Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What is Deep POV?



Just when you think you’ve figured out this thing called Point of View, you get an editor who says “go deeper.” So, what does deep POV mean, anyway?

Basically, it is taking the author completely out of the story, leaving the reader inside the head of the character. As readers we want to experience this character’s adventures vicariously. We want to see, smell, hear, taste and touch the same things the character does. The character is interpreting the story for us just like we interpret what happens in our lives. That means that in deep POV even the “less exciting” parts like description become exciting because they show emotion and personality.

Part of going deeper into POV is the “show versus tell” technique. Because we want to become Indiana Jones or Bridget Jones or whoever we’re reading about, we don’t want to be TOLD that Indiana is afraid of snakes. We want to FEEL his fear, to taste it, smell it. We don’t want to be told that Bridget is lonely, we want to be lonely too. Use the five senses liberally.

Drop the taglines (he said, she whispered etc). Example: “Why do you insist I make that speech?” she asked. Mary’s hands shook and she knew she would have butterflies. (Drop the “she asked” and go with the action or reaction.)

Weed out the thought and sense words. If we are in Mary’s head, we know she’s thinking (again no tagline needed). Likewise with words like “felt”, “saw”, “watched” and “knew”. We don’t need to be told that she felt her hands shake or that she has butterflies—describe how those butterflies feel inside her. She watched a smile spread across Dick’s face. Simply: A smile spread across Dick’s face.


So, don’t create distance between your reader and your character by inserting your (telling) self. Let them hear the character’s voice. Let them feel her fear/joy/confusion etc. It’s personal and intimate. Readers will form a stronger connection to the characters and then they will have to know what happens to them, so they’ll keep turning the pages and wanting to read your next book.

Do you have any more tips on creating Deep POV?

A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona where she blogs, teaches writing, and edits. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. The next book in the series is Dare to Dream, and a non-fiction book Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women, is also available. Heidi has a degree in journalism and a certificate in fiction writing.

10 comments :

  1. Narrator intrustions and "telling" are used and can be overlooked, but they remind you that the character is talking to you, much like a voiceover in a movie. A submersive experience is the ultimate reading high for me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I started reading a kindle book this morning where the author introduced the character, saying something like, "My name is so and so." That immediately turned me off, because it sounded like the author talking, not the character.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whew, Heidi ... I'm glad this post was about Deep POV and not Deep ... oh, never mind.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The best way I know to get into the head of the character is to actually become that character. S/He is no longer in a book, she's me, I'm her, feel her, think like her, hurt like her. Then when I stop writing, I take a Valium. (Kidding about the last part, though sometimes...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, sometimes you feel like you need a Valium, after all those "rules" you learn. The more you learn, the less you know!

      Delete
  5. Good info, Heidi. When there were a couple of scenes in my book where it felt like there was too much objective distance from the character, I stepped away from the manuscript, picked up a journal, and wrote a journal entry about the experience from the character's POV and just let her rip. After I had enough compelling personal material in hand, then I massaged it and rewove it into a more intimately experienced scene.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is great, Cara. A good tip when you are too involved and get stuck--change POV and get a new perspective.

      Delete
  6. This is a powerful article, Heidi, a topic that every writer needs to review. Dialogue tags are a pet peeve of mine when I edit and for the very reason you mentioned -- they absolutely do create a gap between character and reader, one that pulls the reader out of the story and into the ranks of a sideline observer. Excellent reminders!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great info. I particularly like when the description accurately conveys the characters personality. Harder to do, but worth the effort.

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...