Tips & Tales for Literary Creatures

Through my experience of writing and having books published as well as editing for my acquired authors, I have developed some basic things to look for in terms of deep point of view. POV essentially refers to the character the reader is experiencing the story through at a given time. This perspective can be deepened or honed to allow the reader to connect even more strongly with the POV character. To have the reader feel as though she/he is experiencing what the character is experiencing is what the writer wants to achieve. This is the goal of DPOV.

Here is a mental checklist I use when revising my work or someone else’s:

1.  Check for head-hopping.

The writer must remain in the same POV until indicating in some way that they will be changing (insert a wingding or start a new chapter). Please don’t make your reader dizzy by hopping from the thoughts of one character to another. When in a certain POV, write only what that character would do, say, think, observe

2.  Only write what the POV character
      can sense.

The POV character shouldn’t give a physical description of herself/himself.

For example: Her cheeks reddened.

The POV character can’t see this.

Better: Heat rushed up her neck and into her cheeks.

3.  Get rid of telling words
and just say it.

Even in a POV character’s internal thoughts, she/he wouldn’t think the words thought, felt.

For example: She thought he might be tired. He supposed she needed time to herself.

Better: He might be tired. She needed time to herself.

4.  Show in order of occurrence.

For example: She shuddered after the knock at the door and wondered at answering.

Better: A knock on the door jolted her. She shuddered. Was it safe to answer?

5.  How would the POV character
really be thinking?

Would the character use internal questions?

For example: He wondered if he should open the door.

Better: Should he open the door?

6.  Show emotion; don’t name it.

For example: She was mad.

Better: She gritted her teeth and clenched her fists.

DPOV is a skill in progress. Keep working to give the reader that close-up experience with your POV character.

Some resources that have helped me personally are The Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman and Puglisi and Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.

Rivet Your Reader Cover The Emotion Thesaurus Cover

About Paula Mowery:

Paula Mowery photoPAULA MOWERY is a pastor’s wife and a former homeschool Mom. She’s also a Christian writer. Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World and in an ongoing column on Christian Online Magazine. She also writes Christian fiction. Paula’s debut novella, THE BLESSING SEER came out July 6, 2012 from Pelican Book Group. The sequel, BE THE BLESSING, released Sept. 13, 2013. She is an author and acquisitions editor with Prism Book Group. Paula’s story, Forgiven, is in the anthology, BRAVE NEW CENTURY, which released Nov. 13, 2013. This book appeared on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers in Religious Historical Fiction.

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Comments on: "Guest author Paula Mowery on DPOV Basics" (5)

  1. schillingklaus said:

    Classical omniscient narration is my true way to go, and I dislike and avoid deep POV completely. Consequently, I also name emotions shamelessly, switch focus at whim, and ignore chronological order. It is my style from which I will not budge.

  2. Great tips, Paula. I love to read books where the author has mastered deep POV!

  3. DOP can indeed be tricky, Paula. Thanks for the tips.

  4. Great information to have and always a good reminder.

  5. Great post, Paula. DPOV is very tricky at first, but makes all the difference in the world!

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