The Power of Character POV by Patricia PacJac Carroll

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This was probably the single most important lesson I learned in writing. So, what is Character POV? First, let me tell you my story. I was at a monthly crit group, read my chapter, and listened while a good friend pointed out that I had a POV problem.

POV problem? I stared at my chapter and knew it was all third person. He said/She said. What was she talking about? Character POV is the technique of having a scene in which everything is seen through the eyes of one character.

I like to picture it as putting on a character. The scene recognizes only what that character can see, hear, feel, taste, smell, or think. Everything is filtered through that character’s view. This eliminates the dreaded head hopping where an author jumps from one character’s view to another in one scene.

Why don’t you want to head hop? It confuses the reader and distances them from the main character. You want the reader to sympathize and feel your character’s conflict throughout the story. If they become that character while reading, they are more likely to read on and enjoy the story.

Character POV also draws the reader into being that character and not just reading about that character.

EX: Feeling apprehensive, Bob opened the door and walked inside. He heard praise and worship music. He thought the music was good. It made him feel happy. The usher wondered why he was late. Bob felt uneasy as if he’d failed church.

*Bob could not know what the usher was thinking. That is head hopping. Bob could see if the usher frowned at him. Hear if the usher spoke harshly at him. BUT Bob would not know what the man thought. Also avoid: he thought, he felt, he heard, he saw, etc. – because if you are in Bob’s POV – it is Bob’s thoughts, etc. Also, best to not name an emotion and show it instead.

EX: After putting on the character- Heart thumping, Bob opened the door. Praise and worship music filled the room, and his soul drank in peace.

A well-dressed usher approached, frowned, and pointed to a seat.

Bob sat. His palms grew sweaty against his worn jeans. Fear ate at his peace. Had being late meant that he’d already failed at church?


See the difference? The first one I am telling you about Bob going to church. The second one, you are Bob going to church. Getting into a character’s POV also allows you to go into Deep POV.

Put the character on and let your reader experience the scene. This also helps in showing versus telling. Use why questions to delve into what is really going on with the character. For instance, why is Bob’s heart thumping? Is this his first time to go to church? Why does he think he failed?

Dig into your character and help the reader connect and care. Let your reader experience what your character is going through. If done well, your readers will want to read on.

Happy writing.

Patricia PacJac Carroll

About the Author:
Patricia PacJac Carroll
Patricia PacJac Carroll~ I am a writer, Christian first, and blessed beyond my imagination. I live in the Dallas-Ft Worth area of Texas with my wonderful treasure of a husband, my spoiled dog, Jacs, and my awesome grown son, Josh. Did I say I was blessed? The PacJac is from my initials and my husbands. I wouldn’t be able to write if it weren’t for him.I love adventure and the open road. The stories of the western era have always been a favorite of mine. I enjoy writing, and my goal is to write stories readers will enjoy.Hope you are enjoying the series ~ Mail Order Brides of Hickory Stick. I’ll have a new series this year set in Montana – Solomon’s Valley ~ First book is The Feud.

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