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Is Your Point of View Flawed? – Darby Rae

Is Your Point of View Flawed?

When my saintly editor sent her first edits of Merciful Law to me, there had to be thousands of corrections.  Bless her heart!  (And I mean that sincerely, not the way Southerners use the phrase bless her heart… “Bless her heart, she’s just the worst cook within 100 miles.”  Or, “Bless her heart, she isn’t as smart at a twig.”).  My editor, bless her heart, was St. Patience, the patron saint of writers who forgot how to punctuate a sentence containing dialogue and who jump from past to present tense three of four times in one page.  (Did you notice—I just jumped tenses!).  St. Patience also corrected countless typos and some awkward wording, but in over 500 pages edited she only noted three times “POV shift.”

Remarkably, POV was something I successfully executed (mostly) without knowing what the heck a POV was.  St. Patience answered my email asking her to explain POV.  She said I changed my “point of view.”  In a few scenes I inserted Emmet’s “point of view” when I had been speaking from Annie’s “point of view.”

“Point of view” refers to the source of the narrator’s voice in a novel.  There are several options (amazingly, I stuck with just one—unlike my tense shifting).  Novel Publishing does a great job explaining each.

Merciful Law actually had three voices, Annie’s, Lawrence’s and I won’t tell you the third—you’ll have to read it to find out!  So here’s the question of the day:  In what POV was Merciful Law written?  First Person POV, Limited Third Person POV or Multiple Third Person POV and why?  The first correct answer wins a free download of Merciful Law!


  1. If misery loves company…so does ignorance. I was thrilled at the amount of traffic on this blog and almost comforted than nobody knew the answer…or was too shy to answer in the event they were wrong. My offer still stands that the first correct guess wins a download of Merciful Law. Take a chance…you could be right!

    Chapter 1 is posted if you haven’t read Merciful Law…yet.

  2. Julia Osborne says

    As an editor I’ll share that POV shifts are the most time consuming rewrites for an author to make. You wouldn’t be the first or last author who didn’t know what exactly it is.

    Keep posting, Darby. They are always informative and entertaining.

    Since I am an editor, I won’t guess because my advantage is unfair. Here is a hint for others: The POV of Merciful Law is evident in the first line of chapter 1.


  3. Stacy Pope says

    What does second person sound like and does anyone ever write a book from that POV?

    • Lyle Blake Smythers says

      First person: “I woke up and smelled bacon.”
      Third person: “He woke up and smelled bacon.”

      Second person: “You woke up and smelled bacon.”

      Obviously, if you read a lot you have seen lots and lots of first person and third person but second person is very rare. I have only seen it in occasional short stories and then only in the present tense: “You wake up and smell bacon. You throw off the covers and stand up. You realize that you are hungry.” I guess some people think it makes the story more vivid, more real. It doesn’t seem to work at all if it’s in the past tense. I almost never see it used.

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