Change of POV Exercise

For those not yet in the know, POV means point of view.  It’s about whose voice is telling the story, which character is taking us for the ride.  For instance, in my YA historical fantasy, Sophie and the Medallion of Time (I think that title is going to have to change), Sophie tells the story, so the story is in Sophie’s POV.

Recently I received feedback from my beta readers on the third draft of Sophie.  One of my readers – my newest critique partner, in fact – pointed out that the relationship between Sophie and her mother was confusing.  She couldn’t understand why Sophie’s memories of her mother were so negative.  She recommended rewriting those scenes from the mother’s point of view, just to get a better feel for their relationship and the mother’s perspective on Sophie’s reactions.

Furthermore, she suggested that since the mother is French but speaking English, I should try writing her scenes in French so that when I translate them back to English, the reader will get a sense of her different way of constructing sentences.  Okay, that part was just hard!  My French is rusty and I couldn’t think of how to say everything Sophie’s mom wanted to say.  But I think I got the gist.

The point here is that this POV exercise was awesome.  I wrote three scenes that involve both Sophie and her mom in her mom’s point of view (and in French – ack!) and when I finished, I wanted to cry.  I felt so much more for her mom than I ever had.  I was used to relating to Sophie and feeling for Sophie, but I’d never realized I should feel for her mother. 

Oh my Zeus, that poor mother.  I gained so much insight into what she’s going through that I can now bring to those scenes rewritten once again in Sophie’s POV.  This exercise has given me a new excitement for the revision – I can’t wait to get back to it.

What exercises do you use to improve your manuscript?

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Change of POV Exercise

  1. Wow sounds like a great idea, it’s always a difficult decision on which POV to use and whether first or third person is right. Sometimes when I read first person, I wish I knew what other characters were thinking. Good luck with the revisions!

  2. I think this sounded like a fabulous exercise! I have done a little of this, but I think I need to do this with my villains sometimes. I think they can seem a bit like charicatures and that this would solve that.

  3. That’s a great exercise! I always write a page or more from another character’s POV if I’m having trouble getting them. 😀

  4. I agree with this exercise for POV. Someone suggested it to me as well when I was revising my MG in March. Needless to say it was very, very useful.
    I’m glad you had this experience.
    Right now, what I’m doing to improve my not yet written new manuscript is to do loads of research and reading about writing. The research part is taking me to weird places I’ve never been before.

  5. How interesting. It makes perfect sense that the end result would be more genuineness in the original scene. Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you…

  6. You’ve inspired me! This is exactly what I need to do. I have a mother/daughter relationship too, that I’d like to see the mother’s POV for a change.

  7. I think switching POV is a great idea. For a PB manuscript I was working on, I switched the POV from third person to first person and it made a world of difference in cementing the character’s voice.

    (P.S. Vicki, I’ve been checking out your blog since I saw your name on the write hope auctions. =) )

  8. I was just going back over old comments and saw your note that’d love to have a virtual tea party with me. I am tossing around this idea of virtual tea party and how it would work (kind of like blogfest, maybe?) do you have any ideas? In the meantime, I am going to see if I can hunt down your email address. I’d love to hear more about your writing related to Rwanda after your comment re: Akoss!

  9. Thanks for the add, Vicki! I just subscribed to your site.

  10. That is a fabulous exercise! I think it’s important to be in ALL your characters’ heads and I’ve actually written scenes (usually cut ones) from various character POVs just to get a better feel for them – it makes me love them so much more.

    Great post!

  11. I think it’s a great idea to consider another character’s pov. I’m so glad it was such a good experience for you and I’m sure it will make your story that much stronger! 🙂

  12. Writing from a different POV is awesome advice to get to know your characters! Very cool–I’m definitely going to give that a try with my WIP–thanks so much for the suggestion 🙂

  13. In French…

    Yeah, that’s a challenge. Way to go with it! I love getting inside my characters heads, even the ones the reader is supposed to hate. My feel is if you don’t like someone you just don’t know them well enough.

  14. That was very good advice, and I’m glad you had such a good time with this POV exercise 🙂

  15. What a wonderful exercise! I needd to do this for my antagonist. In fact, I hope to try it this afternoon before finishing my revisions. Thanks so much for sharing this!!!! (I minored in French in college, but don’t remember much and could never write a whole scene in french. I think there is one line of french in mine and I probably agonized over whether or not it was written correctly!!!) christy

  16. Good post. Switching POV can lead to some interesting results, too. I’m on the fourth draft of a book I started in one point of view (a younger sister), and this time I switched to telling it through the older sister’s POV. Suddenly I realized that that was the correct POV for the book, a much better fit. But I wouldn’t have found that out without a little experimenting.

  17. Hey, that’s a great idea!

  18. This is a fantastic way to deepen characters. And! Sometimes it’s so magical what we discover when we see our POV characters through someone else’s eyes. Your story sounds so amazing!!!

  19. Hi Vicki! I’m passing on one lovely blog award to you. Oui toi!! Stop by my place and pick it up. Congrats.
    tanyareimer.blogspot.com

  20. How interesting! I always think I’m in sync with all the characters’ POVs but maybe I’m not. I’m curious how your manuscript is going to turn out after these revisions.

  21. That reminds me of a fanfic crossover I was working on last year, and when I hit writer’s block it occurred to me that part of the problem was that I was writing in third-person, and that to get into my main character’s head it would be better to try it in first person. That worked really well, I was able to get a better sense of the main character’s voice, and realized that the first scene was actually from the POV of a minor character, so rewrote that part entirely.

    I’m starting up a ‘Critiquing Crusaders’ program, where participants in the Second Crusade can find other writers to exchange critiques with or form critiquing circles. If you’re interested, come by The Kelworth Files to check it out!

  22. A great exercise! I’ve tried it a couple of times. My favourite, when I’m stuck with a scene, is to write in stream of consciousness from my character’s pov. Amazing the thoughts and emotions that come tumbling out.

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