Thursday, September 2, 2010



Hello, and welcome to Tabby’s Nocturnal Nights. My name is Brenda, and today I will be talking about deep POV.

            As writers, we know about POV—point of view. We know POV takes the reader inside our character’s mind: his/her thoughts and feelings. POV allows us to become one with the character. We filter everything through him/her: what he/she sees, hears, touches, and knows. While in a character’s POV, we can only assume what another character thinks, feels, etc, etc. Yet, we can show their feelings and some thoughts through body language and dialogue.

            But what about deep POV? What is it? What makes it different from POV? Well, the way “I” define deep POV is it’s more than just manning the camera behind the character’s eyes, but by becoming that character.

            To help understand and show the difference between the two, I provided you with examples.

            The first example is a short scene about me leaving my house and getting into my car.

            I slung my purse strap over my shoulder and stepped out the front door, into the bright sunshine. As I walked to my car, I passed my flower gardens. I wished I had time to stop and enjoy the colorful blooms, but I was already late for my doctor’s appointment.

            I fished the keys from my purse and unlocked my car. I sighed when I noticed my CD’s scattered over the passenger seat. I gathered them up and placed them back into the console before I turned on the ignition. Loud music filled the car, almost giving me a heart attack. I switched the volume knob to mute and silently cursed my son for not shutting it off. I hated it when he borrowed my vehicle. He always left it a mess. I glanced at the gas gauge and sighed again. Empty as usual.

            Okay, so what do you know about me? I have to go to the doctor and I’m almost late. I like gardening, and my son left the radio on. But what am I feeling? Am I mad? Happy? Sad?

            Okay, here’s the same scene but in deep POV.

I slung my purse strap over my shoulder and stepped out the front door. I blinked and shielded my eyes from the sun with my hand. What a beautiful day. Figures I have to waste most of it in the doctor’s office, waiting to be poked and prodded.

            Gravel crunched under my black pumps as I walked to my car. On my way, I passed the flower gardens, and the scent of lavender filled the air. I stopped and ran a finger over the delicate petals of an orange Gladiola before I buried my nose against it and inhaled. Hmm, funny, gladiolas are pretty, but they don’t have much of a scent.

            I glanced at my watch. Shit, I’m late.

            Dust coated my burgundy Durango and the tires were caked with dried mud. Nice. Lend my son a clean car and it comes back filthy. I was tempted to write, I hate dust and kids on the side, but thought against it.

I fished the keys from my purse and unlocked the car.  CD’s were scattered across the passenger seat and McDonald’s wrappers were strewn on the dashboard. “For Christ sakes. How many times have I told that kid not to leave such a mess?” I gathered the CD’s and crumpled the wrappers and stuffed them into the console before I turned the ignition. I jumped, hitting my head on the roof as screams and the deep thump of a bass guitar overflowed the interior. My heart slammed. I pressed a hand to my chest and switched the volume knob to mute. Instant silence replaced the shrieks and wails from the radio.

            Damn it, that’s it. Next time he asks to borrow my car, the answer’s no. My gaze turned to the gas gauge. “Bloody figures. Empty.”

            So in this version you get a sense of my frustrations. Also, note there is more showing in this version and you get a better sense of the character and her personality.

            In order to achieve deep POV, I feel you have to know your character very VERY well. If you don’t know the inner workings of your characters then you won’t be able to get deep within his/her POV. My advice is to study everything there is to know about your character.

            Here’s an example that shows when you aren’t writing in deep POV.

            Sally was a little overweight.

            Matt was an average baseball player.

            The descriptions are bland—nonspecific—one dimensional. Also, did you notice they are telling?

            Get inside the character’s head! Show in all honesty how Sally really sees herself. I bet she thinks she’s more than a little over weight, lol.


Penny said...

Nice one Bren! For as much as I help you with grammar, you were the one that pointed out my pov weaknesses. TYVM!

brenda said...

Thanks Pen. Took me a long time to really understand the differences between being in a character's pov and their deep pov. Just remember, you shouldn't stay in deep pov all the time, it gets exhausting for the reader, especially if said character has a lot going on in their brain. Pull back once in awhile.