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Thread: POV shifts in a scene

  1. #1
    Kimber Vale Kimber's Avatar
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    Question POV shifts in a scene

    Help me out here, people. I'm revising a story that had too many POV shifts in a couple of scenes. One was a sex scene, the other an action scene with simultaneous action going on with the MCs in different places (that comes together). So, I've been asked to fix my frequent shifts. I'm wondering if it would be odd to have a chapter (sex scene) start with my chick's POV from start to finish, then have a POV shift to him, that overlaps the same scene?

    Part of me is like--one person should tell each scene, essentially, but at the same time, he is an alien, and has an entirely different take on the sex, the names of things, and his POV gives a fair amount of back story/character development. I'm torn. I need to look at some other books to see if it is occasionally done that way...


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    Tribal Wanderer Writelock's Avatar
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    I'm my opinion, the question isn't has someone done this already, but how the reader will react. Is the POV shift something they will have to plow through, or will it make them say, " Holy hell, I never thought of it like that before."
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  3. #3
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    Especially in some sex scenes, it is important to tell both sides of the story. To do this, you have to split the scene with separate POV's. The trick is to do it so there is no jarring effect to the reader.
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  4. #4
    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimber View Post
    Help me out here, people. I'm revising a story that had too many POV shifts in a couple of scenes. One was a sex scene, the other an action scene with simultaneous action going on with the MCs in different places (that comes together). So, I've been asked to fix my frequent shifts. I'm wondering if it would be odd to have a chapter (sex scene) start with my chick's POV from start to finish, then have a POV shift to him, that overlaps the same scene?

    Part of me is like--one person should tell each scene, essentially, but at the same time, he is an alien, and has an entirely different take on the sex, the names of things, and his POV gives a fair amount of back story/character development. I'm torn. I need to look at some other books to see if it is occasionally done that way...
    Since you're being asked to "fix" frequent POV shifts within a scene, I'd suggest having just one POV per scene. If the alien POV is more interesting and adds more to the story, just use that.
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    Misbehaving and stuff Beachgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
    Since you're being asked to "fix" frequent POV shifts within a scene, I'd suggest having just one POV per scene. If the alien POV is more interesting and adds more to the story, just use that.
    ^This. Use the character that makes the scene the most interesting. You could always use the other POV for a subsequent sex scene, so that everyone gets a turn at having things from their POV.



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  6. #6
    Kimber Vale Kimber's Avatar
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    allenparker-That's what I had originally, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.

    I hate to cut things, but I may have to, or else try to work them in elsewhere. Don't really want to add another sex scene--got enough of those, I think. The editor did say I could do one POV shift per scene, and nothing is repeated as far as dialog the way I have moved things around now. More like her POV ends when she gets off (tee hee) and --rewind-- his different take on the sex act. I guess I could try to rewrite it so his thoughts are beginning at the end of the snoo snoo, keep it chronological. Sort of a--man, that was fun, but weird, back on my planet blah blah blah.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch...that's odd, Kimber never has a second cup of coffee at home.

    Now I'm just procrastinating.

    Maybe I'll drop her a line. I just don't want to be a nudgy PIA. I'm low maintenance, I swear!

    Thanks for the input, all!


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  7. #7
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I've used in-chapter POV shifts, when I want to get inside different characters' heads. I use one POV per section. LI has a specific house style to designate that, so experienced readers will get the cues. I still try to show whose POV is up now in the first line or so of the new section.

  8. #8
    Playing the waiting game MsLaylaCakes's Avatar
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    I've had the "1 POV shift per character per scene" comment in my edits too. Takes a while to fix.

    If you would rather not cut, maybe use his POV later as a flashback? I've read a few authors who've pulled of 'he remembers a previous sex scene while he masturbates' angle' (though I was almost 100%certain at the time of reading that this was a writearound for a POV issue. Still worked though)
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    Tribal Wanderer Writelock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsLaylaCakes View Post
    I've had the "1 POV shift per character per scene" comment in my edits too. Takes a while to fix.

