NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Scene needs a rewrite? Change the point-of-view.



Sometimes while working on your novel — perhaps several hours into your work day — it becomes obvious that a particular scene just isn't working out. You've changed the starting point and the dialogue, and that didn't help. You've even added a character or two, and noticed that the only effect it had was to slow the pace: not good.

Instead, try changing the point of view in which the scene unfolds.

For example, if you've been writing it through the eyes of your heroine, rewrite it so that it is now seen through the villian's eyes, or even those of a secondary character.

By doing so, you allow the reader to also see the action from a different perspective — and that new point of view may make them more sympathetic to your heroine.

Not only does this exercise shed new light on your heroine. It also adds dimension to the secondary character. We would not have felt so strongly about Dobby, the free-thinking house elf in the Harry Potter series, if we had not read a scene from his perspective.

In fact, the whole story takes on a new life when seen from a different character's point of view. In his novel Wicked, Gregory Maguire has built his reputation and success imagining L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the viewpoint of Elphaba, the name he bestowed on the before nameless Wicked Witch of the West.

Just imagine if some of the scenes in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were played out in the mind's eye of his friend: the runaway slave, Jim.

A whole new take on a literary classic can be created if you open yourself up to the possibility of seeing it through different eyes.

The photo above is a scene from the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, with Judy Garland and Margaret Hamilton.




Question of the day: Have you changed the POV of a scene, with success? Share it, below, so we can celebrate it together. 

Happy National Novel Writing Month,

— Josie