Switching POVs

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Before we begin this chapter, this is just your friendly reminder that POV stands for Privately Owned Vehicle. To switch from one Privately Owned Vehicle to another, you must first go to a car manufacturer and see whether your current Privately Owned Vehicle is in a condition to be swapped with another Privately Owned Vehicle. 

Of course, I'm just messing around. POV stands for Point of View.

This chapter is going to be a pretty short one! It is the final chapter in the trilogy of 'POVs'. So, if you are new to this story and you're trying to navigate your way through this maze of writing advice (and analogies that somehow include Harry Styles being slapped by Tomato Sauce), let me help you out!

- For a breakdown of POVs in writing, please check out the chapter titled, "Point of View (First/Second/Third Person Writing)." 

- For advice on writing multiple perspectives, please check out the chapter titled, "Writing Multiple POVs". 

And now, this chapter is here to tell you how to switch perspectives within your story in a seamless, cohesive manner. Let's launch straight into it!

Now, the first thing you should know about switching perspectives in a story is this: 

There is no correct way to do it. 

There is no perfect technique! You can more or less do whatever you want. If you want to write a story from the perspective of a witch, the wind, and a bowl of pasta sauce, you can absolutely do that! If you want to switch perspectives between all three of them in the middle of the same sentence, sure! Heck, if you want to change perspectives every second word, no one is stopping you! 

But, whatever you do, it has to be clear and purposeful. 

For example, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry jumps perspectives for one paragraph only before jumping back with no line breaks whatsoever. Sometimes A Great Nation by Ken Kesey sometimes effectively changes perspective mid-paragraph. 

So even if it sounds ridiculous, anything is possible. You just have to make it clear, so that your reader isn't completely confused. 

Also, you are going to want lots of practice before you get to that stage! So, if you're a perspective switching novice, here are some general tips I have for you when you are switching perspectives. I will try to provide examples with my... witch, wind, and pasta sauce. 

Why do I do this to myself? 

Anyways, my advice is based around avoiding head-hopping. We can't be rapidly jumping from voice to voice, because it really is overwhelming for your reader. We are trying to develop strong connections with a character (and their goals and their history), and suddenly we are transported to another head with no warning. It's like being in a car, and the car suddenly does a u-turn, and the author forgot to tell you to put on your seatbelt and parachute and now you're rolling down a cliff and into a sea of piranhas.

Just like that, you, the reader, are having your flesh ripped apart by angry piranhas. Why? Because the author forgot to prepare you. They forgot the warning. They forgot the, for lack of better words, foreplay before the blanket dance. 

I feel like there is definitely a better word. I'm gonna keep moving, though, and hopefully come back and edit that. 

Edit: I could not think of a better word. Foreplay and blanket dancing it is! 

So how do we avoid this head-hopping? 


If you are getting used to perspective switches, you want to make this as clear and fluent for yourself and your reader. So the best thing you can possibly do is insert a break. There are a few ways you can insert a 'break'. 

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