Monday, November 24, 2014


© by Gerald So | | 6:04 A.M.

Last night on his blog, Bill Crider began a post:

It seems that more and more often these days I see readers complaining about what they call "point of view hopping." I can see why they might object to shifting points of view in a paragraph or [maybe] even a chapter, but what the heck is wrong with telling a story from the points of view of several different characters[?]

I commented that when readers complain about viewpoint, they are really questioning the place of viewpoint changes in a story's logic. I was going to say viewpoint change within scenes jars me, but I think any viewpoint change that seems unnecessary or illogical, that kills suspense instead of building it, jars readers.

As a reader, I ask to be allowed to follow a story. Illogical viewpoint changes usually lose me, but I might go along with them if chaotic storytelling were the point. In general, the viewpoints in a story should be the ones I naturally want when they come up or the ones I need for best dramatic effect.

1 comment:

Peter DiChellis said...

For me, both as a reader and when writing, a POV shift needs a story purpose, and at least a scene change for clear separation.

I like using POV shifts in my short stories to allow the reader (but not the protagonist) to see a twist another character is thinking, planning, etc. Thriller novelists use this technique to build suspense. I think (hope) it works when I use it in short story scenes too.