Let’s Talk About POV and Deep POV

I have been an avid reader ever since I was able to read, as early as the Dick and Jane readers.  I have read many books in my life so far and hope to read many more.  I have read books that were fantastic, some that were just good, some that were mediocre and some that were quite bad.  Many of the books I have read were written in POV, but not Deep POV.  I don’t believe that made them bad books.  On the contrary, some of them were wonderful classic stories.

So, what are POV and Deep POV?  POV is the abbreviation of Point of View which is defined, by Merriam Webster, as a position or perspective from which something is considered or evaluated; standpoint.

In fiction writing, the position from which anything is considered in any particular scene should be the character through whose head we are viewing events.  In other words, a fiction writer should tell the story from only one character’s perspective, or two characters, but then separate each character’s point of view by page breaks or chapters.  There should be no head-hopping because that can lose readers.

Most books have been written well, without head-hopping, but many have used and many continue to use what is now deemed “shallow POV” and it is considered “telling” rather than “showing” and sounds as though there is a narrator telling the story to the reader.

Example:  He realized he was quickly running out of time to find a date for the prom.

Currently, in the fiction writing world, there is a push to do even better; to write in Deep POV; to get rid of the narrator.  This is done by really knowing your POVC, (Point of View Character); knowing him or her well enough that you are completely in their head and can only write things as that POVC sees and experiences them.  Taking the same example I used above for “shallow POV”, here it is rewritten in “Deep POV”:

Wow!  Where did the time go?  If he wanted to attend the prom, he’d better ask one of the girls today.

This may not be the best example, as I am just learning this “Deep POV” stuff myself.  I shared a portion of my WIP (work in progress) in a critique group a couple of weeks ago, and it was suggested to me that I study Deep POV and do my best to use it because it really makes your writing better.  It allows your readers to connect with your characters on a deep level which will draw the reader deeper into the story and keep them reading.

A short ebook was suggested to me, and it was mentioned that it was rather inexpensive at Amazon.  So, I looked it up and purchased it and am currently reading it, studying it and trying to put it into practice.  I have to admit that it will require me to reprogram my thinking in my writing, and I am finding it challenging.  The ebook that I am reading is called “Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View” by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.  I think the book is well written and she gives great examples that appear so easy, until I have to try to do them myself.  Although, after doing her worksheet to try to change some “shallow POV” sentences into “Deep POV” sentences, which I found difficult, I, then, went to a scene in my WIP and tried to apply the concepts and change that scene from “shallow POV” to “Deep POV”, and I found that much easier than the sentences on the worksheet in the ebook.  I believe that is because I know my characters so well.

To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, I would like to share two of the examples that Jill Elizabeth Nelson shares in the book:

Shallow:  Pulling her coat tight against a frigid blast of wind, she thought she would never complain about the desert sun again.

Deep:  A frigid blast of wind iced her skin, and she pulled her coat tight around her.  She’d never complain about the desert sun again.

Shallow:  Thoughts of cake and candy tormented her.

Deep:  No sweets. No way. No how.  She wouldn’t give in to temptation.  “Yeah, right!”  Who was she fooling?

Can you see in these examples, how the shallow sound like they are being told by a narrator, and the deep sound like they are directly from inside the character’s head — no narrator?

So, what about you?  Do you use Deep POV?  Have you found it easy or difficult to utilize?

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