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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Scene transitions – switching POVs

Switch character point of views at scene changes, not within a scene.

While it’s not technically wrong to do one POV switch in a scene, it is very jarring to the modern-day reader. Readers ten years ago probably wouldn’t care as much, but the trend these days in publishing is one POV per scene.

As a reader yourself, notice if there’s a POV change in the middle of a scene. Does it jar you, even just a little? You absolutely don’t want to pull the reader out of the story world even a little.

Eat and leave. That’s all she had to do.

If Grandma didn’t kill her first for being late.

Lex Sakai raced through the open doorway to the Chinese restaurant and was immediately immersed in conversation, babies’ wails, clashing perfumes, and stale sesame oil. She tripped over the threshold and almost turned her ankle. Stupid pumps. Man, she hated wearing heels.

Her cousin Chester sat behind a small table next to the open doorway.

“Hey Chester.”

“Oooh, you’re late.” As usual, but Chester wasn’t about to actually say that to his cousin. She might bop him in the nose. “Grandma isn’t going to be happy. Sign over here.” He gestured to the ridiculous guestbook his sister had decorated. Pink lace glued to the edges almost drowned the ugly thing.


Go through your manuscript to see if you switch POVs in a scene. It might be harder to keep the scene in one POV the entire way through, but try it and see if you can rewrite it. Stretch yourself as a writer to convey the same information, but from another character’s POV.

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