2010 Point Of View

Advice and Dissention

My use of point of view has been shaped by a great number of people. Unfortunately much of the advice I have given has been contradictory.

I have been told that 3rd party omniscience is so difficult that only a genius should attempt it!  I have also been told that there is a fashion for 1st  person writing and even experienced authors are being forced by publishers to write from that point of view. I have been told that “Head Hopping”, looking at the same scene through the eyes of several different characters, can confuse and even antagonise many readers.

On the other hand I have been told that novels which have more than one protaganist, action novels or stories with a global sweep can benefit from the use of 3rd party treatment. The point is made that if one wants to describe a poker game in which the fall of the cards, decision making and risk taking of all the players is to be revealed that there is no alternative to third party omniscient.

After a review of a number of different text books I have chosen a referee to adjudicate between all the different opinions. My choice is  -The Power of Point of View- author Alicia Rasley – published by Writers Digest -ISBN 978-1-58297-523-8

One of the difficulties is that different authorities use different names for the same POV

Therefore I must define my terminology with some care. The definitions are all drawn from Alicia’s text.

Impersonal third person.

Said by some to be ‘No POV’ or Camera POV Faithfully records what one person can see but without any context or commentary or knowlege of the person’s thoughts. usually the POV belongs to the person on whom the the scene is focused and that knowledge can be obtained from the introduction.

Contemporary Omniscient.

A variety of Impersonal third person. No narrator. Just an all knowing statement of fact without opinion. It is possible to give a view of ‘community wisdom’ but not the thoughts of any character. If desired it can be used to describe a characters appearance. It must not descend into any characters specific POV ( without making the transition clear).

Personal third person single.(same as first person?)

The chosen character sees the story from their own point of view. Now the reader can see the thought processes of a single character, (but not of other characters). It is possible, desirable even, to switch characters but it should be done sparingly. It should avoid taking the point of view of minor characters. Readers assume that the characters chosen for point of view are important.

Personal third person multiple.

Is occassionally esential but should otherwise be avoided. Difficult to avoid “Head Hopping” If used when unnecessary it is considered lazy writing and it is believed that it confuses readers. If it is essential to show the thought processes of a whole group of people.eg in a game of poker identified above then this is the POV to use.

My choice.

There are of course many other subtleties but I have deliberately limited my selection.

I have used Contemporary Omniscient for entry and exit of scenes and for action sequences.

For the main body I have tried to stay to the same third person personal or third person impersonal POV for whole chapters,

I have however found that this is not always possible in the context of telling a story with a global sweep, multiple locations and which is influenced by many levels of society.

When the POV changes within a chapter I have included a double space (perhaps it should be a triple space ort a dotted line?)

The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.