|Photo by Jason Odell|
In a nutshell, being in deep POV means you're in the character's head, very much the way you are in 1st person. You see only what he can see, hear only what he can hear. You're privy to emotions, to thoughts. The author isn't on the page. There is no narrator.
And, just as with first person, you have to work to let the reader know what you want her to know, or not know what you don't want her to know. Nobody said it was easy.
1. Don't cheat the reader. If it's logical for a character to be thinking of something in a scene, you can't hide it from the reader.
2. Make sure your characters don't notice things they would miss. This is one of my "pet peeves" with characters noticing brand names, designer labels, composers, or artists, that they logically shouldn't recognize. My favorite example – the red carpet parade before an awards show. Husband lost an argument and can't watch the game. She, if she's fashion conscious might reflect on the style of gown, perhaps even recognize the designer. The man's probably not going to go much beyond, "nice tits."
3. No unconscious thoughts. No slipping into omniscient POV. Music, which he didn't recognize as Mozart, drifted from the room. No slipping out of character. "He didn't notice Frank pour the drink." If your POV character didn't notice it, then the reader can't see it, either.
4. Don't use distancing words. Avoid 'he thought' in place of 'he said.' If you're in deep POV, the reader should know that the character is thinking. If your character is facing a man with a gun, and you write, "She was going to die," it's obvious that's what she's thinking. It's not necessary to write, "She was going to die, she thought."
5. Use anchoring words to maintain deep POV. Now, some "rule followers" might tell you to avoid these words because they're distancing, or adverbs, or some other violation. But if you're in a character's head, that character can't know for sure what someone else is thinking, seeing, hearing, etc. So, words like "seemed" "saw" or "wanted" help ground the reader. "He saw her eyebrow twitch and knew she was one step away from slapping him."
And, I'll add a reminder – whatever POV you choose, however many characters have front and center page time, it's about the transitions. If your reader follows your shifts, whether they're done with extra line breaks, asterisks, or just plain good transitional writing, then you've done your job.
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Third person doesn't have to be deep. It just happens to be the way I like to read and write.
Any preferences or pet peeves about POV?
|Terry Odell is the author of numerous romantic suspense novels, mystery novels, as well as contemporary romance short stories. Most of her books are available in both print and digital formats. She's the author of the Blackthorne, Inc. series, steamy romantic suspense novels featuring a team of covert ops specialists, the Pine Hills Police series, set in a small Oregon town, and the Mapleton Mystery series, featuring a reluctant police chief in a small Colorado town. To see all her books, visit her website. You can also find her at her blog, Terry's Place, as well as follow her on Twitter, or visit her Facebook page.|