The mother of a talented teenage writer recently asked me to review a portion of her daughter’s novel. It thrills me to see talented young writers pursuing their dreams. While I found much to praise in her work, I suggested she study “deep point of view”.
Writers speak of it often, but I wanted to direct this teenager to an article explaining the concept. That proved difficult to find. We’ve mentioned it here, but I wanted something in detail.
Deep Point of View isn’t “active voice” or even “showing rather than telling,” although those concepts improve any writing, from essays to novels.
Writing in “deep point of view” means rather than peeking over the shoulder of someone, you’re inside the character’s skin. You see what they see, hear what they hear, touch what they touch, etc. You think their thoughts.
Instead of writing, she saw a feather flutter to the ground; you write, a feather fluttered to the ground.
More examples: She felt the icy rain run down her back. (Not deep POV.) Icy rain drizzled inside her collar. (Deep POV.)
If you want to write in deep point of view, beware of phrases such as, she saw, she felt, she wondered, etc. Just state the action.
Another point vital to this concept: don’t label emotions. Take a look at the following examples.
Sarah felt happy at the beach.
Sarah squished her feet in the hot sand then sprinted full speed into the waves.
You can include some physiological responses. Depending upon your scene, you might have goose bumps, dizziness, nausea, sweating, etc. Again, use strong verbs for these. The sweat trickled down her neck. Remember, she cannot see her own face blush. But you can write: A rush of heat stung her face.
Words such as felt, watched, thought, wondered, considered, and so on, yank the reader out of this deep point of view.
One last observation. Since you’re right in the character’s skin while writing this way, it’s essential to make your main character likeable. No one wants to be inside the head of Miss Smarty Pants or Mr. Joe Too Cool.
Any questions? Or do you have more suggestions for writing in Deep POV?
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