In the process of revising the scene I’m working on, I made my self a note:
It’s a credible draft, and everything I wanted to put in there somewhere is there.
But it lacks 1) a consistent pov – Andrew fades in and out
I took a minute to ask myself why I had this thought, and realized that it happens regularly: a scene feels as if the point of view is going back and forth from a general omniscient pov to the first or third person pov I’m aiming for.
On an impulse, I grabbed a bright pink highlighter, and went through the current paper draft marking the places where the third person point of view is locked into Andrew’s pov.
I mark the point of view character by:
internal monologue – his exact thought
internal monologue – everything else he has going on inside his head that I decide to share with the reader
the pov character’s way of describing another character, with his attitude built in
Andrew noticing and describing his own actions
Andrew’s words and dialogue markers
With that list, the solution was obvious.
There were a couple of stretches where there were no Andrew-anchors for the READER. The sections weren’t confusing – it was clear who was speaking of a small group of people, or what was going on – but Andrew’s presence on the page faded out when we didn’t hear from him for just a little too long – equivalent to maybe a third to a half of a page, double spaced.
To fix it, Andrew, as pov character, just has to check in with the READER – with any element on the list – every couple of paragraphs. The reader is depending on me to supply these stepping stones at frequent-enough intervals, and, as my own first reader, I noticed that the writer hadn’t done her job.
Writers play with the spacing, and it differs depending on the pace of the current section, but it is one more craft item for the writer to manage.
Mostly, I had it right – I do this by default as I’m writing. But in sections that had taken a long time for me to get the dialogue or the action right, the effect showed. And it’s best picked up in revising the scene or the chapter as a whole – if you make yourself aware of the gut feeling that ‘something isn’t right.’
Obvious? It wasn’t to me – which is the reason I’m doing extra blog posts about my creative process during the WeSeWriMo challenge: everything I de-mystify is easier the next time. Everything my brain creates a little list for is easier to check next time.
What works for you – to stay in the character’s point of view consistently in a scene, a chapter, a book?