This week’s video highlights a specific type of scene that should almost never be told from the antagonist’s point of view.
It can sometimes be tricky to figure out which scenes are best told from the antagonist’s point of view. In general, I prefer a minimalistic approach to antagonist POVs, mostly because your standard bad guy tends not to have all that much to add to the story from an internal perspective. In most stories, your bad guy’s POV is just not going to be as interesting as your protagonist’s POV—or at least one would hope it isn’t. Plus, you also have the pitfalls of the antagonist’s POV possibly lessening tension, lending itself to info dumps or internal monologing, that sort of thing. So I would always caution writers to double check all antagonist POV scenes, just to make sure they’re serving the story as well as possible.
But, really, what I want to talk about today is a specific instance in which you’re almost always going to be better off not using the antagonist’s POV. And this is in confrontational scenes between the antagonist and the protagonist. This is so for a couple of reasons. The most obvious and most important one is that your readers are inevitably going to care much more about what your protagonist does and what happens to him. We care about the protagonist. We’re rooting for him, not the bad guy. Therefore, we’d much rather be in his POV.
But there’s another reason for this. You’ve no doubt heard the advice to give a scene’s POV to whichever character has the most at stake. Well, sometimes that character is going to be your bad guy. But please resist the urge to entirely frame confrontational scenes from the bad guy’s POV. This may seem like a clever way to show your hero’s skill as he whups the bad guy—and occasionally it may be—but, again, readers aren’t likely to really care about watching the poor little bad guy’s struggles to overcome the indomitable hero. Until that final battle, the odds should be the other way around—and the POVs should reflect that.
Thumbnail – Screen Capture From Video
Originally published on Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors