Wrestling POV – How Do You Choose?

I woke up this morning and got some photos of the full moon setting during a lunar eclipse, the second full moon this month, and during the supermoon cycle. That makes it a super blue blood moon, which is a mouthful. Because our bedroom window looks west, we were able to lie there when we woke up around 5:40am, and watch the shadow cross the moon until totality. I live in a magical place.

Yesterday I started on a draft of THE ARROWS OF THE HEART, the next book in The Twelve Kingdoms/Uncharted Realms saga. For those familiar with the series, this will be Zyr and Karyn’s book. And, for those who get my newsletter – if you don’t, and want to, sign up is here – you know I did a survey on whose point-of-view (POV) to tell it from. Because, clearly, I’ve been wrestling with this issue for a long time. 

These results were fascinating and unexpected – especially that so many readers were good with alternating first person. But they also didn’t give me a definitive answer. All you people who trust me to just tell a good story! I love you, I really do. BUT YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

See, normally, POV is not a question for me. The traditional advice – and I think it’s good advice – is to take the POV of the character with the most at stake in a scene. This works much better with alternating POVs, however, when there’s freedom to choose a POV based on stakes. And which gives weight to alternating first person POVs.

In this series, however, I’ve always done a single First Person POV. I think there’s something to be said for sticking to a single form. Like, Shakespeare wouldn’t start writing plays in rhyming verse instead of blank verse. Not that I’m Shakespeare! But I do believe in creating coherency in a series, for a common feel. In addition, each novel in this series has been from the heroine’s POV. I’ve always felt that’s important, as it seems so much fantasy dwells on the male gaze. (Some of the novellas have been in the hero’s POV, or even in third person alternating, but I see those as subsidiary to the main arc.)

Still, this hasn’t been a no-brainer on this book. It should obviously be from Karyn’s POV – but I keep thinking about Zyr’s POV and hearing his voice in my head. Many of you – and writer friends I whined to who likely aren’t reading this – said to just go with it! Write it the way you want to!

So, I *did*! I started yesterday and wrote a page or two in his POV and…

………………it’s all wrong. 

It’s something, and I’ll keep it, at least for a while, but I think this is a case of pushing through the wall. (I talked about that at a panel recently, nicely summarized by Shannon Moreau here.)

You know what decided me? I started thinking about the cover and working on that with the fantastically talented Ravven, and I only see the heroine on the cover. That says a great deal.

So: opinions from those of you who haven’t weighed in yet?

8 Replies to “Wrestling POV – How Do You Choose?”

  1. I’ll be honest and say you are one of the few authors I’ll read who write mostly in 1st person POV from one character. I started The Twelve Kingdoms series with the first novella which had both characters POV, so didn’t even realize the books were 1st person POV when I bought them.

    I know it’s much easier for the other character to have secrets when we don’t ever see their POV, but I miss it when we don’t get to really know both the main protagonists.

    So, yes, I will read whatever as I trust you to tell a good story. But of the choices above I’d prefer alternating 1st person POV. I can see why that could be difficult to structure (more so than 3rd person POV I would think) so I understand it may not happen often.

    1. I find alternating 1st person kind of jarring as a reader, but I will be doing it in the new series with St. Martins! It’s not so much difficult to structure as…just a different way of telling the story. As a writer, I kind of like that not knowing what’s going on in the other person’s head, like in life 🙂 I’m glad you got suckered in though!

  2. I’m not a fan of 1st person to begin with, and 1st person alternating is atrocious – I have yet to see it done well enough that I didn’t want to throw something against a wall. I love multiple POVs, but only in 3rd.

  3. I had assumed this one would be from Karyn’s point of view. Zyr would be interesting but I feel like Karyn, given her upbringing, is the one who has the more complex inner journey and I think her story would really resonate with women.

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