Friday, July 27, 2012

POV

A week or two ago, I was watching one of those chef competition shows on the Food Network, Food Network Star.  The contestants competed to get their own show on Food Network.  They did this by cooking and presenting in front of an audience or on camera. 

The last time I watched it, the judges kept talking about point of view.  It was funny because I never heard them say "point of view" - they referred to it as POV.  That really bugs me.  I live with an IT guy who uses abbreviations all the time.  I am the translator for the kids.

I'm having issues with POV in my writing, in one piece in particular, so this kind of stuck with me in the back (and sometimes front) of my mind. 

On the show, the judges said POV is the way the contestants present themselves to the audience.  It really bothered me when they kept telling contestants they need to work on their POV.  When one judge asked, "What is your POV?" she got a blank stare.  I thought, First person, obviously. 

But I knew what they meant - they want the contestants to develop a persona and have a plan to make each of their shows consistent if they won the contest.  They don't want the viewers to expect one thing based on a previous show and get another.

I think POV in literature is more complicated than first person or second person.  To do it well, it needs to be consistent.  When it's not consistent from one chapter to the next or within a chapter, it needs to be controlled. 

I read somewhere that POV is the way you tell the story.  I really hate vague definitions.  This one is vague and encompasses a lot of things that I wouldn't normally include under the heading of POV.  Maybe that's why it's difficult.  Maybe this is just a bad definition.  What do you think?

23 comments:

  1. There is nothing that drives me crazier than POV switches within a chapter and unacknowledged by anything in the writing.

    I too hate gimmicky phrases in speech like POV or "it is what it is". I could go on but won't torture either of us :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think of it as from whom you tell the story.
    And I hate abbreviations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree totally. I think the source I read explained it as even the technical way you tell it from a single or multiple perspective and how you decide to hold back details or not.

      Delete
  3. What I hate more than abbreviations is misuse of a term. It doesn't sound like the judges were talking about POV at all. They were talking about platform or persona, as you said. If there's anyway to compare it to literature, I think it would align more with voice than POV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree they definitely needed a different term. And they needed to stop saying, "P-O-V" - so annoying.

      Delete
  4. i see what you mean--interesting :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmmm... I'll think on it. POV can be a hard one sometimes. Hang in there.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It must be a hard one - every writing book I've looked at describe it differently.

      Delete
  6. I admit that I use the term POV all the time. :( I'm having POV issues at the moment. In my published novels, I used first person point of view (see I wrote it out 'cause I like you). It's very comfortable for me and I enjoyed it. For reasons beyond explanation, I changed to a third person narrative in my recently completed manuscript. I switched between the hero and heroine's voice in different chapters. I think it may have been a mistake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forgot to add that the last definition you gave is one I haven't heard. I thought the way you tell it is your voice.

      Delete
  7. I'd never heard of POV as the way you tell a story, interesting. This is something I find very difficult to maintain consistently. For me, first person POV is the hardest to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. I might give it a try for my next story. I dunno.

      Delete
  8. That's one of those things that can really mess with your writer's voice! So hard to get it right!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think voice needs to come first.

      Delete
  9. I'm not sure chef judges are experts on literary devices. Of course, if they use the term enough, its meaning will change. I always thought of a point of view as the person whose head we are inside. Regardless if it's first person, or third.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think it's difficult to write in first person though I've read some terrific work in 1st. I've never read anything written in 2nd. I never really thought about POV in relationship to TV shows but I guess it makes sense for shows like the one you mentioned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best stories for me were written in 1st person. Call me Ishmael. A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid uses 2nd person briefly and does sit perfectly in my opinion. It's not exactly fiction though.

      Delete
  11. I think it's interesting that POV is even discussed on a cooking show! I have tagged you for a MeMe on my blog if you are interested

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tag. I thought it was really odd that they used that term with so much confidence as if everyone knew precisely what they meant by it.

      Delete
  12. It does seem like an odd phrase to use in terms of presenting a cooking show.

    ReplyDelete