January 30th, 2010

SGA-Jeannie Rodney Last Man

Let's talk about point of view!

So I'm at about 9000 words on the WIP-of-the-moment, and I've realized, as the plot evolves, that the viewpoint I'm in is probably not going to work for the whole story.

Which reminded me that I love talking about the writing process, and I haven't made a writing post lately.

The tricky thing is that the current viewpoint character (Sam Carter) is probably going to be perfect for about 80% of the story. It's the rest of it that is giving me fits. I could probably unfold the plot just fine in Sam's POV by leaving out big chunks of the self-indulgent and world-building stuff. *g* But it's fanfic, dammit. If I want to play in my AU world, I don't want to deny myself for purely mechanical reasons. And I want to tell those parts of the story, even if they end up not being wholly necessary from a strict exposition standpoint.

Re-reading some of my long stories (or parts of them) when I was redoing my website over the holiday was a bit of an eye-opener. I'm shocked at how much more careful I've gotten about viewpoint. In "That Which is Broken", I actually switch POV in the middle of a scene. (Bad writer, no biscuit!) In "Fading Sun", I narrate several chapters from Rodney's POV and then, inexplicably, switch to another character, and continue switching throughout the rest of the fic.

Fanfic, as a medium, is a lot more forgiving of that kind of thing than pro fic. I doubt if most readers noticed. Obviously I didn't notice myself when I was writing. Technically, I could just go on for another 5000 words in Sam's head and then hop into Character B when it becomes necessary -- I think the audience would forgive it. But I don't want to -- now that I'm aware of the issue, I'd like to do better this time around. So I'm dithering with various solutions, which basically are going to involve giving up on some of the scenes I really want to write, or massively rewriting some of what I've already got.

So, readers, writers ... talk to me about point of view! I'm really not fishing for solutions (I've got several of those, just have to decide which one hurts me less *g*) but I'd love to chat about what you think of a story's POV when you write and read. Does it bother you if a story suddenly hops narrators in mid-plot, or do you even notice? Do you prefer stories that stick to one character's POV, or stories that hop around, or do you care? Is the choice of narrators a major writing decision for you, or something that happens organically? Is it different for AUs vs. canon-based stories? Do you have any anecdotes about stories you wrote where the POV did something interesting, or stories you read that made you think about POV in a new way?