1. The Backward OX

    The Backward OX New Member

    Dec 29, 2007
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    Outback Queensland, Australia, far from the maddin

    Do you have a THOROUGH grasp of POV?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by The Backward OX, Oct 2, 2008.

    Could you help me with this comment below about POV? I can’t comprehend it at all. Am I thick, or has the writer got a wrong slant on what POV is all about?

    To put the comment in context, there had earlier been a discussion between myself and the writer, about prepositions. It revolved around whether a person standing on a wharf viewed the entrance to a harbour or of a harbour.

    The sentence that raised the issue went like this: “The Port Authority Office in [town name] is situated on a wide quay facing the entrance of the harbour”.

    That sentence was the opening sentence to a story. There was nothing else.

    But it is all totally irrelevant here. My query is not about prepositions but about POV. That is worth repeating: I’m not interested in whether one should use to or of. My enquiry relates to POV.

    Is the writer talking rubbish about POV or am I thick?

    Here’s the comment:

    I am placing the narrator in the harbour, that is where the voice is coming from, he has just been describing the interior of the harbour (Me – no he hasn’t; these are the only words) so that is where the narrator’s POV is situated. Therefore the entrance is to the Mediterranean and of the harbour. If the narrator was outside the harbour the entrance would be to the harbour.”

    Is the writer talking rubbish about POV or am I thick?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    The POV is pretty nonspecific. It can "see" the Port Authority, the quay, and teh entrance xx the harbor. It could be in the harbor, in a lighthouse with a good view, a seagull flying high, or a satellite camera. Hell, it could be in a dusty library looking at a map or brochure.

    Basically it's an omniscient POV with an amiguous location. And that's one reason it's a weak way to open a story, because without an achor point for the POV, the reader won't as easily visualize it.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Scattercat

    Scattercat Active Member

    Aug 28, 2008
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    Under there.
    He's not talking about POV in the way we usually mean in writing (first, second, third person) but rather just about the placement of the vantage point. As Cogito said, the original sentence doesn't specify a viewer, which can lead to confusion about the description.

    Personally, I'd say that the only difference between using "to" or "of" in this case is that the former places the "camera" of the narration outside the harbor, looking in towards the town, whereas "of" puts the "camera" more up above, like a satellite image looking down on a map.

    In either case, the confusion here is fairly simple. Replace "point of view" in the advice you were given with "vantage point" and the oddity disappears.
  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    Must agree with both Scatter and Cog. POV is not really the correct term here because that has a much more specific meaning in the context of writing (1st, 2nd, 3rd, omniscient, limited omniscient.)

    And I have to agree with Cog in that the opening is weak. I know because I was once guilty of an affinity for this style of opening in my own writing. If the opening was sufficiently non-interesting as to allow the reader (you) to wander into concepts of where the vantage point for the description is, then that vantage point was poorly placed and/or described and did not bring the reader (you) into the story at all. A serious no-no for an opening line.

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