I was reading last night, and you know how you can never read normally again once you start writing yourself? You keep noticing lines you'd write differently. Anyway, I came across a line that made me stop and think, "POV shift," and it wasn't (it stayed in the earlier POV), and I wondered why I'd thought viewpoint shifted.
Anyway, here's the line. We're in Mike's POV, and Judy is the other character. So we've been inside Mike's head as he sprawls on the easy chair. Judy's in another part of the house.
When Judy came out of the kitchen, Mike was watching golf on the TV.
I thought that was in Judy's POV. But it's not-- the next line is in Mike's thoughts:
Mike looked up and wondered what was annoying her. Oh, right. Golf. She always complained he was wasting his life, golf at the club, golf video games, golf on the TV.
I think the one line (in red) seems out of his POV because... well. Why? The verb "came out" is part of it, not sure. Would "emerge" be better? I guess "came out" somehow seems like it's happening IN her, not like he's observing her. Also he's watching TV, so for a second, I have to wonder-- how can he see her coming out?
So... lousy lines, I know, but I want to keep things simple. Do you read that as "out of viewpoint"? Or am I just compulsive?
And if you were going to fix it so that it was clearly (but not obtrusively) in his POV, just so there's no "bump" felt by the reader, what would you do?
Would it help to flip the clauses so that "Mike" is first?
While Mike was watching golf on the TV, Judy came out of the kitchen.
Mike was watching golf on the TV when Judy came out of the kitchen.
Given that it's a stupid line... what would you do?
I know it seems like a little problem, if a problem at all. But the passage is in "deep POV" (notice the Oh, right. Golf. in the next paragraph, which is in his voice, so "deep") and I think when you put your passage in deep POV, that doesn't allow much leeway-- EVERYthing happens from inside his head.
Oddly enough, I came across this same issue, and it was also about going through a door, so I wonder if entries and exits from a scene (which are often the point you can change POV effectively) are especially dangerous. The sentence was something like:
Officer Coleman pushed through the door and out of the office.
If you (I mean, the viewpoint) were Lt. Juarez sitting at the desk watching the officer go, you'd write that line differently than if you were Officer Coleman leaving the office and the lieutenant behind.
Officer Coleman left and the office door swung shut behind him.
(We're seeing through Juarez's eyes, and we don't see the officer go into the hallway, rather just the door closing.)
Officer Coleman pushed through the office door and into the empty hallway.
(We're in the officer's body, so we end up in the hallway.)
Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm compulsive. I guess lines like the Judy one indicate an insufficient grounding in the deep POV. If the writer can't write entirely from the POV character's perspective, how is the reader supposed to "become" that character?
(BTW, I do NOT think deep POV is the only or even the best way to go, just that, if you're in it, be IN it.)
So if you were revising/editing that Judy line, what would you do to make it in Mike's POV?