Starting an idea for a novel precipitates the same issue; Point Of View. What emerging character has the best POV to tell the story from? It’s a hard question. In the early planning, characters haven’t even become fixed. All I have is a dramatic idea. So as I walk the dog and throw her ball, I pitch the fragments of characters and story high into the air and consider each one.
The major consideration is – which character can be a detective? Not that the novel’s a mystery, but in a great sense in all novels, the POV needs to be from the character who’s finding things out. So, who finds out the most in the story? Conversely, who has the most to reveal? Maybe the character with the most to reveal should NOT be the POV.
And then there’s the consideration of multiple POVs, changing from character to character with the ease of a juggler. This is all too much to think of at this point.
Another questioning ball in the air is who is the target audience for the book and which character will they identify with the most? If I can make the target audience the main POV character, then the target audience will live the adventure.
To help solve this problem I’m always drawn back to some favourite movies to watch how they play out POV. One of these is Hitchcock’s Rebecca. The POV of the movie is faithful to the book, from the perspective of the nervy ingénue, the new Mrs Dewinter. She’s the detective as she seeks out and uncovers the hidden facts of Rebecca.
But imagine if the story had been told from Mrs Danver’s POV – what a completely different story it would be. Imagine how delicious it would be to hear all her inner-thinking and machinations and the vile things she would have thought of the new Mrs Dewinter? And what she really thought of Rebecca. She’s great fun and I’d love her to come and work for us! She’d give us a run for our money.
So, I still haven’t made up my mind. I have four characters, a man, a woman, another man and a child. The only one I can say the POV is NOT is the woman. She holds the secrets. But maybe she could take Mrs Danvers POV… Lots more dog walking and pitching.