Friday, April 15, 2011

A Mini Writing Lesson

Today I want to talk a little bit about deep POV (point of view) because a lot of times when I mention it, I get a blank stare. Here's my take on that topic.


I love Deep POV. I strive for it in everything I write. (Doesn’t mean I always achieve it, but I try.) Is it right for everything? No, but when it’s properly utilized it will help you write tighter. What is it? Deep POV is showing the scene through the character’s eyes, not watching it as it happens to the characters. Let me show you what I mean.

Shallow POV: Betty watched Bob carry the groceries into the house, listening to his grunting and mumbling with a wry smile on her face.

Deep POV: She shook her head. Bob might be carrying the groceries in, but his muttering said it all. His unhappiness gave her a perverse tingle that went all the way to her grin.

Can you see the difference? The first snippet is like you’re watching Betty in this scene. In the second snippet, you are Betty. You’re experiencing the scene right along with her.

*Filtering or distancing words will take your writing out of Deep POV, words like watched, heard, noticed, saw, felt, thought, decided, etc. I’m sure there are a few more you can think of. Do a search for them in your work and see how many you find. How can you rewrite the sentence to take them out?

*Having your characters refer to themselves by name over and over diminishes Deep POV. Do you refer to yourself by name when you’re thinking?

*Lastly, make each character’s descriptions distinct to their personality. Would a military man describe something as a gentle shade of mauve or pink? Would a female kindergarten teacher see a weapon as a Smith and Wesson 9 mil or a gun? Sure, there are exceptions in every case, but make the descriptions ring true. If those characters above answer with the first option, there had better be a reason why.

Make sense?


  1. This is great, Kristen!

    I love Deep POV, too. I actually write in 1st person POV, and Deep POV is sort of the 3rd person version of 1st person. (Wow, did that make any sense? LOL)

  2. I heart Deep POV as well. It's like a warm and fuzzy blanket.

  3. that is the one thing I love about your writing is your Deep POV. thanks for the tip now going to look over my stuff and see what I do lol

  4. Oh yes, I love deep POV and strive for it as much as possible. It makes the writing so much better!

  5. Sometimes deep third comes easy, but in other cases--usually where the emotion is painful to access--it's very easy to slip out of it. You have to really be vigilant. Many times I've had to go back into a scene and squat down to see it from the ground level.

  6. I loves the deep POV. I want to relate deep POV to Faulkner and the human heart in conflict, but that requires too much thought and word choice.

  7. Oh, I never really knew that this had a specific term, but I love reading books from deep point of view. You did an amazing job of this in Blood Rights! I could tell the difference in each character, and felt what they were feeling.

    Great topic! Not that I'm a writer, but it's cool to know. :)

    Jennifer of Little Shelf