Deep Point of View (POV)

Deep point of view (POV) is an important writing technique for fiction writers to use to appeal to today’s readers. Tried and true writing techniques of the past are being discarded because many readers no longer have the time or the patience to wade through language that doesn’t deliver immediately.

Some of you remember times when fiction, particularly genre fiction, liberally used words like thought, felt, saw, heard … Maybe you’re old enough to remember Tom Swifties. They were clever, but groaners.

Goose honking.

Creative Commons License. Photo by James Petts

Not anymore. The idea, right or wrong, is to get closer to the reader. Get the reader inside the character’s head. Instead of “He saw the geese take flight,” it’s “As the geese took flight, one dropped a huge mass of poop on his head.”

Yeah. Ick factor. But, that is what today’s reader is looking for. We live by Facebook and reality television and the latest tweet. That’s what today’s readers are used to seeing.

Want to get to deep POV? Read your book through the eyes of a reader. Are you in the car? Flying that airplane? Tumbling down the mountain?

Or are you outside looking in?

Tips to bring your writing closer to deep POV:

Eliminate words like thought, felt, reflected, pondered, etc. When we react, we don’t mentally say, “I thought I saw a black cat.” It’s more like, “A black cat!”

Employ visceral reactions. Does your throat tighten in fear when a black cat crosses your path? What do you do when you’re nervous? Angry? Use those reactions in your story. Begin to observe others.

Make sure everything is written from the point of view character. If necessary, play the scene in your own head. If you walk into an office and someone has their head down, can you see if they are smiling?

Deep point of view (POV) can be tough to do. You may need to go through your manuscript multiple times to find all those “hoped,” “wished,” and “thoughts” you thought were already weeded out. They are insidious!

We could benefit from watching a little less television. Why? Because we are watching the characters act and that perspective leaks into our stories. Read more about deep POV by clicking here.

Another blog post on developing deep point of view was this one by Chuck Palahniuk.
Work on your deep POV this month. See if you can go from watching to being.

Have writing technique questions? Let me know!

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