Monday, March 3, 2014

Simple Techniques in Writing Deep POV

Simple Techniques in Writing Deep POV

By V.S. Nelson

Writing in Deep POV (point of view) has become increasingly popular over the past twenty plus years. Although it has been around for quite some time, it has become the most popular POV for writers, not only in romance but most popular fiction genres. It is also the most desired POV by many editors and agents currently seeking submissions.

So what is deep POV and how is it used?

Deep POV is third-person subjective which digs deeper into the soul of the character which takes the readers into the head and heart of the character. This allows your story to be seen and felt by the reader as though he or she is actually experiencing the characters thoughts and most inner most feelings. What the first-person POV accomplishes with the I narration the deep POV accomplishes uses the third-person he narration. The reader will see scenes through the viewpoint of the character, feel the same pain the character does, and see the same scene as if the reader is actually part of the story

Using deep POV an author can eliminate using terms like she thought, he felt, and he saw. Phrases that were once necessary to let the reader know what was inside the character’s head are replaced with the character’s thoughts in italics or actions that show, not tell what is going on in the scene from the characters point of view.

I have given you a few examples of changing the standard third person writing to deep POV third person below.

3rd person POV

Mary believed she loved him. Sitting down on the sofa she made the decision to tell him tomorrow when she saw him.

3rd person Deep POV 

I love him. I need him. I’ll tell him. Sitting down on the sofa….

3rd person POV

Alice danced around the room. It is ridiculous, he said to himself, the way she acts after a couple of beers. Mark smiled and handed her another beer.

3rd person Deep POV

Alice danced around the room. God, she’s a light weight. Grinning, Mark handed her another.

So what do you think? Is Mark planning on getting her drunk? Add a few more sentences and see where the story takes you.

Where the first-person narrator doesn’t have to identify his own feelings and thoughts as being his own, the third-person deep POV character does not have to repeatedly tell his readers what he’s thinking, hoping, seeing or feeling. Readers automatically understand the character’s thoughts, hopes, visions and feelings.

In addition to the above, the author who uses deep POV doesn’t have to use markers to tell readers what a character feels or thinks. The author can simply remove a few telling words to accomplish this same effect. I’ve provided you with another simple example.

Mary reluctantly held out her hand to the stranger. She thought that there was no way in hell he could be the ideal date she was promised by her best friend. She wondered how she could back out of this blind date gracefully. Remembering her high school days when people talked about cooties, she pulled her hand back quickly and felt the need to wipe her hand on her slacks.

Mary reluctantly held out her hand to the stranger. There was no way in hell he could be the ideal date Susan promised her! How she could back out of this blind date gracefully? Pulling her hand back quickly, she unconsciously wiped her hand and his cooties on her slacks. 

Can deep POV be too much… Yes.

Sometimes staying in POV for the length of an entire story or chapter can cause your reader to become antsy, almost to the point of feeling claustrophobia. Remember to draw back, give the reader a breather and step away from that deep POV while filling in the blanks by shifting your story telling/showing.

Personal Insights into Deep POV.

When writing in deep POV remember to use words and phrases only your character would use. Your audience has come to know and love your character just as much as you do and your audience will know the minute you drop the character’s true self, be it in dialog or in the deep POV writing. A character which is known as a God fearing man will not use excessive cuss words while your typical bad boy will. If you write historicals do not use modern language when you are in deep POV. I know that is simplifying things, but it shows the point I am trying to make. Like an actor’s script, let your character’s play the role they were hired to do.

Deep POV is also a great tool for stirring up conflict. By using a variety of words; nouns, verbs and adjectives you can reveal your character’s true emotion in POV. Use words which are meaningful to the character. Think personal rather than impersonal. The only thing holding you back is your own imagination.

If you’ve not experienced writing in deep POV, I encourage you to give it a try. From what I’ve experienced, most readers today like the close relationship with the characters in the novels they have selected to read. Practice writing deep POV by getting into your character’s head. Study their speech and thought patterns then bring them to life on paper by applying the simple techniques deep POV offers. Compare the before and after versions and choose which works best for you and your scene.



Maureen said...

Great post! Thank you, very informative.

Virginia Nelson said...

So glad you liked it Maureen.

Justine Covington said...

Thanks, Virginia! I hadn't really thought of a character's interior monologue as "deep POV," but it makes perfect sense. I'm glad my characters talk to themselves a lot!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

This is excellent article for both those who aspire to be published writer's and veterans who may need to find ways to chum up the waters to draw more readers. I like that you gave examples. They really demonstrated how to write in deep POV and the experience it gives the reader. Well done, Virginia.