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.

No:

  • 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.

Instead:

  • 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.

See?

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!

11 Comments

  1. Sue Ward Drake on July 6, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    This is great, Laura. And a quickie test. More, I want more. 🙂

    • Laura Drake on July 6, 2020 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks, re-debut author Sue!

      • Barbara on July 7, 2020 at 1:34 pm

        Very helpful to focus from POV’S perspective. Thanks

  2. Christopher Lentz on July 7, 2020 at 9:12 am

    Awesome/practical tip. Gonna put it to use today!

  3. Laura Drake on July 7, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Hope it helps, Chris!

  4. Bonnie Martin on July 9, 2020 at 11:04 am

    This is my go-to definition of deep POV. It’s a cobbling together of several explanations I’ve come across.

    “All action, description, opinions, and judgments are from the POV character’s perspective, experience, and backstory. Everything is immediate, unfiltered, and visceral.”

    • Laura Drake on July 9, 2020 at 11:07 am

      “immediate, unfiltered, and visceral.” I love that, Bonnie! Thank you!

    • Jenny Hansen on July 10, 2020 at 1:03 am

      I love this, Bonnie! I’m tweeting this out (and hopefully you are @BonMartinWrites!!)

  5. Jenny Hansen on July 10, 2020 at 12:58 am

    Thanks, Laura! I’m one of those that always feels like an idiot when Deep POV gets discussed – this post and everything Lisa Hall-Wilson writes is about the closest I ever feel to understanding it. I do it (often even), but then I usually screw it up about two paragraphs later. My dream is to hit Deep and stay there!

    • Laura Drake on July 10, 2020 at 4:57 am

      I know Jen, I always feel inadequate, trying to explain it. It’s like giving directions…I know how to get there, but don’t know how to tell you to! Hopefully this little trick helps a bit. Hugs.

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