Will I survive the pressure of choosing the right POV?
Hi. Today I’m here to pose a bunch of questions to which I have no answers and are therefore making me feel incredibly stuck. As I’ve said before, I process by talking or writing things through, so this is just a bunch of slapdash musing. I’m currently working on a detailed outline of each scene, and I’m struggling so much with point of view. I’ve always known that I wanted to alternate third person limited between my two protagonists, Avery and Erica, as they try to solve a missing persons case. But I keep going back and forth on whether to include the abduction victim’s POV as well. Looking in on him periodically would fundamentally change the narrative structure of the book. Without seeing him, the reader has no idea if he’s even still alive. They don’t know what’s at stake for him. The mystery unfolds entirely through Avery and Erica’s investigative work. But if we see what’s going on from his POV, the reader knows more than the investigators, albeit not in a way that reveals the entire story or even the identity of the kidnapper(s). In this version, the reader has a different experience attempting to solve the mystery than Avery and Erica do. I know this is all obvious to anyone who's every read or watched a mystery. I’m just working through it anyway for like the hundredth time in case I’m struck by something. When I began developing the story of the abduction, establishing who the perpetrator(s) and victim are and why, I immediately envisioned scenes along the way that showed them together. That was crucial for my own reference to make sure the storyline has a clear trajectory from start to finish. I’m just not sure if the reader needs to know everything I do, at least not in the same order. I’ve made a list of pros and cons for each method, and the list of pros for including the victim’s POV is about twice as long. But there’s a question looming over all of it that in my opinion may be more important than anything on that list: What do we gain by seeing the victim’s POV? Because it doesn't really matter if I’ve come up with some compelling interactions between captor(s) and captive, and fun ways to tease out information while we’re with them. Do those scenes ultimately serve the story best, or are they just darlings that need to be killed off? I'm not sure why it's such a hard question, but I'm failing to answer it. An essential part of this book, and what I’m most excited to explore, involves who Avery and Erica are as individuals, and how they’re affected by a mysterious connection they discover between them. In light of that, my wife suggested I stick with only the POV of those two, because the character development of the victim doesn’t contribute to that goal. Still, the mystery plot line is pretty damn important… but is it enhanced enough by the victim’s POV that it could work alongside the other plot without disrupting the flow? I’ve tried continuing to map out scenes in chronological order with a stubborn hope that the right choice would emerge. No such luck. And I’m getting to the point where I can’t really go further without deciding because I’ve got to organize how and when I disclose information needed to crack the case. So yeah, I’m overwhelmed. It doesn't help that my anxiety has been on the rise lately anyway (happy holidays, everybody?), so I’m having an extra hard time focusing enough to get to the bottom of this. I’m feeling uncomfortably scattered, which means I’ve come up with a million ways to procrastinate. Anything to avoid facing this conundrum and having to make a decision. Because decisions are my worst enemy. I’m always terrified of making the wrong choice and ruining everything. I really want this book to be the best it can be. What if I mess it up? Sigh. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for listening to me whine. Hit me with any insights you have below, and pray that the gods of storytelling and chocolate (aka writers’ fuel) use my keyboard like a Ouija board to guide my fingers in the right direction.