Scripts that lack depth and believability are typically written by authors whose primary concern was the main character(s). While most stories have a principal character, the importance and value of lesser-seen characters should never fall below that of the lead role. Even though it may seem odd focusing time on developing secondary characters, writing out the point of view of all primary and secondary characters creates realism within the realm of a screenplay as well as within the mind of the writer.
Writing to the Point of View of “important” characters is far from a waste of time. Exploring the world through their eyes offers clarity and potential story improvements.
Structure of POV Writing
First off, what is written during this exercise is rarely utilized within the actual script. Therefore, there isn’t a standard format a writer must adhere to. Some writers choose to write in standard script formatting; however, I opt for writing short stories from the perspective of said character. Keep in mind, I only write based upon the world and events within the story I’m creating. It would be fruitless to write from the POV of a character set in a different time or place. The reason behind this is the human truth that we behave/react differently based upon our surroundings and history.
If a writer was to fabricate an experience or transport a character to a different geographic location or time period, then the reactions and internal dialogue would not be applicable to the script. Always write character POV stories within the boundaries of the script and its scenes.
Don’t have the script fully written or existing scenes must be rewritten? Utilize this exercise as a way of exploring scene possibilities and character relationships. Many writers find the POV exercise opens up clues regarding the story and subsequent scenes (it may also help eliminate scenes or unfitting story elements).
It’s Written…Now What?
Congratulations, you’ve successfully written the first of several POV stories. Next, carefully read and absorb information created within this document. How does the character differ from initial character developments? Did their history change at any point? What did the character reveal about himself that was otherwise unknown?
It is vital writers take POV documents seriously and utilize them as a psychic medium into the inner workings of its character. If a writer finds very little has changed regarding the opinion or direction of said character, then one of two things is happening – the writer cultivated a well-rounded and perfect character or the writer grasped too tightly to pre-existing biographies and outlines. While these documents are essential, writers must absolutely allow characters the freedom to change and adapt without notice or even reason.