Choosing the main Point Of View(s) for your story is either the simplest or the hardest thing you’ll ever come across while writing your book. Determining the voice which narrates or unfolds your story is a tricky thing because if you select the wrong one your story is doomed.
Sometimes (a few precious instances), you don’t have to think about the POV because either you already have it figured out even before starting the story or know which one comes more naturally to you, the one that suits your writing style and feels like the perfect fit for your story. If you find yourself in this situation then consider yourself very lucky because otherwise, you might have a very hard time figuring it out.
Rest of the time (i.e., for the majority of your writing career), you won’t know how to go about determining the POV for your story. This happens mainly due to the unyielding need for perfectionism. You want your story to be perfect (obviously!) but you can’t figure out which should be the main or the central voice that tells the story.
Ideally, more than half of the times the answer lies in using multiple POVs, but that comes with another set of problems that I’ll be covering in my next article relating to POVs. But what if you don’t know which multiple POVs to use?
When stuck in the latter situation, you’ll find yourself in a dark endless pit which will drive you to the brink of giving up, and we certainly do not want that. So to make the process of selecting the perfect POV(s) for your story, I’ve come up with a list of 10 questions that you need to ask yourself in order to get the answer to your POV worries.
The 10 Questions:
- How much you want to reveal? And how much you want to hold back?
- Whose perspective will be interesting for the reader?
- Who’s in the middle of most of the conflicts?
- How much information about the plot/story you want to reveal?
- How much information about the character you want to reveal?
- How it’ll affect the pacing of the story?
- What are you comfortable with? First person? Second Person? Or Third Person?
- How’d you like the reader to perceive your character and story line?
- Are there any parts of the story that need to be shown through different perspectives or through scenes that don’t have the main POV character(s) in them?
- How many stories are you trying to tell? And are these stories a part of the main story?
The process doesn’t end here. Once you’ve asked these questions to yourself, it’s imperative that you don’t only answer these questions truthfully but also try to understand them in detail so as not to mess it up. Once you’ve laid out the answers, 99% of the times you’ll be able to figure out the POV(s) for your story. The remaining 1% is your gut feeling which will either confirm your decision and make you feel like you’ve conquered the world or (at it happens to me most of the times) will make you doubt everything you just did and will force you to repeat the entire exercise again (and again, till you get it right.)
If you want my advice, never ignore the gut feeling. Otherwise, you’ll regret it later on.
Watch my video podcast on 10 Questions To Help You Determine The POV(s) For Your Story:
If you have any doubts regarding this post or want to share your experiences or anecdotes then please leave a comment below.