Can anyone tell me why we are all told to stick rigidly to one POV in each scene, with the limitations that entails? The idea took hold quite recently, towards the end of the last century. Why is it such a good idea? Whose idea was it? (My theory is that the person responsible was a thwarted writer running a class for other unpublished writers).
Switching POVs is something that doesn't bother a reader unless he's studied writing. My daughter (a voracious reader) is fine with it, though she pounced on my one bit of authorial intrusion like a terrier on a rat, despite the fact that she’d never heard the expression. ‘You’re telling the reader what to think,’ she said.
My favourite authors use multiple POVs. In Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault there is one scene at a horse fair where the POV goes all over the place; Philip, Alexander, Hephaistion, the royal horse trainer, the slaves, the horse seller and even the horse. I'd never thought there was anything wrong with the scene. A more recent example of an author who ignores the ‘rule’ is Philip Reeve, in Mortal Engines.
I switch POVs in scenes between two people, where I want the reader to know what each of them is thinking. Sticking to one POV impoverishes the scene. In the episode where Jervaid is intent on seducing Tor, while she plans to enlist his help with stealing a dragon egg, I want the reader to be party to the thoughts of both, and root for Tor and Jervaid.
And don’t tell me it’s confusing. If you genuinely find it confusing, all I can say is, you’re very easily confused and should probably not be allowed out on your own.
I think it’s a rule made to be broken, unlike say, rules for apostrophes, where you are either right or wrong. (Switching topics, it astonishes me that so many would-be authors don’t bother to look up and learn the few, simple apostrophe rules).
I suspect that one day, single POV will go out of fashion like the dramatic unities theory that had such a crippling effect on French drama, while Shakespeare didn’t give a damn about it.. Swap Shakespeare for Moliere and Racine? I think not…