I wrote my first book when I was thirteen. It was horrible. The plot was about a 13-year-old girl living with her older brother. She had been told her parents were dead, but finds out her father is really alive in prison for killing her mother. She learns that maybe, just maybe, her father has been framed for the murder. The plot wasn’t so horrible, although nothing unique, but the writing was. I read through it the other day and was mortified.
However, it did have one good thing about it and that was its point of view (POV), its perspective. The reason the POV was so unique, is because it was written by a 13-year-old, the same age as the main character. Have you ever read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton? Her main character, 14-year-old Ponyboy, was basically her own age when she wrote the book. Now there was much more going for Hinton’s novel than just the POV, but the strongest part about the book was its ability to relate to the readers. She knew how to attract her target market because she was her target market.
Unfortunately, not all of us have that luxury. As humans, we will always age and with that age, will come a different point of view. As writers, we may not be writing about a character who is the same age as we are. If this is the case, it is crucial to find a way to nail down the POV in order to relate to your target audience.
I’ve been writing a young adult fantasy novel going on three years now. My main character is a 16-year-old, so I have long since abandoned that mindset. So how do I make sure I have the right perspective?
I babysit and I have little cousins who are around the same age as my main character. I cannot even begin to express how much they have helped my novel. My cousin once told me (about a comment made by my main character), “That’s not something I would ever say.” And so, I modified the response per her advice. She has the ability to tell me what boys his age are doing, thinking, saying and can therefore help sift through my novel and filter out anything that doesn’t belong.
Get your children, your parents, your grandparents, your co-workers to read your book- anyone who can bring a real life perspective to it. The more believable your POV is, the more it will be read. The POV of the main character is not the only thing that matters in a book, but without a good, realistic perspective, your book will not be great.
What have you done to tap into the right POV for your writing?