Wondering how to deal with point of view (POV) in story? I’m working with an author who got a mixed review on Amazon.com due to shifting points of view. In getting ready to meet with her, I’ve been studying information and examples on point of view in both stories and in reviews.
More than thirty readers gave overall good reviews to the novel of the author I’m working with, so their points of view on point of view appeared to be that shifts did not interfere with their enjoyment. However, one reviewer noted she could not keep going in the book due to POV shifts, which she said came up from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph at times. So, there sits the question of how much does one story element matter to how many readers?
The author I’m working with, as most of us, wants to understand the issue better so she doesn’t repeat it. Or if she does, it’s intentional.
In preparation for our meeting, I reviewed my blog post on the elegant shifts in point of view in Harriet’s Doerr’s omniscient POVConsider This, Senora. This process reminded me of a mixed review I got last summer for House of Dads.
This mixed review was from a well-known professional review company, and included many positives about House of Dads. However, it was negative about the points of view. It is true that I use three points of view in both House of Cuts and House of Dads. However, the shifts occur only at the start of chapters. I use first-person to show what’s going on in the mind of my villains, as I love to explore interior changes causing a normal person to transform into a killer. In House of Cuts, we hear Melvin the mad butcher telling his story from inside his mind, going berserk. In House of Dads, we are in the mind of Violet, a new female CEO, as she schemes to keep control of “her” company. In both books, the protagonist, Hillary Broome, and her love-interest detective, Ed Kiffin, are shown in third-person chapters, the narrator reporting what they do and say with a few peeks into their thoughts and feelings.
Clearly, my three points of view in House of Dads were too much for the big-name reviewer to handle. She wrote that House of Dads chapters alternate between third- and first-person points of view, which she calls a confusing choice that makes it hard to figure out what happened. Okay, that was her point of view about my points of view. No other readers have ever mentioned that aspect. I have trimmed book three in the series–House of Eire–to two points of view–the villain and the protagonist, hoping to be less confusing.
So, today, pondering points of view about points of view. Do you have a point of view about it?