The first time I read a critique telling me to write in a deeper POV, I wasn't quite sure where to start or even exactly what that meant. How did I get even deeper when I already felt like the reader could really relate to my character?
So I studied up over the years, and though I still get that critique here and there, I've discovered ways to take that POV deeper and a process that will help me do so.
What is Deep POV?
Deep POV is intimate third person. It's showing readers instead of telling them. It's helping the reader create a bond with the character - much like first person - and it can also mean have a stronger voice.
And how do we write in deep POV?
Show Don't Tell
Do you ever get those critiques that say, SHOW me that the character is happy/sad/angry/etc., don't TELL me!
What they're saying is, write in a deeper POV. Don't tell the reader the emotion, show them.
Instead of writing, Veronica was happy.
Try instead, Veronica's smile stretched wide across her face.
You're giving the reader the idea that Veronica is very happy without ever having to identify the emotion.
Also, try taking out all those telling words like saw, watched, heard.
Becca walked to the window and heard the dog barking in the back yard.
Instead, try Becca walked to the window, the dog's piercing barks reaching her through two panes of glass.
Reaction, then Action
Showing not telling is a great start, and another tactic I've tried is following a process of reaction. Give the character a reaction and an action (not necessarily physical). Sometimes it will be as simple as one or two lines, and sometimes it will be three or four (reaction, internal action like a thought, and then another action--usually physical).
Let's say Veronica's best friend Louise just yelled at her for missing Louise's birthday party.
This is how we might initially write Veronica's reaction in limited third person.
Veronica stared at her friend in surprise (here we're naming the emotion). She hadn't missed the party on purpose and now she wanted to yell that right back at Louise (more telling here).
Now let's try deep POV.
Veronica's mouth dropped open (showing surprise instead of telling, a reaction). It wasn't my fault, I told you I had to work! (internal action, getting closer to the character) She folded her arms against her chest and faced Louise, taking a deep breath (physical action).
"I'm sorry I missed your party but I didn't have a choice."
Now we're not telling the reader Veronica's surprised and indignant but we're showing through a series of reactions and actions.
Reveal Your Character
In the example above, we're not only showing we're also giving the reader a sense of Veronica's personality, which is what deep POV is all about. Veronica is coming through. It helps to put the reader directly in the scene instead of making them feel like they're watching from afar.
Other ways to keep the reader in closer proximity to the scene.
Make sure you know your character. Give them a unique personality and then SHOW the story through their eyes, not yours. That means directing the scene as your character would see it in every way possible - especially through their senses, as well as their thoughts and actions.
Show their thoughts. This doesn't mean you have to write every thing your character thinks or even put all those thoughts in italics. It does mean giving the reader a deeper look at what's inside, like the example above. Your character is going to react to things in their own unique way and if you can convey that through a thought or their reaction, it will give the reader a greater insight into who your character is.
Have any of you ever struggled with deep POV in the past? What tricks do you use to write deep POV and make your reader feel like they're right there in the scene?
This post brought to you by Cindy R. Wilson
Cindy is a Colorado native, living near the mountains with her husband and three beautiful daughters. She writes contemporary Christian romance, seeking to enrich lives with her stories of faith, love, and a touch of humor.
To learn more about Cindy, visit her at her personal blog, www.cindyrwilson.blogspot.com