Walk a mile in my shoes, please. Or is it put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Either way, the phrase encourages you to look at the world through someone else’s eyes, or point of view, (POV for short). Not only is this important in everyday life, but equally important in writing.
Early in my career, I was known as a “head-hopper.” This is someone who jumps from one character’s point of view to the other. After all, I was emulating bestselling authors I loved to read. Now that I’ve learned a few things. “Head-hopping” is actually called an Omniscient point of view.
I choose to write in third person POV, which only gives you the thoughts of the hero, heroine, or the villain if there is one. So if one of those characters don’t see what’s happening, I can’t write it. Think of it like being in a room by yourself. You can’t see someone walking behind you, but you CAN hear the scuff of shoes or shuffle of feet.
The majority of my work is done in third person. I’ll be honest, third person isn’t really a preference. it was a choice. And as I’ve grown as a writer, I prefer third person omniscient. When I read stories in which this technique is used it gives the plot a deeper texture. Think of the character who professes his love to his wife. Wife says the same thing but thinks something contrary. Not only do you have conflict, but there’s an elevated level of tension in knowing that the wife has this secret, but how and when will the husband know the truth?
There are many choices of POV: first person, second person, (truthfully, I haven’t seen this one in action), third person, omniscient, and third person omniscient. I’m sure there are more out there, but those I’ve mentioned are the most familiar. So before I write a scene, I need to walk a mile in my character’s shoes, whether they’re stilettos or a pair of Timberlands. I need to know how they’ll react to their situation. As for me, give me a comfy pair of Skechers any day.
“Indulge Your Inner Romance”
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I’m with you: third person gives a deeper, richer immersion into the story and allows for almost the same intimacy as found in first person POV. I prefer third person limited omniscient.
I’m soooo with you on the Omni POV! I grew up reading it, so I originally wrote it that way. I can’t wait to be able to reread my old Danielle Steeles, Judith Michaels, and other authors whose books have been packed away for ten years, in order to see if this bothers me after the past ten years of ‘tsk, tsk….no head-hopping allowed!’
I managed to slip in a tiny one in one of my books, and when I self-published my Women’s Fiction series, there is one scene that I just *had* to write it that way. So far, no one’s complained about it!
I’m curious–which best-selling authors preferred omniscient POV? Which genre? Some of my former critique mates were inveterate head-hoppers, and reading their work was exhausting.