Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Describing Through Point of View

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

First, this week, my little blogging group, Team Novel Teen, is doing a blog tour for Stephanie's new book The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet. Almost everyone is giving away a copy of the ebook, and I (Jill) am giving away a copy of the paperback, which is coming soon. Here is the link to my blog post for the tour. At the bottom you can find the links to the other bloggers posts if you'f like to go and enter all the contests.


Now, last Friday I talked about how you could rewrite a scene with an overriding character emotion. Today I want to talk about how you can rewrite scenes from different points of view. This allows you to describe things in a different way but also to see a scene through another set of eyes, which might teach you something about your minor characters that you weren’t expecting to learn.

I’m not going to write out Spencer’s point of view again. Click here if you'd like to read his points of view from Friday’s post.


“GO, FIGHT, WIN!” Grace yelled with the rest of the cheer squad, finishing the motions and ending with a toe-touch front hurdler jump. The bruise on her arm was still tight. She locked her fingers and lifted her hands above her head, as if stretching would do any good.
Grace looked across the gym. Jasmine was running toward the door. And, sure enough, there stood Spencer. Right on time.
Grace could not figure out that boy.
She pretended not to see him, moving through the motions of the last cheer again, counting to herself as she did, acting like she was so terribly focused, but all the time she was fully aware that Jasmine had hugged Spencer and was flirting with him. Grace couldn’t hear what they were saying. Those two had gone to homecoming together, but Jasmine had said that Spencer had only asked her as a friend so he could keep an eye on Grace.
So weird.
“Grace, your boyfriend’s here!” Jasmine yelled.
Grace stiffened, feeling the stares of her teammates. The gawking.
She heard Kate whisper, “More like 'stalker’s' here.”
The girls had nicknamed Spencer “stalker” since he followed Grace around so much.
“Gracie Lou Who,” Jaz sang, grinning like she was so very clever, “your boyfriend’s here for you!”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Grace mumbled. Boys were trouble, and while she and Spencer had been friendly ever since coming home from Okinawa, she didn’t trust him.
She didn’t trust any member of the opposite sex.
“Let’s work on jumps,” Coach announced.
Really? Jumps? With Spencer watching?
So embarrassing.
So for the next ten minutes, Grace worked on jump sequences, focusing on landing nice and tight, hoping she didn’t look stupid and trying to ignore her uninvited audience. But he was pacing now. Why was he pacing?
When Coach finally called it quits for the day, Grace figured she’d better go see what her stalker wanted. She crossed the gym, posture straight, trying to look like she really didn’t care that he was here.
But when she reached him, she remembered how cute he was. He had pale skin covered in freckles, orange hair, and bright blue eyes, which he’d fixed on her, frowning like she’d done something wrong. A protective older brother. She just couldn’t stay mad at him no matter how much he annoyed her.
“Hey, stalker,” Grace said.
His eyes flitted over her face and shoulders. He was beyond tall. Six-foot-four, she’d last heard him say. He’d been strong when Grace had met him last spring, but since then, with his hopes of playing NCAA basketball, he must have moved into the weight room because his arms were huge now.
Very intimidating to a ninety-three pound, five-foot-one cheerleader.
“Hey, tumbelina,” he finally said, towering over her. “You missed class this morning.”
She fought a smile at his calling her “tumbelina,” not wanting to encourage him. He had a host of endearing nicknames for her. Tumbelina was her favorite. “Checking up on me again, huh?”
“Naw, I just wanted to say hey.” He shifted, looking behind her.
She turned to see if someone was standing there. Nope. She sighed and spun back to him. “Spencer, look. I like you. But I’m not ready for a boyfriend right now. I’m just … there’s a lot going on …” If he only knew. But there was a thought. Maybe she could tell him. Someone his size could help her put that infuriating man in his place.
No. That wasn’t right. Forgive me, Lord, for thinking such a thing.
“I don’t want to be your boyfriend.” Spencer’s cheeks flushed pink. “Just your friend.”
Oh-kay … “Spencer, even my best friends don’t show up at my cheer practices.”
“Well, you didn't come to class this morning, so I was worried about you.”
She folded her arms. “Why are you always worried about me? I might not be able to bench my own body weight like you, but do I look like an invalid?”
“No.” He looked around them, as if trying to make sure that no one could overhear them. Then he inched closer, leaned down. “Okay, this will probably sound weird. But ...”


