Monday, April 28, 2008

POV Is A Tricky Thing

I thought I had it planned out well from the beginning. And I told myself I wouldn't change it. But now, after having written my entire manuscript in first person point of view (POV), I've decided it needs to be third person POV (past tense, more than likely limited).

I'd started pondering the possibility of such a change a week or so ago, and by Saturday I was convinced it's what needs to happen.

Going through the ms for this change, much of which I've already edited, both daunts and excites me. It will be a mundane, time-consuming task to convert all the Is and mines to shes and hers. But I think it'll give way to a better story, and prove helpful for my job of showing vs. telling.

Has anyone else made a similar change so late in the process?

15 comments:

Turkey Lurkey said...

My first ms (82k) was present tense, third person. Although it has some great scenes, I need to reconstruct the entire plot. So I am reluctant to even touch it yet. I have to wait for the story to 'speak' to me again.

My second ms was also present tense, third person. I realized 1/2 way through it, that writing in that style made the story sound like a script. So I went back and replaced all the 'es' with 'ed'. Now it seems more like a book.

Janna Qualman said...

I know what you mean, Turk. Sometimes it just doesn't feel right. I got through chapter 1 last night, and it just has a better ring to it now.

Jes said...

I've only done this as a learning exercise on how to write third person, close. It was only a couple of chapters so it wasn't tedious at all, but I can imagine that an entire ms might seem daunting. One chapter at a time, sweety, and you'll see it won't be so bad. You can do eeeet!

Janna Qualman said...

Thanks, Jes! Everyone's support really means a whole heckuva lot to me.

Anonymous said...

My current WIP is 2/3rds 3rd person past, 1/3 1st person past (a different character).

Perhaps I have attention span issues, because I like mixing it up.

Wendy

Janna Qualman said...

That sounds cool, Wendy! Nothing wrong with mixing it up. :)

Melanie Avila said...

Good luck! You know it's the right decision when you choose to do it even though it means tons more work. You could take the easy way out and declare it good enough, but now it'll really have a chance to rock.

Good luck! (just make sure to save a copy of the original...)

Turkey Lurkey said...

Janna, would you like for me to add this site or Sally's site to my blogroll?

Wendy Pinkston Cebula said...

Did you see this thread on AW?:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=100923

Rebecca Laffar-Smith said...

Follow your instincts and have fun with the changes. You'll create a whole new, more powerful story as you make those changes and don't forget sometimes more than "I"s and "mine"s need to be changed. Beware of any in the head moments. One advantage of having written in first person originally is that you should already have avoided wandering into the heads of other characters. That's one of the hard things I have to beware of when I'm writing in third person. It can be easy to slip into a different characters POV.

Janna Qualman said...

Wow, Wendy. How crazy someone posted my issue. Thanks for pointing me to it!

Janna Qualman said...

Turkey, absolutely! Both! :D

Janna Qualman said...

Rebecca - I am discovering there's quite a bit more of which to be aware. But I think all the work will be worth it in the long run. Here's hoping! :)

Travis Erwin said...

I've never switched from first to third that deep in, but I have cut multiple POV's after a first draft and then had to go back and find a way to get that info to the reader.

And I've also decide to add a new POV but I do that reluctantly since it can be the easy way out and smack of lazy writing if you're not careful. I'm a big believer in only having the amount of POV necessary to tale the story. Even one too many can kill the flow and tone in my eyes.

Janna Qualman said...

You make a great point, Travis. Thanks for stopping by again!