How To Effectively Handle POV Switches

As writers, we invade our characters minds so we can blurt to the reader all that we find. In a way, we’re Mind-walkers, and that’s a super badass name. You’re welcome for that.

Anyway, in many occasions, we use our awesome Mind-walking abilities to switch between different minds in a very short time.

***DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!!*** Many Mind-walkers can’t handle the transition and get lost. This is also known as the Point-of-view (POV) paradox:  you can’t be inside two minds at the same time.

The POV paradox generated a super strict rule that says ‘Dude, don’t switch POV, okay? Just don’t. Seriously.’ But as with many things in life, no one knew it was possible until someone went there and did it.

THIRD PERSON MIND-WALKING:

So usually, if you want to jump from head to head, you need to either:

  1. Start a different chapter or
  2. Separate the paragraphs by ***, or
  3. Insert a double-line space.

Pretty simple right? Most people might tell you to NEVER GO for option 3, BUT if you feel adventurous, know that it’s totally okay.

i.e. “Thomas’ stomach fell to his feet as Carly drew her lips near. He had wanted this for so long, but now it wasn’t the time. Until the whole Maduke problem was fixed, they couldn’t be together. So he stepped back and looked away.

If Carly’s heart had been made of glass, it would have shattered. She gaped at Thomas, not knowing what to say, or better yet, knowing exactly what to say, but not having the courage to spill it.”

Did you notice we got out of Thoma’s head in order to jump into Carly’s? That’s the secret to short-time Mind-walking: distancing yourself from mind one, so you can jump inside mind two. But remember: YOU SHOULDN’T DO THIS FREQUENTLY.  Personally, I wouldn’t jump back into Thomas’ head for a while after pulling that one. So only use this awesome new power when strictly necessary and remember: with great power, comes great responsibility.

  FIRST PERSON MIND-WALKING:

The key is the character’s assumption. Your character is a living, breathing animal (well, at least inside your head). So if you’re writing in the first person, your character can assume what another character is feeling (and many times he can be completely wrong, and that makes for great storytelling).

i.e. “I glance at Peter, his eyes wet. He must miss Janet a lot, but then again, who wouldn’t? The girl was perfect. He scratches his right eye, as if he’s about to cry.

“Bob,” he says with a hoarse voice. “Damned fly bulls-eyed my freaking cornea. Can we go to a doctor?”

And another one: “Martin nods, but just before he leaves, he turns back to me, mouth half open. I think he wants to say something but for the life of him, he can’t.”

No blasphemy there folks, it’s all the character’s assumptions. Using modal verbs like ‘may’ and ‘must’, or verbs like ‘think’ or ‘assume’ , will help a lot, but you don’t necessarily need them.

So, today we’ve covered the basics of Mind-walking (a.k.a POV Switching). If you want to learn more, Emma Darwin has an excellent post on this.

Cheers and until next time!

***

If you liked this post, please do share it and tell your friends!  Much obliged : )

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s