When you plan a scene you must carefully consider your choice of the
point-of-view (POV) character. Before you write the scene, determine its
purpose in the story and what information you want to impart, then decide which
character will best communicate that to the reader and help to advance the
story. The viewpoint character (VPC) should be someone who is important to the
story, such as the protagonist or another one of the primary characters, not
secondary or third-rank players, and that person should have a significant role
to play—a part that fulfills at least one of the purposes of the scene.
Maintain that character’s viewpoint for the whole scene.
When you employ just one character’s POV per scene, you’ll find that the
scenes will be more compact because you won’t be reporting more than one
person’s experiences, thoughts, and emotions through narration, which is a good
way to tighten your writing. Professional novelists sometimes write a scene two
or three times, using a different VPC in each one, and then decide which one
works the best.
Remember: To follow the
tenets of scene-framing and third-person limited narration, you must choose
just one person in each scene to
serve as the viewpoint character. If you know that a VPC is going to be knocked
unconscious in a scene, for instance, but want the scene to play longer, then
you’ll have to give another character the POV; otherwise, the scene has to end
when the VPC conks out.
Maintaining consistency of
point of view can be a subtle thing sometimes, but it really separates the pros
from the new writers. It serves an excellent purpose by grounding the reader in
one space, behind one person’s eyes, in each scene, thereby developing
characterization and avoiding reader confusion.