Deep Point of View refers to getting inside your character and writing almost from their first-person perspective. It’s POV that connects the reader to the character’s emotions, letting the reader become closer to the story, more involved.
Even without “Deep POV,” you can tighten your writing by being aware that EVERY word counts. Each word, phrase, paragraph, scene, and chapter should work together to progress your story either by revealing GMC or dropping a clue that will help the reader understand something at a later point.
Deep POV ties emotion to actions and reactions, and connects the current action to what’s going on inside the character’s head (introspection, emotion, reaction).
Since people think in specifics, letting our characters think in specifics brings the reader closer to that character and WHY they’re thinking what they’re thinking at that exact moment. When you’re deep in a character’s POV, the character doesn’t keep secrets from himself (a Suzanne Brockmann tip I learned many moons ago).
DEEP POV lets the reader experience the story...instead of someone telling them the story. Very simple changes subtly change a sentence from “telling” into “showing” and bring us closer to the character, giving us insight into their world.
As writers we’re consistently told to avoid using “telling” words and phrases: felt, saw, heard, just as, plus, because, knew, little does she know, without thinking, however, she continued, he thought, she realized, couldn’t help but, can’t help noticing. BUT WHY? As a writer, have you dissected your favorite type of book and looked at the type of sentence structure that excites you as a reader?
She knew she had to run, but it felt like her feet were stuck in quicksand.
Run. Now. Make your quicksand feet move before you’re dead.
The first sentence is very passive. (Very Telling, as if I’m telling you how a third person felt.) Several years ago, the second example would have appeared in italics. It’s as if the character is talking to herself. Let’s think about this for a minute. If we’re in a character’s POV, we’re already in their… You got it! We’re already in their thoughts. So write as if you’re thinking. When thinking, we’re not formal. We use the same verbiage. We think in the same phrases. My writing “style” is to italicize for emphasis and when the character is directing a thought AT themselves (i.e.: I can run).
DEEP POV THROUGH SETTING
If the description doesn’t impact the character, it won’t impact the reader.
Setting is more than just describing the landscape or type & color of the furniture. It’s the tone of your characters’ surroundings and the attitude in which they think about it. If a man walks into a room and notices the paisley print curtains, he better be an interior designer or those curtains better look just like the set at his mother’s house. It’s not “in-character” for the Average Joe to notice curtains. The same goes for a heroine standing on her porch and describing the surroundings she sees every day. The author needs a reason for the heroine to be thinking about her surroundings.
At least one of your characters will be very familiar and comfortable with their corner of the world. The other will be observing not only the new locale, but also the way another character moves through it. Setting includes the observations about the actual way things look vs. the way things make a character feel. One or two words throughout a character’s thoughts can set the tone of your book and give you an excellent backdrop.
A FEW QUICK EXAMPLES:
It rained on them. VS Rain pelted them like ice shards.
They got in the rental car trying to get warm. VS They were both soaked to the skin, making him wish he’d rented a car with warming seats.
Let the reader experience the story instead of telling them the story...
When an author “lists” what a character is doing, they are viewing the scene from somewhere else--meaning another character or an omniscient POV (and the author usually ends up “telling” what’s happening instead of “showing” the action). By “list” I mean what they do through the scene step-by-step. To get deep POV, the author concentrates more on emotion and/or WHY the character is consciously thinking about his own movements.
Combining action, emotion and scene pulls the reader in and keeps them turning pages. Another outside character can’t know the true emotional reaction of what’s happening to the characters involved in the scene, and an omniscient POV places an interpretation upon the feelings the characters are experiencing.
The following is from my new book DANGEROUS MEMORIES (title may change) coming from Harlequin Intrigue. The first paragraph is how NOT to write an active scene, followed by what I actually wrote.
NOT ACTIVE, NOT DEEP POV
Levi watched while people ran to safety at the funeral. He needed to get Joseph’s daughter to safety so he ran through the flower arrangements and tackled her to the ground. He watched the wreaths fall onto the casket as roses and rain pelted them.
DANGEROUS MEMORIES (hopefully active and half-way decent)
Levi hurdled a flower arrangement to get her to safety faster. He should have listened to himself earlier and stood next to her. He heard the shot. Choices? Either hit the dirt or run like those in his peripheral vision. He leapt in a flying tackle to take Joseph’s daughter down with him.
He’d pushed hard off the slippery grass, heavily landing on top of Jolene. He turned as much as he could to take the brunt of the fall. Their bodies slid off the fake-grass rug, into the mud.
Wreath stands fell onto the casket.
Roses and other flowers fell on their heads.
Rain pelted them like ice shards.
Levi rolled on top of her, keeping his weight on his elbows and knees, using the bullet-proof vest he wore to shield her heart. If it were only that easy.
CAN YOU TELL A DIFFERENCE? The first paragraph tells the same information, but doesn’t get my heart racing like the section from my book. There’s one last thing you need to know about “telling” --always remember when it’s used correctly, it can be a good way to cut to the chase and get the information you need onto the page in the quickest fashion. Bottom line? Be aware of how you’re writing and manipulate how it affects the scene and what you want the reader to feel as a result of reading it.
Which example do you prefer? Let me know in your comment and I’ll put your name in the hat for some TEXAS magnets.
I CAN’T INCLUDE EVERYTHING SO…
For more Examples of “DEEP POV” go to my website article (soon to be posted on my own updated website.)
Angi Morgan writes “Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love.” She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Hill Country Holdup went on sale the very night it won the RWA Golden Heart® award and is a Bookseller’s Best & Romantic Times Best First Series Book Nominee. Her second Harlequin Intrigue®, .38 Caliber Cover-Up, is a Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Nominee.
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