    If you would rather not cut, maybe use his POV later as a flashback? I've read a few authors who've pulled of 'he remembers a previous sex scene while he masturbates' angle' (though I was almost 100%certain at the time of reading that this was a writearound for a POV issue. Still worked though)
    O.o. That is simple, yet brilliant. I may have to steal that idea.

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  10. #10
    Kimber Vale Kimber's Avatar
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    I've shifted chapters around a bit--hope that isn't cheating--and just squished all of hers together, all of his together, for each scene. Eventually I'll read through and try to smooth it out.

    Layla/Tara did you end up cutting a lot?

    I don't think my alien knows how to masturbate... :'(


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  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Great thread, and one I've considered starting recently. I've been hemming and hawing over this particular group scene in which the action is related over multiple PoVs as it progresses, and while I absolutely love the way it feels right now--and loath the idea of a massive rewrite--it seems my instinct that it's too "scattered" are spot on.

    Damn it!

  12. #12
    Playing the waiting game MsLaylaCakes's Avatar
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    Steal away Neporsche! (I think it was Lisa Marie Rice who did it...though she might have written it as a masturbation scene from the get go)

    Kimber-that wasn't an option for me actually. The R&R I got asked me to rewrite that chapter so that there was a single POV shift with the focus being on the heroine's POV (awfully, specific, I know). I ended up just starting the sex scene over from scratch and it turned out longer than the original.
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    practical experience, FTW shayla.mist's Avatar
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    Hi Kim. I'm happy to have stumbled upon you here.
    Honestly, I've just recently read a book from one of my favorite authors which happened to have dual pov and the same scenes was repeated from both characters' perspectives. It was so boring and annoying to read the same things over again. Even the sex scenes were getting boring. i hated it so much that I didn't even last until the middle before I dropped it altogether. So, no, i honestly don't advice you to do this.
    Ultimately, though, just go with your gut inst5inct and forget what anyone else tells you. that always works.

  14. #14
    Smutty McTitters Ann_Mayburn's Avatar
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    Here is how I boil down multiple POV shifts in a chapter. If I get confused as to whether or not the person who's POV I'm in has a penis or a vagina, you have too many POVs.

  15. #15
    Naked Futon Guy allenparker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimber View Post
    allenparker-That's what I had originally, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.
    To transition smoothly between POV's in sex scenes, I try to move them into one character, one motion, and in complete rhythm first. Shift to a point where the first POV is less dominant and the second becomes stronger. Then when I add the **** and line break, it is less jarring.

    Starting with the new POV active but less strong allows you to ease them into the process and allows for a smoother transition. The one thing I usually mess up with this is not getting the second POV strong fast enough.

    Just a thought, though. YMMV.
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  16. #16
    Kimber Vale Kimber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allenparker View Post
    To transition smoothly between POV's in sex scenes, I try to move them into one character, one motion, and in complete rhythm first. Shift to a point where the first POV is less dominant and the second becomes stronger. Then when I add the **** and line break, it is less jarring.

    Starting with the new POV active but less strong allows you to ease them into the process and allows for a smoother transition. The one thing I usually mess up with this is not getting the second POV strong fast enough.

    Just a thought, though. YMMV.
    Interesting ideas. I do agree that it should be apparent whose POV it is from the first sentence--start off strong. Guns blazing and all that.

    Ann--I hate when I confuse my penis and vagina! I wrote this quite a while ago. The shifts seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm thanking my lucky stars I didn't do it in subsequent WIPs. Not fun to fix. :/

    Shayla--I think I've worked it so as not to be repetitive. Fingers crossed.


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  17. #17
    Easily Amused ebbrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsLaylaCakes View Post
    I've had the "1 POV shift per character per scene" comment in my edits too. Takes a while to fix.

    If you would rather not cut, maybe use his POV later as a flashback? I've read a few authors who've pulled of 'he remembers a previous sex scene while he masturbates' angle' (though I was almost 100%certain at the time of reading that this was a writearound for a POV issue. Still worked though)
    I like this idea.
    I switch POVs, but not within a scene. When I cannot decide which POV to write the scene in, I wonder which character has the most at risk in that particular moment, and go with that.
    As a reader, I get too distracted by head-hopping, but I could go with telling the same scene from 2 characters POVs if it is well written.

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