In stories, POV (point-of-view) is a living and evolving thing. It is physical, mental and spiritual. Like life, stories are always moving forward (even if they’re moving backwards).

Broadly, changes of POV within the people we write are functions of learning. In The Poetics, Aristotle advises,

“Recognition, as the name indicates, is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune.” (Sec. 1, Part XI).

The change of a person’s POV mirrors the importance of the recognition, or new awareness, to what a person aims to make no matter what. When we’re writing a beat, a paragraph, a scene, a chapter, an act or a book we can craft the three stations of recognition into our work. This what moves our stories forward. These three stages, as Aristotle cues, are ignorance, awareness and knowing. It may be helpful to consider these as akin to beginnings, middles and ends.

How to craft these is something we have recently taken up in the Writers Circle TO session. There are, undoubtably, many ways to skin a cat but we’ve approached POV as being a function of learning via perception, attention and meaning. Perception is what are people receiving from their environment and the people around them. What are they avoiding, dodging, ducking; making up stories against? Attention is what people notice about their environment and the people there. How do the features of a space impact what they care about (or not). Lastly, what meaning do they take from their environment and the people there? The meanings and understandings we glean are often functions of biases/prejudices. Our beliefs and opinions, of course, result from   many factors: beliefs (religious, political, racial, sexual, etc.) and experiences. Trace, objective correlatives, the Viewpoints and metonymy are all handy tools to sculpt a story from a raw mound of images and impulses.

POV is always at work as our people progress through our stories.