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Problems with POV


I believe this is the correct forum for this, please move if not and sorry.

I'm a little over 10k words into my current project, and am still having a bit of trouble getting into the voice to write it correctly. First a little bit of background : The main protagonists are a pair of brothers, 15 and 11. The main plot points are about the boys trying to understand how their parents are involved in a war that is breaking out. The setting is similar to Europe, with a group of smaller nations all closely positioned and different points in the story have the boys behind both friendly and enemy borders. Technology is close to a Hayao Miyazaki styled WWII. Some fantasy elements with good trench warfare aspects.

So i've written from the point of Jack, the older brother and plan on focusing on him as the true "main" character as he attempts to protect his brother and face any immaturity or doubts that linger around in the head of a 15 year old boy. My biggest issue right now is how to stay within the head of Jack but still let the reader know how Jacob(the little brother) is dealing with the situations.

Basically, how do all of you get into the head of your protagonist without all of the other character's creeping in aswell? Do you do anything special to help yourself really get into the main character's POV?

Bonus Question! : I'm hoping this story ends up as something that younger and older readers can both enjoy. But there is a fair bit of violence planned in my outline. I'd like to hear your opinions on how far I can take the battle scenes before it would be considered too graphic for a younger audience?


First person POV can be very tricky. For starters, you need to stay in your character's voice to make it sound real. If you're character is a boy, why is he talking like a wise poet? If he's telling the story, how can he possibly know all that information about the villain he hasn't even met yet? These kinds of things can wear you down. If done well enough though, this first person POV can be very engaging-- much like a Chuck Palahnuik book. If your character has a lot of interesting things to say to the audience, it becomes much more engaging.

But now to address the issue of how to let the reader know how other characters are dealing with situations. Here are some tricks you probably already have in your writing.

Responding to expressions of emotion:

"His face tells me what he doesn't dare say aloud: He's worried about me. He thinks I'm not ready yet."

"My brother looks at me with an expression of utter confusion. He doesn't understand why we have to leave."

"From his raised eyebrows, I can tell he doesn't think I'm strong enough to face the Dread Knight alone."

Related flashbacks:

"I remember when we used to play chasing games in the fields. Was this how he felt then, all those years ago?"

"As I watched the two argue, I couldn't help but think about the last time I saw Jacob lose his cool... "

"He must really be upset about his missing ring. In all our years together, I've never seen him throw such a fit."

As for violence. I think it's cool, as long as it's not torture. The new generation is used violence in video games. Also, if you're lucky enough to get an agent or a professional editor. They'll tell you what you need to change.


Thank you for the examples, it makes sense to give the character an internal monologue of his reactions to his surroundings. My hardest part is going to make sure that I am writing from the outside of the little brother's head. The examples you gave have given will be good to reference while im working on the project.
As for violence. I think it's cool, as long as it's not torture. The new generation is used violence in video games..
I was thinking about this same thing when I posted the question earlier


the pov

I imagine the pov that I am in their head and seeing through their eyes and ears. If he cannot hear it it cannot be in the story