Thursday, June 19, 2014

Who's thoughts do I want to read?

           I've been writing a lot as of late. (Yay, writing!)

           I have three different POV characters to choose from: Oddball (the main character), Rocky, and Peril.

           But, uh, sometimes when I start writing a scene, I'm not really sure who's head I want to be in. Each of them are going to have different thoughts on the same scene. So who's thoughts do I want to write from?

         Here's some things I attempt to remember when choosing a POV character:

Who is going to suffer the most in this scene?

That sounds terrible and dramatic, yes. But it's true. Stories are all about conflict and tension, tension, tension. So in a scene, who has the most to loose? Who is the most disgusted with the circumstances? Who is the most conflicted? Etc, etc.

Who is going to move the plot forward at this point?

Always got to keep the story rolling. Usually the guy who's suffering the most will do it, but other times he's a little paralyzed from it all, so he's got a buddy to do it for him. Or maybe it's the villain's turn to make a move (you know, we like to play fair, take turns and all *cough* not really).

This suffering or action, do we want to view it directly or indirectly?

Usually, under normal circumstances, we want to hear from it the source. If the hero is about to loose all he has ever fought for, we want to know what he's going through. But sometimes if you step back, you can get a different perspective. The hero's best friend watching him suffer. That's a nice view too. Or what of this? The villain is about to push the hero over the side of the cliff and the sidekick is trying to come rescue him. Do we want the villain's version? What in the world makes this guy do the things he does? Do we want to know what the hero's thinking as he faces his enemy and goes over the edge? Or do we want know the horror of the sidekick as he realizes he can't get to his friend in time and watches the hero fall over the edge? (at that point I would probably be flipping POVs, but I guess there are times when you just can't have it all *sighs*)

Who knows too much and who doesn't know enough?

This question is why we are always in Watson's POV and not Sherlock's.
           I really like suspense. And sometimes, I don't appreciate the characters giving answers away too soon. They're sneaky and mischievous like that. What if the hero knew that he had his dragon friend waiting to catch him as he goes over the cliff? Wouldn't it be more fun to be the sidekick watching in despair as his friend falls to his death only to be elated the next minute as he appears flying on his dragon? Or to know the villain's fury frustration as his good-doing enemy just will not die? That and what about a desperate character who craves to know the answers, but the character who knows all the answers is torturing the uninformed character by keeping all the answers to himself?

What kind of misunderstandings do we want to cook up?

The tension and conflict between characters often times is because they misunderstand each other. (Okay, other times their personalities just get on each other's nerves.) Do we want to see it all from the one side and feel that one character is being so completely unfair and unjust that we just cannot stand this one character anymore until we see, "This is all just a big misunderstanding." (this happens in Pride and Prejudice) Or do we want to see both sides of the story and have the suspense of rooting for the characters to finally get along, understand each other, and become friends?

       What about you? Do you write in more than one POV? How do you decide who's head to be in when? Do you like to read from different POVs, or do you prefer just one?

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