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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Peaslee

Who Knew Writing POVs Would Be So Hard?

Happy NaNoWriMo! (It's November 1 as I write this, but we may be well past NaNo by the time I actually finish this post. It's fine.)


My plan for this year's NaNo was to edit the first draft of my book. I had a whole plan set out: read through it quickly, making minor corrections and noting bigger things, then tackle specific categories so that I didn't get overwhelmed.


But oh boy, reading that first draft physically pained me. I do love the potential I see for this book, but this rough draft is really rough.


That's okay. My goal was to get the words down on the page, and I succeeded in that goal.


But while doing my quick readthrough, one thing that stuck out to me was how sloppy my POV work was. I switch POVs three times in one scene. This is called "head-hopping," and it's frowned upon for good reason: it's super confusing to come across as a reader. Even in my own book, I had trouble distinguishing whose POV I was reading at times.


(Incidentally, I just completed the first POV exercise in Ursula K. Le Guin's Steering the Craft, which I highly recommend going through; it is an invaluable resource.)


So I grabbed some pens of various colors, and started underlining anytime the POV switched. My goal was to get a clear idea of whose POV needed to be where. But as I did this little exercise, I realized something:


I didn't need multiple POVs.


The simple truth was this: all my POVs sounded the same (which added to the confusion of who was speaking).


Writing multiple POVs was making the book weaker as a whole.


Look, I'm still pretty new at writing. I mean, I've been writing all my life, but I've only been writing with intention for the past several years. The fact is, I am not good enough to tackle multiple POVs in a book. I am not GRRM or Carlton Mellick III. And that's okay! We are all on our own writing journey.


I think it's important to be realistic about what you are and are not ready to do as a writer. Writing my first novel and having a bundle of POVs is too much for me to tackle.


So, I'm rewriting! I have 6,600 words so far and the story is flowing. I feel pretty good about where things stand right now.


The moral of this story is: don't be afraid to start over. It's not a failure; it's a course correction.



We got this!

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