I hope you found my first post on deep POV helpful. Here is part two covering the last two of my four basic tips.
Tip number three. This is a big one to remember. Your POV character is never going to notice things he/she can’t see, especially about themselves. The best way to explain this is to give an example.
Anna slowly raised her watery blue eyes to face up to her mistake. Pink dusted her cheeks.
Can you spot what’s wrong here? There’s no reason in this scene that Anna would be thinking about the fact that she has blue eyes, and she certainly can’t see the pink blush on her cheeks. Here’s the correction.
Anna slowly raised her watery eyes to face up to her mistake. Warmth rose up her neck and into her cheeks.
This is sticking only to what the character can see and notice and shows the reader exactly what she is experiencing. Make a thorough check for anything that is outside of the character’s ability to notice or things that they would never be thinking about. It can be difficult sometimes, especially if it’s the character’s opening scene and you want the reader to know your character has flaming red hair or violet colored eyes. But the best thing is to wait until you can describe him/her from another character’s POV. Besides, the reader probably isn’t quite as interested in what color eyes your character has as you are. ;) (I have to remind myself of this sometimes.)
And finally, tip number four. This has to do with description. Any description—character description, setting description, etc.—should still involve your POV character in some way. When writing description, especially in fantasy and historical, you want your reader to see the setting (or whatever) clearly, so you can have a tendency to go on for a paragraph or two (or three sometimes), almost forgetting the character is even present. For this, I’ll use an example from Resistance that involves the opening scene with my main female character. It may not be the best example, but it’s better than trying to come up with a random scene. First, here it is with all the deep POV elements removed.
A murmur swept through the crowd and pulled Kyrin’s attention back to the platform where five men climbed the stairs. Four of the men bore the uniforms of Arcacian military. The man between them, however, wore a pair of stained linen pants and only a leather jerkin—the exact opposite of their clean, professional appearance. But his fearsome features commanded all the attention. He stood a good five inches taller than any of the guards who held the heavy chains attached to his shackles. Long, greasy strands of thick black hair fell around his hard face, which bore the bruises of recent beatings, and an unusual amount of black hair covered his muscular arms.
As you can see, it’s a fairly typical paragraph describing the guards and their prisoner. Here now is the example with the bits I took out, which are underlined.
A murmur swept through the crowd and pulled Kyrin’s attention back to the platform where five men climbed the stairs. Her stomach tightened. Four of the men bore the uniforms of Arcacian military—black and gold, just like her and her companions. The man between them, however, wore a pair of stained linen pants and only a leather jerkin—the exact opposite of their clean, professional appearance. But his fearsome features commanded all the attention. He stood a good five inches taller than any of the guards who held the heavy chains attached to his shackles. Taller even than Kaden. Long, greasy strands of thick black hair fell around his hard face, which bore the bruises of recent beatings, and an unusual amount of black hair covered his muscular arms.
See how I’ve tried to keep Kyrin involved in this scene with her thoughts and only things she would notice? First, there’s her reaction to the arrival of the men. Then I compared the men’s uniforms with what she and her companions were wearing. And finally, I mentioned the prisoner was even taller than her brother. This helped keep Kyrin present in the scene and not become momentarily forgotten amidst the description.
These tips are just a few of many ways you can deepen the POV of your novel. I hope they can be useful for pointing you in the right direction. It’s something I actually get quite excited about when I sit down to edit. I love when I find just the perfect phrase or wording that helps deepen a character’s viewpoint and make their unique voice that much clearer. If you want to learn more, there are any number of articles and books to read. I highly recommend Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. I happened to have it on my Kindle, and it was the first resource I read on the subject. It’s a great little book covering all the basics and was very helpful to me. You also must visit Camy Tang’s Story Sensei blog and read all her posts on deep POV. I learned so much from them, and she has many great examples (much better than mine). She also has great worksheets on character development and self-editing. Trust me, you will want to take a look at her posts. :)
This is great!! It's given me a new awareness of my own writing. Definitely something to work on. Thanks!!ReplyDelete
So glad you found it helpful!Delete
Nice job explaining this!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I really enjoyed putting it together.Delete
Thank you so much! Character point of view is something that is incredibly important to me. I just want to say, I really do love how you develop your characters. I have had hours of enjoyment reading your books.ReplyDelete
Aw, thank you! I am so pleased you have enjoyed them so much. ^_^Delete