I have a friend who is having a problem with staying in POV during her scenes.
Let’s focus on first person or close third person. POV refers to only what the character knows through the senses, interaction with other characters, and life experience.
Unless she has super powers:
- She is not going to know what the other characters are thinking or feeling. She can take a guess, but that is all.
- She does not know what happens when she leaves the scene.
- If she can not use her senses – she can not know that it is going on.
But my friend says she really wants the reader to know what is going on with the other character. It’s vital to the story.
Alright, here is several ways to do this:
-Adjust the senses of the character.
Her back is turned, so she can not know that she has made this guy really angry, unless she has eyes in the back of her head.
- She can HEAR the door slam.
- She can FEEL the breeze across her neck as he leaves.
- She can turn around and find out he has left, or has picked up the gun to shoot her. Or is crying his eyes out. She can SEE
- She may not see him move, and shove her into the ground, but she can TASTE
-Revelation by other characters in the scene.
Maybe the main character is oblivious as she tramples all over this guys feeling. The other characters are going to give her dirty looks, cross their arms, or try to give her some other action to shut up.
Or they can even reprimand her when the guy leaves.
The character himself might say, “Be careful. You don’t want to piss me off. George did that. I brought cupcakes to his funeral.”
Have the characters argue, drop information, discuss, or evade what is happening. She can make comments to herself about what happens next, or say them out loud, or say other things out loud.
Or you can stick her up a tree and let her listen. Now everyone has the information, they may think that only they know it though.
Maybe she has experience already with the guy, before the story started or during the story. She knows how to handle him… or she thinks she knows. The reader knows these things by her thoughts, actions or dialogue.
–Change the POV to another character.
Change it to the guys POV in the next chapter. He’s calling his best bud to go the bar because he really needs a beer now. And then they are going to rip on women.
Or get rid of the previous scene, have him relate and reflect on what just happened as he misses all the balls on the pool table because he is hitting them too hard.
How do I tell if I am still in the right POV?
–Change the font or size
-Read it out loud. Don’t mumble, whisper, mutter, say it under your breath, speed talk. Read it out loud. Pause after every sentence.
-Have someone else read it to you. This helps also in letting you hear if you have too much or too little of something – action, backstory, info dump, dialogue, details, and numerous other things. If you have a program that converts text to speech, try that. If not, go online and find one. Here is one I randomly tried. http://www.naturalreaders.com
-Act it out. Do whatever the character is doing and imagine yourself in the scene. Standing here with your back to the guy, can you see this guy making rude gestures at you? Nope.
But if you think the reader needs to know this you can have her turn around, catch the guy in the act, at the end of the act, suspect the act, or he may just raise his finger to her. Maybe someone walks into the room and tells him to put his finger down. Maybe he just leaves and tells his friends, or tells her later in the story.