Several years ago I took a writing a novel course from Writer’s Digest and it really changed the way I wrote. Until then I had never realized I was guilty of switching point-of-view from one character to another during a scene.
Here’s what I mean:
Mathieu looked at Lori-Anne and couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. He wanted to take her into his arms and tell her he was sorry, sorry for being a jerk, sorry for shutting her out, sorry that he had blamed her for the death of their daughter.
But then he thought of what she’d done and the wall came back up.
“You OK?’ Lori-Anne said.
He shrugged. “Not every day I bury my daughter.”
Lori-Anne looked like she’d been slapped. Here he goes again, she thought, like Nadia was just his daughter. She was so tired of him blaming her for the accident. She turned and walked away from him and went to join her parents.
See what happened there? We’re inside the head of both characters and that should never happen. A scene should be seen from just one POV character.
Ever since I took that writing course, I’ve paid close attention when I edit a scene to make sure I remove any switching POV. It happens during the first draft, because I’m normally just writing fast and furious which is what the first draft should be, but then it must be edited out.
I also lean on my editor to catch those that got passed my editing. Which some do, which is why you need other eyes to look at your manuscript.
Next time you read your favourite author, see if you can find any switching POV in a scene. Some of the biggest names still do it which is sort of amazing and unfortunate. Means they were missed by everyone that had a hand on the manuscript.
Don’t let that happen to your writing. It really weakens a story.