Hi SErs! Harmony here 🙂 Today, I’d like to talk about how to write Point of View (POV) and how to switch from one to another within the same story.
As you have seen, each POV choice comes with its pros and cons. One of the biggest Cons can happen when you switch POV during your narrative. This can be switching to another character’s head in the same lens, or it can be changing to a new lens entirely. When done well, such switches can become one of your story’s biggest Pros.
Ways of Changing from one head to another:
- Leave an extra line space between paragraphs
- Insert a symbol or image to clearly mark the shift
- Start a new chapter
Ways of Changing Lens:
- Always start a new chapter
For any shift to a new lens–for example, from third person to first, always start a new chapter regardless of length. This gives your readers chance to readjust. It is far too jarring to simply add an extra line space or even use a symbol. The more your story progresses, the more your reader identifies with a particular lens, and any shift can feel intrusive, so we need to make such changes as smooth and unobtrusive as possible.
For a simple hop into another head but keeping the same lens, add a symbol or image between paragraphs. This works better than a blank extra line space, as such a blank line can get lost if it happens between one page and the next, especially in eBook format. A symbol gives your reader a clear indication, even if it happens at a page break.
Never head hop without some kind of break. Unless you know how to do this well and without confusing your reader. As we have seen in previous posts, head hopping at random is one of the biggest complaints of readers. Only a very few authors have done this to good effect. So if you must head hop, make sure you get it perfect. … No kidding. Perfect or nothing.
In Summary: Any shift in POV needs to give the reader a clear indication. For a simple shift into another character’s head, a line space with a symbol is best. For a new lens entirely, always begin a new chapter. Never head hop unless you can do it perfectly. Once again, I offer the refrain: You can do anything you want, as long as you do it well.
That’s it from me today. I hope you’ve found this post useful. I’ll see you again on Monday 6th December, when we’ll take a look at Choosing POV 🙂
Part 1, Overview, can be found HERE.
Part 2, First Person, can be found HERE.
Part 3, Second Person, can be found HERE.
Part 4, Third Person Limited, can be found HERE.
Part 5, Third Person Distant, can be found HERE.
Part 6, Common Pitfalls of POV, can be found HERE.
©2021 Harmony Kent