make a pattern. <G>

The POV should be the person who has the most at stake.

POV doesn't have to be equal. Maybe, if you go back and look at the firt chapters of your book, you'll find places where you need to shake up a "pattern."

Just because a story is told in 2 POVs, don't mean they have to be equal. The story has to belong more to one or the other.

There are also parts in the story that are more one or the other's.

I usually have a third POV in my books, too. I let the story dictate when and how often that POV is used.

If you are literally torturing the heroine, and the hero is witnessing or hearing this, I think it's incredibly wise of you as a storyteller to show me that through the hero's POV. Show me how it makes him feel. I'm assuming he's helpless to stop it. That's got to rip his guts out if he's any kind of a hero. <G>

And that way, you don't have to go into the graphic details of what's being done to her. Or go into the graphic details -- depends on your book. Just remember, this is supposed to be a romance.

Best recent handling of torture of a character I can recall reading is Sheyilyn Kenyon's Acheron. See how some other authors have handled it.

But please, don't ever let yourself get sucked into the trap that "I did it this way before, so now I have to ido it exactly like that for the whole rest of the book."

Serve the STORY!!! Not "rules." :D

Susan G.

JuliePgh
08-03-2010, 12:58 AM
You don't have to give details about the actual torture but you can focus on the way the torture is impacting the two characters. Even with the purpose of moving the plot forward, with romance the relationship is central, so there should be some impact on the them and how they feel whether it's a personal revelation or something else.

I agree with this, I'm showing (not telling) some of the torture, to show how it impacts the H/H, but I don't want the torture chapter to make the book darker than it has to be.

Do not make a pattern.

The POV should be the person who has the most at stake.


That's a great way of looking at it. I'll have to go back with this in mind.


POV doesn't have to be equal. Maybe, if you go back and look at the firt chapters of your book, you'll find places where you need to shake up a "pattern."

Just because a story is told in 2 POVs, don't mean they have to be equal. The story has to belong more to one or the other.

There are also parts in the story that are more one or the other's.


I think I'll go back over my earlier chapters and consider "shaking up" the pattern, if I can. The other "trap" I think I'm falling into is having shorter chapters or sections when I switch to the other POV. I seemed to have changed my style since my last book somehow, based on the characters and story. When I started writing this one, I did not intend to have 2 POV or to alternate. That sort of fell into place.

AngelaA
08-03-2010, 01:39 AM
Kresley Cole, Rhyannon Byrd, Veronica Wolff and Lara Adrian (if memory serves)...all do this extremely well. You should check them out.

JuliePgh
08-03-2010, 01:47 AM
Thank you both!

Amergin
08-03-2010, 01:59 AM
Many (most?) of Jennifer Cruisies books alternate between Heroine and Hero POVs. I've never counted the pages but they seem to be pretty well balanced.
In one she co-wrote with Bob Mayer, there's also a 3rd POV, the villain.
("Don't Look Down" -- she wrote the heroine, he wrote the hero, I'm guessing he also wrote the villain, who was a rogue special ops type guy -- entertaining read, and also impressively seamless in style ;-D)

I think overall there should be an even balance, but it doesn't have to be exactly equal, or every other chapter. It's just that if you *do* set it up as every other chapter, then it will be jarring to suddenly go several chapters in a row in one POV or the other.

So tinker with how and where you break your chapters early on, or tinker with whether the later chapters really need to be in one POV only.

Susan Gable
08-04-2010, 06:39 AM
Actually...most readers who aren't also writers don't really notice POV.

Especially if you're doing a good job keeping the story interesting.

For years we all read omniscient POV stories, and it didn't bother us at all.

Nora Roberts said no readers ever got on her butt about "head-hopping" - only other writers did. Amazingly enough, her readers were perfectly capable of following the pingpong ball.

I'm not advocating head-hopping. I'm just saying, if you think the readers are keeping a score care of how much time you spend in each POV -- their not.

