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POV is like a photographer’s lens

POV – choosing a point of view is one of the first things to decide when writing your story. In “Fiction in Focus,” January 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, Tanya Egan Gibson compares pov with how photographers frame their subjects.  She writes, “frame your story, focusing readers’ attention and leading them through the storytelling picture you’ve created, scene by scene.”

Gibson writes that using pov as a lens allows you to you to go deep in describing your characters and their actions, making your manuscript stronger.  For example, “the way a character sees the world tells the reader a great deal about them. If your protagonist sees rainbows, puppies and waterfalls as gloomy, menacing and boring, your reader will come to the conclusion that the character is  depressed, without you having to come out and say so. This follows the old adage of showing, rather than telling.”

You have probably heard what Gibson says about scene, “Every scene in your novel needs to be moving the story forward. Characterization and description can take you only so far before your reader will grow restless, it’s how your character’s observations and interactions cause her to act that will propel the reader through your scenes.”

Here’s a part of the article I especially like, “. . . your character should be doing more than reacting. . . once your protagonist has stumbled onto the coven of vampires in her basement, we want to see her scanning the room and figuring out what to do next instead of just idly thinking about how sparkly their capes are.”

Gibson’s article ends with, “Using pov as a lens through which to craft your scenes makes your resulting novel draft tight, coherent and engaging. . . . the sensory details in a scene function as far more than decoration. Your readers will be engaged because they will assume, correctly, that every component of your literary ‘photo’ has been included in the frame for a reason.”

Tanya Egan Gibson is the author of How to Buy a Love of ReadingVisit Tanya’s interactive website, and discover how reading has inspired folks to write their “reading love stories.” You can send Tanya your response to the question, “How has reading saved you?”

Your turn:  Write  a scene in first person point of view. Something simple like a picnic in the park.  Then step back, frame the picture with a wider lens. Write the same scene from a third person point of view.

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