1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  1. spklvr

    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

    Oct 29, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Sarpsborg, Norway

    Changing POV in a scene, does it ever work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by spklvr, Jan 24, 2011.

    Changing the POV in one scene is something I never do, mainly because I consider it poor writing. Yet, I read it a lot in amateur writing and fanfiction, and as long as I know whose POV it is, it doesn't usually bother me. But that's fanfiction...

    In the story I'm currently writing, in one particular scene, constantly changing the POV between the different characters seemed to work. It was kind of like following the (Domino effect) action rather than a single character, and breaking up the scene between every change doesn't seem right as everything happens consecutively. I keep rereading this scene (should probably take a break from it), but can't really decided whether it works or not.

    Many will probably say to write however I want, and do whatever works, but I'm not sure this ever really works properly. Do you have any examples of this being done well? I'd really like to read something to help my own writing. What's your opinion?
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Jul 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    California, US
    Sure, it can work. Hard to pull off well, imo.

    I read a short story by a well-known author (Virginia Woolf maybe, but I can't recall for certain), where the POV not only shifted mid-scene, it shifted mid-paragraph. And she did it nicely.

    The answer to any question of this sort is "Yes, you can do that." But if you don't do it well, you are far better off not doing it at all.
  3. Tesoro

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 3, 2011
    Likes Received:
    A place with no future
    i have read it even in established writers work, and i dont dislike it, actually i do that every now and then too, but I make sure to put a blank space between the them. Sometimes i feel i need to see the scene from different perspectives, and as long as there is no confusion about who's pov it is I dont see the harm.
  4. ArtWander

    ArtWander Contributing Member

    Jan 24, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Redlands, CA
    I agree with Steerpike on this issue. I think that POV changing mid scene can be done, and be done well. It is a double-edged sword, however. If not thought out correctly, it can make an otherwise strong work look amateur.
  5. Virginia Slim

    Virginia Slim New Member

    Dec 16, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Yorkshire in the glorious north of England
    One successful writer to changes POV characters in the middle of scenes is Larry McMurtry. (In case you're not familiar with him, he writes about Texas -wrote 'Lovesome Dove', also the novel from which the film 'Hud' was developed. And the screenplay for 'Brokeback Mountain'.)
    Also Canada writer Alice Munro delightfully changes POV in the middle of one of her short stories "Carried Away".
    What I think this means is that if you are a good writer, writing things people want to read, they won't care; they probably won't even notice.
    However, since most of us amateurs of limited talent, sticking to the rules may help us communicate our ideas.
    Good luck xxx
  6. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Southeast Iowa
    This is an interesting discussion, because I found myself doing it in a scene in the novel I'm working on, and it has been nagging at me. It seems to happen smoothly, but I'm still not convinced it will stay that way.

Share This Page