POV is like Algebra. You either get it or you don’t, and if you don’t, people can explain it ten different ways, and you just feel dumber with every one. Hey, I understand. I didn’t get it either, back when rocks were new.
And what’s frustrating is, I’ve never found a way to explain it well. The old ‘miner’s light on the head’ doesn’t work anymore – wait, you’ve heard that explanation before right? POV is your character wearing a miner’s light on their head. If the light don’t shine there, your character don’t know it.
But that was before close/deep POV came in fashion. Now the miner’s helmet is out the window (wait – mines don’t have windows…but I digress).
Deep POV is even harder to explain – to me, it’s like YOU are the character-everything is happening to you – How does it feel inside your skin? But when I say that, people look at me funny.
So I found an easy first step to ‘getting’ deep POV.
Don’t name senses. Ever.
- I saw him walking toward me.
- I heard footsteps coming up behind.
- I smelled something foul.
- I touched his hair. It was soft.
- It tasted like a Blue Hawaiian – made with a rotten pineapple.
- He shuffled toward me
- Bison charged quieter than the footsteps behind me.
- The stench filled my nose and crawled down my throat, gagging me
- His hair was soft as a mink’s pelt
- I held the foul concoction in my mouth, and headed for the bathroom to spit it out.
Hopefully the examples show the difference. The first set are the writer telling the reader about the feeling, and the second set have the reader experiencing the feeling.
This isn’t everything about deep POV – I still haven’t found a way to explain that yet. But hopefully this helps because the fix is easy:
Just do a ‘find’ in Word for the senses:
Saw, looked, heard, sound, tasted, smelled, touched, felt, etc.
Edit them out. Just think of a way to say it without mentioning the sense – that puts you closer to being inside your character’s skin.
Does anyone have a foolproof easy way to get to closer POV? Share with us!