Quick Tip: How to Avoid Muddy Viewpoints

Each scene needs to have a clear point-of-view character. The rule is one POV per scene. No “head- hopping.” The exception is when you’re using omniscient POV, which has its own challenges. Otherwise, stick with one.  
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Each scene needs to have a clear point-of-view character. The rule is one POV per scene. No “head- hopping.” The exception is when you’re using omniscient POV, which has its own challenges. Otherwise, stick with one.

Go over your scenes and see if, within the first couple of paragraphs, the viewpoint is clear. If not, you can quickly remedy the situation. Instead of starting a scene this way:

The room was stuffy and packed with people.

Do it like this:

Steve walked into the stuffy room and tried to get past the mass of people.

Throughout the scene, you may need to remind us whose head we’re in. You can do this with little clues, such as “Steve knew that he had to …” or “Steve felt the sweat under his arms …”

This article appeared in the March/April issue of Writer's Digest. Click here to order your copy in print. If you prefer a digital download of the issue, click here.

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