A few weeks ago I wrote about adapting a screenplay into a novel sharing something to consider beforehand. Screenplay format is completely different. But easier for me because I’m a very visual person.
A novel is different.
My initial thinking was to break down the story so it complies with the more traditional three-act structure. But that would just delay my original goal… to write.
So I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to start writing and let the characters guide the narrative a bit more. If the story goes another direction that’s okay. If it follows the path of the screenplay then I’m okay with that as well.
My goal today is to decide what point of view I should start writing. With my screenplay, the POV was the person on the “screen” even the story had one protagonist.
With three point-of-view options, which one is the best for my story.
Rewind. I should back up a bit, in case someone wants to make some suggestions on which POV to use. The original premise line goes like this:
An action-packed thriller about a dog-loving female assassin who discovers her estranged father is the subject of an open contract hit. A man she thought was dead, a man she believes killed her mother. Now she has a chance for revenge. Things start to get complicated when she decides uncovering the truth behind his disappearance is more important than her assignment to kill him. Keeping her father alive proves to be difficult. His bounty keeps going up and everyone wants in on the cash prize. Will she be able to keep them both alive long enough to uncover the truth?
The script was written so long ago that I have the characters using flip phones. Don’t laugh.
So with the premise in mind, what is the best POV approach?
First Person POV
If I’m writing in the first person, this would make me Maxine. So I would be writing stuff like.
I reach the rooftop, unfazed by the incredible heat of the full sun above. I peer over the edge and can see my target, two men sitting at one of the tables by the pool. I kneel down and open up my suitcase, pull out my cap and throw my hair back into a ponytail. This is my routine…
Benefits of First Person
- It feels natural and the typical way we would tell a story.
- It allows me to focus on one character’s point of view.
- It allows me to create a unique internal voice.
Disadvantages of First Person
- I’m limited to writing only what the main characters sees. This will require me to rethink some of the scenes in the script.
- It doesn’t allow me to explore the feeling of the other characters.
Second Person POV
If I’m writing in the second person then YOU would be Maxine. So it would go something like this.
You reach the rooftop, unfazed by the blaring sun above. You peer off the edge and spot the two men sitting poolside…
That seems weird. There are no advantages, just a gazillion disadvantages.
Third Person POV
If I’m writing in the third person then I get to use he, she it, they and them. Which gives me a ton of options and it gives me the flexibility to sue some of the copy of the screenplay. I would be able to keep things like
Maxine kneels in the thin layer of gravel, opening up a small suitcase. She is unfazed by the incredible heat, the very definition of discipline. Even her ponytail pulled through the back of her ball cap stands at attention.
Benefits of Third Person
- I would be able to use more of the existing content.
- I can shift between the different character’s POV giving me more options.
Disadvantages of Third Person
- Changing from one POV to another could get confusing for myself and for the reader.
- Is there another POV that I’m missing?
I’m leaning towards the third person. The majority of this story is Maxine’s story and even the script she’s in the 95% of the scenes.