Books / Character Development / Fergus Findlay: Drover / Short Story / Sullatober Dalton / Uncategorized

Keeping the reader on side

 I’ve been editing a novel I wrote some time ago about a Highland drover sorting out the point of view for each scene and chapter. I’d thought it wasn’t to important compared with the story line and plot but jumping about from what one person sees to what another is aware of tends to lose the flow of the narrative and distract the reader. For example – Rory drew his sword. Seamus drew his and threw the scabbard away. This would be a fight to the death. Rory took a step forward. Seamus swung savagely but Rory managed to deflect the the stroke. Fine of it is a fight between friends watched by a third party, or a remote narrator. But to involve the reader – Rory drew his sword, saw Seamus draw his and throw the scabbard away. So this would be a fight to the death! Rory stepped forward cautiously and was able to deflected Seamus’s first wild swing. Now the reader is part of the fight and involved in the outcome.

In addition, having worked hard to get the readers on Rory’s side I don’t want half of them leaving and joining Seamus, so I must stick with Rory’s point of view.

There is one thing to remember, however, breaking a rule is fine if you know why it’s being done and what effect it will produce. The standard rule is a capital letter at the start of a sentence and the rest of the words lower case but if I write, this is IMPORTANT it emphasises the comment. It breaks the rule but is quite intentional and done for a specific effect. Finding reasons to break pov rules is much more difficult.