One of the easiest ways to increase your understanding of point of view (POV) is to take a song you’ve completed and switch the point of view.
Changing up your point of view will help you see how the song’s message can shift simply by changing how the story is being told.
A second, additive way to enhance the message you’re trying to deliver, is to shift the perspective of the song. But more on that later!
Point of view (POV) is how the story is being told and uses a variety of pronouns depending on the POV and the possessive tense (I, he/she, we, they, theirs, his, etc.).
While we all focus a lot on point of view (POV), perspective is something you can add to your arsenal to make you song even stronger.
Perspective is the voice of the speaker. For example, is the main character’s voice Internal (thinking to themselves) or External (talking to others).
So how do you work through your point of view options?
And more importantly, how do you make it second nature as you write?
Point of View (POV) Change Exercise
Option 1: Write a direct address song where the main character is a made up person. For example, if you use the pronoun “I” it would not be referring to you, the songwriter. It would be a character you’ve created.
- Write out a character profile similar with as much detail as possible. (Example)
- Select the perspective – Internal/thinking to self or External/talking to others
- Choose a song plot, song idea and a structure.
- Write your song!
Option 2: Select a song you’ve already written. It doesn’t need to be a direct address song. You’ll just switch the POV in the next step to the one you’re not using.
Note the following:
- What doesn’t make sense anymore?
- What becomes more interesting?
- Does a verse need to change?
- Has the chorus’ meaning changed or does it still work?
- Does the emotional engagement increase or decrease?
- Overall, does the song idea become stronger?
Now change the point of view to third person omniscient (he, she, they) and answer the same questions in step 3 below.
You should end up with three versions of the same song.
Take a few minutes to go through each song (read the out loud or play them). You can also send then to a songwriting buddy, play them live, or try them out on your family members.
Get some responses and then write down the answers to the following questions:
- Which version is the strongest?
- Did your listeners note anything specific that resonated with them?
- Which one will be your keeper?