Changing POV changes everything sometimes.

I started playing with this new character. His name is Reve. Well, technically, it’s Reve sau Callingbordon but we’ll just call him Reve.

I’ve now written almost three stories with him as a character. He’s fun to write about. He’s very quiet, doesn’t get angry easily, and works hard. His race also has this mental ability for sense just emotions, but it varies and his rating is really high, yet he doesn’t care about it. His father is dead, his mother is blind from a work accident and he has four younger siblings.

I’d give you more history, except what I keep doing with him is writing short stories about him. It’s fun. It’s, like, how did he get his original job? Or, what happened with his first assignment? Those kind of things.

One day a couple weeks ago, I was walking across campus. It was the early morning time, when it’s cool and crisp and just beautiful. I began to think about how his character would respond to walking across campus like that and from there, developed a story.

The basic idea went along these lines:

  • He sees a girl being mugged. Fights off the guy and kills him. (This is well within his personality.)
  • Turns out that the way in which he killed him was totally illegal. He didn’t know.
  • Meets his lawyer, who basically gives him no hope and is totally clueless.
  • Meets a psychiatrist, who figures out how much he didn’t know.
  • Gets free from everything.

Can you see the problem with that?

Maybe you can. Maybe you can’t. The problem is that Reve doesn’t do anything. For the majority of the story, he sits in prison. He can’t do any research, he won’t fight, and he’ll just do nothing.

I kept thinking about how I could change the story so that he does something but I couldn’t. He wouldn’t get mad at the decision of the court. and shout at them (or kill them). He wouldn’t try to escape. He would wait and see what happens. I basically wrote 5,000 words and didn’t know how to actually finish it in an interesting way. I was so stuck on this I almost wrote a blog post bemoaning my lack of inspiration in hopes it’d give me an idea.

I mentioned my problem in passing to my mom, partly because I drew an awesome pictures to go with it (that I was going to share but I can’t find my scanner) and it frustrated me I’d never get to use it.. She asked me what happens to the girl. What does the girl whose life he just saved do? And that started me thinking.

Now, I’d prefer to write it from Reve’s POV, because this will technically be a purple guard story. But Reve’s POV is boring. The girl, however, I can see her doing a lot. It’s a different POV, which makes it harder because I have to develop and understand a new character. Moreover, she won’t show up again that I can tell. Sure, they might develop some kind of friendship, but nothing lasting. Yet, by changing the POV, I can explore both a pivotal moment in Reve’s life, and the development of the mental ability that is found in these people.

It works. It makes it interesting. And, overall, I’m pretty excited about this development. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll be written for a couple weeks yet.

However, this reminds me just how important it is to pick a good POV.When people (okay, at least myself) started writing, I’d always go with the obvious POV. This story is about XYZ happening to Jane Doe, so obviously the POV is Jane’s.

However, the more I experiment with writing, the more become away that the POV isn’t something you can randomly assign. The story changes depending on what POV you use. And sometimes that means changing the story in the middle to get the right POV.

So, have you ever noticed a situation where changing the POV propelled your story to completion? Would changing a POV help right now?

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

2 responses to “Changing POV changes everything sometimes.”

  1. Hannah says :

    Reve reminds me of Albert Camus’s novel, The Stranger. Not in a bad way. As I quite like what you’ve done with Reve and I found The Stranger to be particularly dry.

    Also, a story that I’ve been focusing on for the past few years has written itself in nearly every respect. Only, the pov has been the bane of the story’s existance; I have absolutely no idea even if it should be in first or third person. I haven’t been able to write anything about it, for the sole reason of an undecided pov.

    I always love hearing from you and your writing endeavors and journeys. :)

  2. IntrovertedAnalyst says :

    Love the post, and it’s strange how a different perspective can make a difference on a story. I haven’t really had a comparable experience in re completion, but I did have a story where the original POV just wasn’t lending a whole lot of interest, so I changed the focus of the story in a big way, and I think it helped a lot. It’s coming together a lot better than the first version ever did.

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