I’ve recently dug “deep” into the Deep Point Of View approach to writing, both in study and experimentally in my WIP. In doing so, I learned quickly that it’s a sacred subject amongst authors, not to be dallied with by the novice. To clarify, some of those who’ve mastered the Deep POV take offense to non-experts outlining the how-to’s of this style.
It’s like me attempting to build a doghouse in front of an architect. They’re going to have a lot to say about my jumping in and claiming expertise. But let’s be clear—I’m not. Now, with that illustrative disclaimer shared, I’d like to state that this blog is not about “how to” master the Deep POV, rather, what makes it intriguing and how you too, can learn more about this point of view from those who’ve mastered the craft.
If you’re a fiction writer, then the Deep POV will invite the reader of your work into an immersion experience.
The reader will feel, along with the character, and connect with them so much so that your words provoke an emotional response greater than a typical third person would. Recall stories your friends have shared. When you find yourself deeply engrossed in their retelling, animated body language, intonation, and mirroring their expression and senses, then you’ve lived the experience vicariously. This is the Deep POV.
A few attributes of the Deep POV:
Deep POV avoids use of explanatory words such as “She shuddered when she ‘heard’ the distant crow’s cry. Her palms ‘felt’ moist, and her legs weak as she ran across the yard.” Instead, Deep POV opts for a more intuitive approach. “A distant crow’s cry sent a shudder tearing through her. Balling her clammy palms into fists, she raced across the yard on wobbly legs.” The second phrase avoids naming the emotional experience and focuses on heightening the reader’s visceral engagement.
Deep POV concentrates on showing rather than telling. You write the experience through the lens of the character as opposed to the writer. Focus on pulling out decisive emotions and let the reader figure it out for themselves. To illustrate, here’s a sentence that captures the emotion by explicitly telling the reader how the character feels. “Angry and upset, she brushed the lock of hair from her face and gave him a menacing glare.” Using Deep POV, you strive to rewrite the sentence without declaring how the character feels but rather provoking an image in their mind that allows the reader to draw their own emotional conclusion. “She flicked the lock of hair from her brow, fisted her hands on her hips, and challenged his stare dead on.” Yeah, she’s ticked.
Deep POV doesn’t work for every third person novel. Just because it’s a great skill to work on while learning the construct of writing fiction, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best style for your book. For example, the words may strike a chord, but at the same time, negatively trigger the reader. “He stood above the lifeless body, blood oozing from his fingers as he gripped the steely weapon in his fist.” While readers of thrillers, suspense, and horror books crave these experiences, if yours includes these “violence-infused lines” and doesn’t fall into the appropriate genres, it could offend, antagonize, or even ostracize.
Excellent resources where you can learn more about mastering this approach:
Readers, writers, authors, and pros, please share your thoughts below…