Please welcome return guest Jordan Rosenfeld, author of seven books, most recently Writing the Intimate Character: Create Unique, Compelling Characters Through Mastery of Point of View (Writer’s Digest Books). Her freelance work has been widely published in The Atlantic, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Salon, Scientific American, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest and many more.
Connect with Jordan on Twitter.
Perception and How to Identify POV Leaps
For many writers, point of view (POV) is an afterthought—an element of the craft you consider only after you’ve written a book to see if it’s working, or in frustration when it isn’t. Perhaps this is a failing of how POV has long been taught as a dry and dusty aspect of writing, considered nothing more than how you handle your pronouns, when in fact it is the foundational framework of writing strong characters, and something worthy of careful consideration in the first few drafts of your story.
POV is not only the storytelling engine, but the way you signal to the reader a character’s perception of the world around them through the senses, emotions and thoughts. It’s how you tell the reader: THIS is whose mind and heart you’re inside now. It’s also where you can learn to train your inner eye to catch POV leaps. If you’ve ever been told that you’ve made a POV error, or “leap” into another character’s head, and you’re not sure why, the answer is usually quite simple: You’ve moved from the perceptions of one character into the perceptions of another.
To break this down even further, let’s look at what I call “perceptual words”—signifiers that tell us who is having the experience, thus, whose POV we are in: [Read more…]