This is my last Post in my POV series and it’s all about writing in deep POV.
So let me start off by saying that this is how I write. Deep POV is part of my selected writing style, but it’s not for everyone. It’s complicated and it borders on making no sense. If you try deep POV and you don’t pull it off chances are your writing is going to suck.
With that being said, I also don’t want you to turn away from deep POV without trying it first. It’s going to be hard but that’s what this post is for. To make it easier and to make sure you actually get to try it.
So here are the basics of what deep POV is and looks like.
Deep POV is when you take away every aspect of your writing that reminds your reader that they are reading. You take away every part of your writing that draws attention to itself instead of your story and so by doing that you bring your reader closer. Closer to the character, closer to the action, closer to the tension.
Here is a piece that I wrote yesterday in deep POV.
Aida stomped over to where the servant bell hung next to the door and with clench teeth yanked at it. While she waited she went over to her vanity table and leaned on the edge of it.
She shut her eyes and slowed her breathing. One, two, three.
A knock sounded on the door and a servant girl quietly crept into the room.
“You called Lady Aida?”
“You’re name is Patrice right?”
Patrice nodded and smiled slightly. Perhaps because it was the first time Aida was using her name?
We’re going to take this piece and I’m going to explain why it’s considered deep POV.
So first things first, when you write in deep POV show don’t tell become ridiculously important. You are pulling your reader into the story so you can’t simply tell them what is happening. If you want them to feel like they are there you have to treat them like they are there and show them what is happening.
In the first part of this paragraph I wrote:
Aida stomped over to where the servant bell rope hung next to the door and with clenched teeth yanked at it.
Now while I am questioning my own use of words here the point is that instead of simply telling you that she went to ring the bell I showed you how she did this.
She didn’t walk she stomped. She clenched her teeth adding to the feeling of aggression. Lastly she yanked at the bell rope. To show you what was happening I used descriptive words to show you how things was done instead of simply telling you that she rang the bell.
Now the problem here is that if you do this wrong the words start to draw attention to themselves and you end up having the opposite effect to drawing you readers in.
The next important thing give-away is how you show your character’s thought process. Once again you don’t want to draw attention to the writer behind the writing so you should try to cut out the words “she thought” or “he thought”. If you take this out your character’s thoughts will run more natural for your reader. It will simply be another thought in both your character and your reader’s head.
Once again this is something that if you mess it up get’s really confusing to both read and write but I’m sure you can do it and either way you won’t know until you try.
The third point is dialog.
Did you notice that not once did I say she said? I didn’t say she muttered or she whispered either because these are distracting words. If you are going for deep, deep POV you don’t write any dialog tags.
If you’re going for mildly deep POV you might write she said. But never do you write anything such as whispered or wept.
The first time I read this same piece of advice I thought the person who gave it to me was bat crap crazy. How is the reader supposed to know how your character is saying it? How do you express that your character isn’t simply talking in some dry, boring monotone voice?
Well there are 2 methods to handling dialog.
The first is by combining your dialog with action.
Let’s say someone’s friend is crying because she messed up. Perhaps she’s crashed her car?
Normally you might write something like.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do?” She wept.
But in deep POV you’ll substitute wept for action.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do.” She buried her face in her hands, hiding her puffy eyes from view.
The second way to handling dialog is to trust your reader. Whenever you write a normal dialog that ends in “she said” the chances are you could just leave it blank like I did in my first example. Your character isn’t doing something special with their voice so you might as well trust that your reader can hear it for themselves.
Passive voice and where it stands for deep POV.
Never use passive voice when writing in deep POV.
Well because deep POV is all about drawing your reader into the action and heat of the moment. Well what’s the point of that if you don’t have any heat in the middle of it all? Passive voice ruins deep POV.
Now I don’t think we’ll cover passive voice too seriously right here but remember that if you can put by zombies after the verb in the sentence then it’s passive.
So that’s basically how you keep yourself writing in deep POV but this post isn’t done yet.
Extras for writing in deep POV.
You need to be careful of how you identify characters. In deep POV you are showing your reader what your POV character knows and pays attention too.
So if your POV character walks into a character named Jim but she doesn’t know him then you aren’t going to write:
Diana walked into a stranger named Jim.
First off this simply sounds stupid and secondly how does your character know his name is Jim?
She doesn’t know it so why would you let your readers?
You need to actually write about how Jim gives his name to your character or if he doesn’t you need to keep him nameless until he does.
Now if you are introducing a character your POV character knew beforehand it’s still complicated.
Let’s say Jim is Diana’s brother.
In deep POV you can’t write:
Diana walked into her brother Jim.
Why would the fact that Jim is her brother be relevant to Diana. I don’t know about you but when I bump into my brother I don’t normally think to myself. This is Pete, he’s my brother.
This is not new information to me, so why would I be thinking about it?
There are ways to pass this issue though.
You can use dialog: “Sorry sis, didn’t see you there.”
Or you could just use your character’s memory: Jim bumped into her and gave her the same apologetic smile their father had earlier in the kitchen.
You could probably simply use your character’s thoughts as well but I’m sure you don’t need me to give you an example of that.
So I’m going to close here with my last advice which is. Know your character. Deep POV becomes like 60 percent easier if you just know your characters really well. How they think and act will affect your story from here of on.
Now since this post is pretty long I don’t see why I can’t challenge you to write a scene in deep POV.
It can be about whatever you want and if you’re done you can feel free to share it in the comments.
For now, I hope this helped you and if you have anything to say on the topic please feel free to share.