Posts in the Five W's of POV series:
Writing from one perspective has a lot to do with pacing. By adding the reactions, thoughts, emotions, personal opinions, and observations of one character to prose, you make your readers a part of the story. They can now identify with this character. They understand how they think and what motivates them, and how they are going to react.
Take a look at this paragraph I wrote in first-person for my coming book Never Forget:
I took another step, careful to avoid the colorful leaves strewn across the forest floor. My brown cotton skirt was balled into my hand so that I didn't make any extra noise. I held my breath. My heart raced wildly in my chest. I figured that he'd had to hear that, but he didn't move. He just sat against the tree at the edge of the woods, humming a familiar tune. I grinned. Maybe this time I'll actually surprise him. When I was just about to jump out from my hiding spot to surprise him, he calmly said, "You might as well come out, Barra. I know you're there."
I started with a line of POV action: "I took another step..." You could use your character's action or a non-POV's action.
I followed this with a reaction to the action: "I held my breath. My heart raced wildly..." This line should be in the POV's viewpoint.
Then came a line of thought: "I figured that he had to hear that..."
Followed by a line of more action--this time the non-POV's: "...he didn't move. He just sat there ... humming a tune."
Then another reaction, again it is the POV's viewpoint: "I grinned."
Followed by another thought: "Maybe this time I'll actually surprise him."
Followed by another non-POV action: "...he said, "You might as well come out..."
See the pattern? Reactions and thoughts following actions. Actions can be performed by anyone, but you can always see what the POV is thinking and feeling by their reactions and thoughts.
But how do you express non-POV's? This paragraph could be an example:
Mr. Smith frowned at Lucy. He obviously wasn't happy at her picture. But she didn't care. It was her picture, after all. Her art. And if he thought something was wrong, he could just go hang himself. In fact, she told him just that."You don't like it. Get over it."He opened and closed his mouth like he didn't know what to say. Then he turned and walked to another student. Lucy smiled and turned back to her work. Hopefully, that meant he wouldn't bother her again.
I just made that up on the spot, applying action followed by reaction and action. First, I wrote it in first person, then I switched it to third person. You get a hint of what the teacher is thinking based on his actions and the POV's reactions. But in real life, that is all we really know about what someone is really feeling or thinking, from their actions and our opinions.
Now as the author, I know that Mr. Smith actually loves Lucy's work, he loves being a teacher, and he loves art. He remembers the encouragement his own teacher gave him and wants to be that kind of mentor to his students. Especially Lucy because she reminds him of himself. She's just as bitter and cynical as he once was... But he has this nasty habit of frowning as he studies art. It's his "concentration" face. And he doesn't know how to overcome his own shyness to give to someone else what he received from his mentor. But he's determined to try.
If the art teacher was a significant character in the story, then you can switch POV's for the next class. Or when he goes home and talks to his wife. Or maybe he visits his childhood mentor who gives him some wise advice.
And if he isn't a major part of the story, you can have another scene in that same classroom and Lucy learns that she misjudged him. All from Lucy's perspective because he's not important enough to be a POV.
I'd love to hear from all of you. Please leave a comment to write a possibility for the teacher's perspective or a new scene from Lucy's. It will be fun to see all the different possibilities.