Monday, October 6, 2014

Writing 101: Consistent Perspective

It doesn't matter which perspective you choose to write from. You're the author, so you can choose to give the readers any viewpoint you want. But whatever you choose, you do have to choose. Keep your perspective consistent, no matter what you do.


I made one of my usual epically bad movie choices, just over the weekend. I thought it was going to be good because it looked romantic and it had an actress that I admire, but that's beside the point. The point is that the movie committed to a specific perspective from the first, and stuck with it through three-fourths of the film. There was a dedicated narrator, and everything. So imagine my shock and confusion when the perspective shifted, for just one scene, to someone else entirely. That's called uneven storytelling, and that's not the sort of thing I want to find in books. 

Consistent perspective is the glue that holds your entire story together. If we start with a single narrator, it's incredibly jarring when a new narrator unexpectedly takes over. It disrupts the flow of the story, and it confuses the reader. Things suddenly shift, and that can take the reader out of the world you're trying to create for them. 

If you're going to change perspectives in the book, start it out that way so readers know where they're going. Don't commit strongly to a single narrator and then change things up unless you're purposefully trying to shake things up. But even so, shake things up with caution. Consistent storytelling is the strong foundation of every story. You don't want to mess it up just for a few quick jolts.

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  1. Good point Jade. It's not easy ignoring the urge to pop into another head. But I know that my readers will be annoyed if I do hop around. And as a reader it annoys me,

  2. Thanks for your comment! I'm so glad you liked the post.