And if they ARE -- then you've got a bigger problem on your hands. Like a story that's not keeping your readers entranced.

Susan G.

Sassy3421
08-04-2010, 06:44 AM
in agreement with everyone here. use the POV best suited for a specific scene in your book. just be careful not to "bob" around the room from one person's mind to another. a new POV should be broken either by a scene break or a new chapter - which again depends on what best suits your book at that juncture.

something I experimented with after reading a book on the Writing Craft is breaking up a scene into segments to create more drama and tension. this allows you to "bob" without confusing the reader and get an overall take on what's happening from different POVs centering on what they have at stake. But I only suggest you do so at high stake moments and don't overindulge in this one.

tanglewoodtracey
08-04-2010, 07:34 AM
I feel like I'm setting myself up for a fall with the pattern and shift in POV I've established in my latest WIP. I started off writing from the Heroine's POV, then shifted to the Hero's POV, and continued this pattern for the first 14 chapters. And yes, sometimes the shift is within a chapter, and not just from chapter to chapter (which also worries me).

Now I find certain scenes are dictating which POV I need to use to either create tension or pull away from some darker scenes (I don't want one dark scene after the next, but I need to put the Heroine through a few rounds of torture. I'd rather focus on the effect the torture is having on the H/H and not the torture itself.)

So, am I being unfair to the reader, after having alternated back and forth from the Heroine's to Hero's POV, by suddenly having several sequential chapters from only one character's POV? Should I keep a "set" pattern throughout the novel?

Thank you!

I'm not sure how to answer your question Julie since I'm alternating back and forth as well. Personally, I want to keep mine in an equal pattern but your story may work just fine having several sequential chapters from one character's POV.

Play around with it a little. Mabye the answer will jump out at you. Good luck!

Flicka
08-05-2010, 04:25 AM
I always try to keep the 'who has the most at stake' in mind, but most often I end up with alternating every scene and equal time for H/h. It makes me nervous, like I'm being too predictable. ;)

JuliePgh
08-05-2010, 07:21 PM
I read a book recently that alternated chapter by chapter and it was predictable in that sense, but I don't think it detracted form the story. Though it's highly possible the story would have been more emotional if the "who has more at stake" concept had been employed. I'll have to see if I can find the book and look at it from that angle.

Sarashay
08-05-2010, 10:16 PM
The POV should be the person who has the most at stake.

I like this a lot and will keep it in mind as I continue cranking out my first draft. I've been going back and forth between the heroine and hero and each shift has just come with a sense of being the right time.

Satori1977
08-08-2010, 08:09 PM
When writing romance, I alway have 2 POV's, the heroine and the hero's. I think I focus more on the female MC, but I like getting into the man's head as well. I really don't think it has to be even, just don't go through half the book with one POV, then suddenly change it and add someone else. That would be confusing.

JuliePgh
08-08-2010, 10:33 PM
When writing romance, I alway have 2 POV's, the heroine and the hero's. I think I focus more on the female MC, but I like getting into the man's head as well.

When you switch to that next character, do you tend to continue the story line from where the previous person left off, or do you backtrack a bit to show how the same scene unfolds from the other character's POV?

Flicka
08-08-2010, 11:51 PM
I read a book recently that alternated chapter by chapter and it was predictable in that sense, but I don't think it detracted form the story. Though it's highly possible the story would have been more emotional if the "who has more at stake" concept had been employed. I'll have to see if I can find the book and look at it from that angle.

Well, I meant that when I try to stick to that principle that usually gives them alternating scenes. It's just how the story unfolds. Perhaps it's all due to keeping the story equally urgent to both characters?

At the same time, thinking about it, I probably do tend to give the heroine a bit more space altogether, but since I don't count I have no idea about the exact ratio. But I tend to keep a rather symmetrical pattern.

Satori1977
08-09-2010, 12:37 AM
When you switch to that next character, do you tend to continue the story line from where the previous person left off, or do you backtrack a bit to show how the same scene unfolds from the other character's POV?

