One of the biggest decisions we make as a writer. The point of view we choose directly dictates what kind of experience be our readers will get.
Omniscient – all knowing (not used much)
3rd person – limited (When using multiple narrators, be careful of head-hopping)
1st person – close (inside the character – get their thoughts/reactions/experiences)
2nd person – reporting the reader’s actions
- Creates a buffer
Benefits of Creating Distance:
- To cover difficult subjects that may trigger or put off readers (child molestation, rape, etc.) you don’t need to share details of the character’s thoughts and feelings
- Intensity overload (violence, gore, torture, etc.) – author gives a few details to set context and motivation; don’t get repetitive with details – only add significant description
- When you are showing something to the reader that the POV character misses (usually the reader is only privy to what the charter knows). Show something the character misreads or misinterprets – builds gut tension. Pan out to show the reader something without character bias
- Prevent character bias from tipping your hand too early – about a big event that is pivotal…author decides when the reveal will happen
- Working with a large cast of characters – show other things that are happening
Benefits of bring readers close
- Easier to create empathy when the reader shares the characters experience
- Readers feel more involved (shared memory trigger with reader memory) – Tense scenes where you want them to share a visceral experience – character is broken, angry and confused when her husband leaves. Often deepens a memory of the emotion…builds connection.
- Readers get a front seat for internal realization and epiphanies – character starts one way and through the course of the story they need to learn and grow to become a stronger person to achieve their goals – seeing their epiphany resonates deeply because everyone wants to grow.
- It’s easier to understand the characters motivation and their goals
- Gives an a opportunity to show VOICE – how they approach events, their judgments, opinions, reactions – readers get to know your characters
Let’s TALK DEEP POV – bring the reader in close to share the experience
- CLOSE POINT OF VIEW IF 1ST PERSON
- DEEP POV IS 3RD PERSON
Reader and character become one
No filters – sensory descriptions
Thoughts and observations are tinted by feelings, biases, moral judgments, beliefs
The reader only knows what the character knows
That flavour of individuality has to come through
Distance comes from filter words – noticed, felt, supposed all build distance
Deep – sensory, more immediate, no explanation about what’s going on, seeing characters direct thoughts – in a character’s direct thoughts.
How it works: Thoughts and emotions
- Delivered as a stream of consciousness (no thought or felt tags). EMPHASIS ON VISCERAL SENSATIONS.
- No telling what a character feels – show it
- No explaining things for the readers benefit (how things work, how people know one another)
- NO wondering thoughts – be direct, show puzzle pieces coming together
No facial description (needs a very good reason, e.g., disguise, reflection)
- No emotional expressions unless conveyed as a visceral sensation, e.g., heat in cheeks
- Limited focus on appearance and dress – not a regular thought throughout the day
- Use thoughts to show how the character feels about what they are wearing or how they look
- Show awareness of behaviour tells if it is pertinent to projecting a certain image
- Use dialogue of other characters if needed to show an emotional state
The characters world view is KING
- DESCRIPTION IS FAVOURED BY THE EMOTIONAL STATE IN EVERY SCENE – their world view rules
- Details are highly sensory (E.G., touch, and anything that character interacts with
- DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE IS DELIVERED INT H4E POV characters own words – how they react and see based on education, history, experiences, etc.
TIPS FOR GOING DEEP
- REMOVE FILTERING WORDS – HEARD, TOUCHED, KNEW, THOUGH, NOTICED, DREADED, BELIEVED, REALIZED, FELT, ETC. – search online for lists of filter words POV
- Be immediate and direct by using the characters words, experiences (positive or negative) reflect their thoughts and give hooks to backstory about how they view the world, react to certain situations
- Ensure the readers experiences come from INSIDE the character (she will notice sensory cues differently depending on what she’s experiencing
- DON’T NAME EMOTIONS. Deep POV DESCRIBES WHAT THE CHARACTER FEELS. Reader should be able to tell by what is happening by direct thoughts…provide visuals, etc.
We are hard-wired to interpret emotions – reading body language, tone of voice
Has to be natural for the character…
Two Smart Tips to STAY Deep
- Minimize pronouns – save them for when the character is doing something action NOT JUDGING (thinking and opening)
- Never waste description – everything your character sees, hears, interacts with, etc. Should be important to her…not you. Keep readers in her head by only showing what matters in her current mental state – what she’s focused on…