Deeper POV

Jody Lebel
Published on: June 2012
When you write in deep POV (point of view) you will never have to say s/he felt, s/he thought or s/he knew... realized... speculated... wondered... etc. These phrases create narrative distance. They are 'telling' sentences. The reader is at arm's length, not in your character's head where they belong. If we are deep into our character's psyche we can proceed directly to whatever it was s/he was thinking. In deep POV we get straight to the point exactly like the person would, creating 'showing' sentences. Here are some examples.
deeper pov,point of view
Before: He wondered if Kim would show up at the picnic.
After: Would Kim show up drunk at the picnic like last year and spoil it again?
Before: Two men approached the house. I hoped it wasn't the cops again.
After: A pair of strangers walked briskly up the walk towards the front door. Not the cops again.
Before: He thought the dog needed a bath.
After: What a smell. He eyed the pristine bathroom then studied the muddy animal. What that dog needed was a good bath.

Another way to write with a deeper POV is to remove the was/were and rephrase with a hook. Start with a basic sentence: The night was dark. Pretty boring! Your reader is yawning.

Now add action or danger, overpowering emotion, a surprising situation, warning or foreshadowing, a unique character or something totally unexpected to make a more inter-esting sentence, a sentence that grabs the reader.

  • The only thing that stopped me from walking in the dark night was the throaty growl coming from the nearby woods.
  • When she awoke she was no longer alone. The red glow of a cigarette pierced the dark night. * As the night grew dark Sister Carmelita adjusted her veil, then lifted her habit and strapped on a Ruger .38 to her thigh.

Your readers aren't falling asleep any longer.
FYI - For Your Inspiration
By Jody Lebel
New Writer Mistakes

1) The use of exclamation points. Never, never use one. It is the sign of a beginner writer and editors spot it immediately. Using an exclamation point is lazy. It is telling not showing.

2) Words ending in 'ing'. Go through your ms and eliminate as many of these words as possible. She was singing. They were swimming. All telling.

3) Same with words ending in 'ly'. She said quietly. He walked quickly. Change it up. Show us. Better: She said, her voice so soft he had to lean in to hear.

4) Limit the use of 'was' and 'were'. They are shameful telling verbs. He was mad. Bet-ter: He slammed his fist on the table so hard the glasses rattled. Both sentences let us know he's mad; which sentence is more interesting?

5) Limit the use of 'very' and 'just'. It was very cold. He just wanted to get in the warm cabin. Better: The cold air left frost on his mustache and cracked his lips. The smell of the wood fire at the cabin spurred him on through the snow.

6) Be suspicious of the word 'it'. It rained. It was unpleasant. You can

almost always find a better way. Use a deeper POV for example.

Better: Although I had buried snips of my hair in an old mason jar out in the backyard like my grandma told me, rain still showed up on my wedding day.

7) He and She. Try to eliminate as many as you can. He sang.

Better: Charlie sang. Best: Not knowing if it would get a laugh or a boo, Charlie lifted his face into the spotlight and began to sing.
8) Clichéd work. Don't you ever say it was as quiet as a mouse, or a tomb, or so quiet you could hear a pin drop? We've all read that too many times. Be unique. It was as quiet as a nun's prayer. So much more interesting to read.

9) Watch those misplaced antecedents. When she spoke to Mrs. Smith she smiled. Who is smiling here?

10) Changing POVs in the middle of a scene.

The way the girl's long hair shone in the sunlight got John's immediate attention. Fasci-nated, he moved closer with the intent to feel the softness without her being aware. She wondered if he was going to get the nerve.

Whose head are we in? John's. So the last sentence has to be changed. He can't know what she might be wondering.
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