If the two people are in the scene together, I only show one point of view (or might go back and forth a bit if it is really important to get both of their thoughts in there, but it CAN get confusing real quick....coming from someone writing it, and from a reader. I have read romance books that jump around so much, I never know whose head I am in. Can't stand that)

If they are not in the same scene, then I can show two different chapters occuring about the same time from two different POV's.

JuliePgh
08-10-2010, 02:37 AM
When writing romance, I alway have 2 POV's, the heroine and the hero's. I think I focus more on the female MC, but I like getting into the man's head as well.

When you switch to that next character, do you tend to continue the story line from where the previous person left off, or do you backtrack a bit to show how the same scene unfolds from the other character's POV?

tanglewoodtracey
08-10-2010, 05:49 AM
When you switch to that next character, do you tend to continue the story line from where the previous person left off, or do you backtrack a bit to show how the same scene unfolds from the other character's POV?

Julie - I do both. There are certain chapters that end in her POV and then pick right back up in his and then there are other chapters that are told from their particular POV's because only one of them is in it and/or only they have the information that will move the plot along. I have backtracked only once but I thought it was really necessary to show the beginning of what happened in those chapters from both perspectives.

Hope this helps.

Tracey

anne_holly
11-20-2010, 10:20 AM
I'm getting my butt kicked by an editor on a seek an destroy mission for any and all minute traces of head hopping, and now I hate that phrase. It doesn't bother me when I read it, but editor seems to think readers are too slow to catch on to what's going on unless everything is purely in straight-forward POV. sigh.

I do switch POVs within the same chapter (with section breaks), esp if the two sections are taking place at the same time. For some reason, so far only my erotica has been single-character POV. My romances, I like to cover both - otherwise the relationship seems hollow to me.

I am glad for this thread. Thanks!

Jax3683
11-20-2010, 07:06 PM
I can't tell you how much I appreciate this thread as a new writer.

I have been "hopping" POV between my Hero and my Heroine, depending on who's view is more important (who has more going on in their head at the time.) And I've been doing it in pretty much every chapter. (Mostly just halfway through the chapter, sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.) I also try to make it very obvious on who you are seeing the story through.

I'm hoping that I'm doing this right.

anne_holly
11-20-2010, 07:12 PM
I remember some of my mum's very old Harlequins were told completely from the heroine's POV, so you never ever knew the hero except as someone who moved about mysteriously in her world, and we never understood what he was about. I didn't care for those - seemed flat and old fashioned to me. The hero is just an object, and I find I care a bit less about the relationship b/c I am only seeing one side of it. I like the meat of both perspectives (as a reader, as well as a writer).

Jax3683
11-20-2010, 07:58 PM
I remember some of my mum's very old Harlequins were told completely from the heroine's POV, so you never ever knew the hero except as someone who moved about mysteriously in her world, and we never understood what he was about. I didn't care for those - seemed flat and old fashioned to me. The hero is just an object, and I find I care a bit less about the relationship b/c I am only seeing one side of it. I like the meat of both perspectives (as a reader, as well as a writer).

This is my fear, especially with the romance genre! The Hero is an important part of the story, and knowing how he feels (to me) is a huge chunk of why you want the couple to succeed so much.

If you didn't have his view, then I would think your book would be a better fit as Chick Lit.

anne_holly
11-20-2010, 08:27 PM
This is my fear, especially with the romance genre! The Hero is an important part of the story, and knowing how he feels (to me) is a huge chunk of why you want the couple to succeed so much.

If you didn't have his view, then I would think your book would be a better fit as Chick Lit.

Or old school gothic romance where you don't know if the hero is really Bluebeard or something until the end.

jana13k
11-21-2010, 04:17 AM
Do not make a pattern. <G>
The POV should be the person who has the most at stake.

POV doesn't have to be equal.

Susan G.

Agree 100%.