Halfway through the cheer, Jasmine saw Spencer enter the gym. His presence sped up her heartbeat and stole her breath. Of course he wasn’t here to see her. He’d be looking for Grace, as usual.
Spencer Garmond, why do you torture me?
“Spencer!” she yelled, wanting his attention if only for a moment. She ran over and slid her arms around his waist, pressing against him in what she hoped was an alluring hug. His muscular torso felt strong, solid.
“Hey, Jaz,” he said, but he wasn’t looking at her. He was looking at Grace.
So Jasmine poked him in the abs, hoping to make those blue eyes focus on her again. “Why haven’t you texted me lately?”
He stepped away from her. “You want me to text you?” he said, not even looking her way.
Ug. Enough of this. “Yee-ah.” She slapped his chest and yelled, “Grace, your boyfriend’s here!” hoping it would at least embarrass him.
He spun around, his forehead wrinkled, his cheeks pink. So cute. “Don’t do that,” he whispered.
Jasmine giggled and sang, “Gracie Lou Who, your boyfriend’s here for you!”
Across the gym Grace mumbled, “He’s not my boyfriend.”
Spencer sighed, stuck his hands in his pockets, and slouched away.
See? Jasmine wanted to say. She doesn’t love you like I do. But he was too far away now, headed to the end of the gym where he could be closer to Grace.
The dumb stalker, anyway. Wish he would stalk me.

Have you ever tried writing in a different point of view? One that you had no intention of actually using in your story? Did you find it helpful? If so, how?

And if you’ve never tried this exercise, I encourage you to give it a go.


  1. Sometimes when I have a massive writers block on a scene, I'll try it from a different POV. Usually, just for the exercise though. It's really good to do!

    1. What a good idea to use this for writer's blog, Cait!

  2. Wow, those sound waaaaaaay different from their POV! I see how it could be really helpful in figuring out how those other characters feel and how they should act based on that. I really need to give that a go one of these days...

  3. Yes, actually! I dived into the head of my important-yet-still-side character. Oh. My. Goodness. Would you believe it actually helped the words flow better? :-D

    1. I would totally believe it, Rosie! :-)

  4. From Amo Libros:
    Wow, this is so cool! It's neat to see the same scene from different POVs. I may have to try this!

    1. Hey, this has nothing to do with the post, but I was looking at the older things, and you said once that your little brother does stop motion animation? Because my brother does too. He's put a couple videos on YouTube, and they're actually pretty good.

      He says if I ever finish a book that he wants to be the one to make it into a movie someday. :)


  5. This is a great idea! I haven't done this yet but I'm definitely going to now; I know exactly which scene I'll use :) thanks Jill!!!

    On an unrelated note, tomorrow I'm taking part in the THE SWEET DEAD LIFE blog tour for author Joy Preble, and I'm doing a giveaway of the book! So anyone who lives in the us or has a relative/friend there who won't mind mailing their book to them if they win, please feel free to come down and enter, all you have to do is comment!


    1. You're welcome, Hannah! Hope the blog tour went well too. :-)

  6. This looks like an interesting exercise!
    My current story is told from multiple POVs anyway, but in the few scenes where two or more POV characters are together it can be hard deciding who's head to be in. Maybe I'll try writing the scenes both ways :)

  7. I looove different POV's, so much that on some of my stories I include two POV's. I have one with four and then wilder yet, nine. : ) I might go a little overboard with them, but their so fun and I think it makes some of it easier.


    1. Whoops, made a grammar mistake. Tehe. ; )


    2. I like multiple POVs too, MJ, but I find it more challenging to write a book with more than two major POVs because I feel like each one needs their own story arc. But that's not always true, but I feel like it is. It's fun to write them, though. Just hard for me to make them all flow well.

  8. Oh my, this post was amazing! It's super fun to see different points of view...I really like the challenge of getting into the emotions and thoughts of different people. Writing what a boy would think is a bit hard, though ;)hahaha
    Anyway, thanks for this post, Jill. I think it's time I pull out some of my recent writing and try this exercise again!


    1. Yeah, I'm lucky since I have a husband here to ask what a boy would think. LOL

  9. I use this a lot in my book. My story bases off of one main character but there is another that adds a lot to the story. So for the scenes they do together, I have to choose the right character point of view to tell it from. I find sometimes, other characters points of view just seem to work better with different situations.
    Great post Jill!

    1. Thanks, Fire! And that's a great reason to do this exercise, to see which POV is the most powerful. I'm glad it works well for you.

  10. Ah, this is really cool. I've thought about doing this a lot. I've got to try this with certain characters from my WIP now.
    Thanks for the post!