There’s been a lot of discussion and praise for Deep POV, a relatively new writing technique. When I first heard of it a couple of years ago, I felt intimidated by how difficult it seemed to write in this manner. I didn’t think I could ever master it. But, in order to make my stories the best they can be, it’s something that needs to be done.
Deep POV can be defined as writing that “takes readers into the head and heart of a character, allowing the story to be seen and felt through the characters’ experiences and history and thoughts and feelings.” It’s also called limited third person. Third person is written using he/she/they narration. However, Deep POV transcends this. Instead of writers using “author intrusion” to show their characters feelings, motivations, thoughts, actions, and goals with suggestive words like thought, know, understand, and so on, Deep POV unites the intimacy of first person narration with third person POV that creates a stronger, deeper, leaner, and cleaner style of writing.
As a result, readers see scenes through the viewpoint character, they can actually feel the story events as the character experiences each moment. Basically, what the viewpoint character sees, the reader sees. And what the character thinks or feels, the reader knows.
Wow. Incredible. Amazing!
But . . .
How do you even attempt to write like this on a regular basis? It’s all well and good to revise and edit in this style while rereading the story. Since this is new to me, I struggle with getting in the practice of writing this way during “first draft” time.
Well, since old habits die hard, I’ve had to catch myself using phrases like “he thought” and “he felt” as I write, in order to cut down revision time. Working smarter, not harder! Of course, the process itself is easier said than done. And likewise, deep point of view is a challenge to master, but once you’re revised your manuscript by eliminating specific words and phrases, your story becomes a glorious piece of work to behold!
Here are some easy to follow tips:
Words to Search and Find
During self-editing and revision time, use the Search and Find tool (if using Microsoft Word) to locate these shallow words in order to deepen your writing:
Why? You want to make sure that described the sense itself. Example: He smelled the rose. Instead use, The rose smelled sweet.
Why? You want to put the reader in the thought, not outside of it. By using these verbs, the reader is on the outside looking in. We don’t want that! Example: He remembered the day she had died. Instead use, She had died and a part of him had died too.
Sadness . . . and so on
Why? Because in this case (and not every case) showing and not telling is more powerful because the reader has more to understand and thus, more to feel along with the character. Example: She frightened him. Instead use, If he rebelled against her, she would murder all of his loved ones, (forcing him to watch) and smiling all the while.
In order to write more deeply, consider using the above tips. And most importantly, see the world through the eyes of your point of view character and filter what happens through their perspective. Doing so will make your writing sharper, more focused, more authentic, and clearer.