How To Find Your Spiky POV (If You're Stuck)

If you’re stuck on the Spiky POV, I recommend going through the Bonus: Mr. Should exercise — that will help a lot. 

If you can’t figure out what Mr. Should would say, think about: 

  • What do people around you say about your topic?
  • What advice or opinions do you hear that you disagree with?

Try writing down at least 5 of those. Think of specific people in your life who have bugged you. Friends, family, teachers, authority figures, people on TV, etc.

Also know that it’s not about being controversial, it’s about stirring up emotions in your reader!

You don’t need to be provocative in a negative way — but if you stir up positive emotions in some people, naturally there will be another group of people who are not super-interested in it.

I often find that there is some confusion between your POV being “spiky” and “repelling” — your book shouldn’t be repelling. There should just be an audience of people who won’t be super-interested in it. 

For example, if I write a book on my quest to cure cancer, no decent person would be repelled by it, but many people would not be interested in reading it.

My “spiky POV” could be that I think the best way to cure cancer is to stand on your head for 10 hours until an idea comes. Or to give up everything in your life and go study at the best university 24 hours a day. Those would be Spiky POVs, but certainly not repelling.

Some students struggle to find a Spiky POV within the memoir genre — a Spiky POV for memoir would be the takeaways / theme of your book.

For example: Can’t Hurt Me. Spiky POV: People are too weak and need to toughen up. 

Or: Eat, Pray, Love. Spiky POV: You should stop living your normal life and go travel and follow your heart.

If you’re writing a book that’s more geared towards children and unsure how to apply a Spiky POV to that model, remember that parents are the ones who will typically be buying and recommending the book to others. So: You want to think of how you can make it so that parents want to buy and recommend the book.

The Spiky POV might not be as explicit as it would be in an adult book … but all of the same principles apply. Instead of arguing a Spiky POV in the book itself … you’ll just want the topic to have some angle that some parents may disagree with.

For example, a past client of mine wrote a children’s book where each chapter was a new country that a child and parent traveled to together. It might not be super controversial, but it’s still “spiky” to center a whole children’s book on the topic of traveling the world as a kid — because many parents would think that is too unrealistic, dangerous or scary.

Remember: Your Spiky POV doesn’t need to be “controversial,” but it should be something that shows you have a unique perspective that others may respectfully disagree with.

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