V is for View, Point of View, that is!

I am sure I am not the only author who got books for Christmas.  After all, we love books.  We love to write because we long to share stories like our favorite books have shared with us.   I got a few books, but the one I read on Christmas Day and had finished by that night was “V is for Vengeance” by Sue Grafton.  Yes, I have read them all.  And yes, I am excited to find out what she does for X and Z.

But reading that book led me to my topic today which I hope will be interesting to both the writers and the readers who follow this blog.  Although as readers, we may not think a great deal about the point of view a book is written in, I can assure you that it is of critical importance to the author!    In fact, I am still debating, at this late date,  about the POV of my novel.

What made me talk about this today was the “radical” departure Grafton made in V is for Vengeance.  This is the first time, to my recollection, that she veered away from having everything from Kinsey’s point of view.  In fact, toward the end of the book, she actually had a different character describing her and my jaw literally dropped as I was reading along because I had never pictured her that way in my head.  Now considering we are 22 books into the series, I felt this could be a  particularly bad reflection on me as a reader.  Or it could just be because Kinsey’s appearance was never really important before because everything was always happening from through her eyes and she doesn’t really care what she looks like.  In fact (for those of you who don’t read the series!) she cuts her own hair . . . . with fingernail clippers!

Anyway, with these different points of view in this novel, we found out who murdered someone long before Kinsey does, and some murders are never even addressed or discussed by Kinsey at all.  I felt that the novel made the main “baddie” too sympathetic and that the end of the book was decidedly unsatisfying, all brought about by this shift in POV.   It was as radical of a shift as if JK Rowling had suddenly written the 7th Harry Potter book alternating between Harry’s, Ron’s, and Voldemort’s points of view, and left old Voldie still hanging on in the end.   There would have been mutiny in the streets!

So, this showed me how critically important POV is when we read and especially when we write.   Most romances now-a-days are written in alternating points of view between the hero and the heroine.  In the Harlequin/Silhouette lines, it seems fairly regimented.  The chapters alternate between them.  I don’t know if that’s a hard and fast rule or anything, it’s just what I have noticed.  But when I started writing “Saving Loarlis,” I just wanted to do the whole book from Sunny’s point of view, with no excursions into Riordan’s head at all.  Since then, I have several times considered adding a few scenes/chapters from his viewpoint, but I have never been able to bring myself to write them.   I like having to discover his feelings from his actions just like Sunny does.   I don’t want to spoil the reader’s experience by having her know everything about Riordan because she took a field trip behind his eyes.   Let’s find things out slowly as Sunny discovers them.

All in all, I’m happy with the book as it is.  Unless my editor really thinks I need to change things, I’m going to be sticking with the one-sided point of view with this novel, and we’ll see about the next one!

What are your feelings about romance novels that just stick with one point of view?  Is it too old-fashioned or do you think I can get away with it?

About susannahsharp

I'm pursuing a life-long dream of writing now, something I am really enjoying. My first book should be out by Christmas. I want to blog about all things Irish; offering some book reviews for romantic, not smutty, books; and also things pertaining to reading and writing.
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