Sometimes, I hear voices.
Oh, c’mon, you probably do too.
Sometimes my stories arrive in the form of a character who’s got something to say, and then it’s “easy” to determine POV.
Point of View means not only who is telling your story, but through whose lens the story is revealed to the reader — and that has many implications, doesn’t it. Your reader can only see and know what the POV character knows, and while that may be a lot, it’s not going to be everything (unless you’re going with an all-knowing, omniscient POV).
I believe the best thing to do if you’re unclear, is to notice POV when you read.
For a long time (during the chick lit era in popular fiction) I believed that first person POV meant the book was cute and flip and light. Then I read Cathy Lamb’s Henry’s Sisters — and WHOA — a deep, meaningful novel in first person. My perception had been wrong all along (go figure). With this knowledge I actually tried first person in a short story, which you may have read. It’s also present tense, which trips me up, but this remains my favorite short story that I’ve written and had published.
But you don’t have to write something new to play with POV! Take a paragraph you love from your WIP and rewrite it. You won’t be able to revise it, but rewrite it through a new lens. Ask for opinions. Think about it objectively. What best serves your story?
What POV do you prefer to read and write?
I love an unusual POV like in Eleanor Brown’s THE WEIRD SISTERS. The novel is written in first person plural, narrated from the collective perspective of the three sisters. THE BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC by Julie Otsuka is also first personal plural. I loved both of those books so perhaps I favor that POV for reading, but I don’t know if I’d write it. (I tried. Major blunder.)
I’m considering POV now for my next novel with four different voices being heard. It’s a challenge. I’ll keep you posted!
Please let me know how YOU chose POV!