Sunday, 18 October 2015

How to write Deep Point of View by Sue Dawes

What is Deep Point of View?
Have you ever read a book where it feels like you’re experiencing what the character feels first hand, and by the end you think you really know them?  It’s probably because the author has used a Deep POV. It's a method of getting the reader right inside the characters head.

How is it done?
There are several things that will help you to get started writing Deep Point Of View.  The following is a guide but bear in mind it takes practice and isn’t easy .  It’s also only successful when using the first or third person limited point of view. 

1.       Remove speech tags
Remove any tags (he said, she said) that distance the reader from the character. One way of doing this is to use actions straight after the speech.

Example:             'Get off me,’ he said.
DPOV:                 'Get off me.’ He put his arms up to protect himself.

2.       Remove any filter words
These are words that describe what the character is thinking or seeing, which also create distance.

Example:              'I don’t like it here’, he thought.
DPOV:                  'I don’t like it here.’ He backed away.

3.       Don’t use the passive voice
Discard any ‘passive’ voice.  The emphasis should be on the subject rather than the object.  It also makes it more immediate.
Example:              'My wallet was stolen by Rita
DPOV:                 ' Rita stole my wallet.’

4.       Limit the characters knowledge
No one sees everything all of the time.  If your character can’t see it, don’t mention it.
Example:              Sarah heard the gun shot and wondered what had happened.
DPOV                   It was definitely a gun shot.  What was happening?

5.       Be careful how your character refer to others
Most people don’t call their sibling ‘brother/sister’ when they meet them, but you still need to show the relationship to the reader.  One way is to put the information into action, a direct thought or a flashback.

Example:             Her brother, John, wound down the window and flicked out the cigarette, knowing it would annoy Gill.
DPOV                 John wound down the window and flicked out the cigarette.  Gill bit back anger. That’s what brothers were for, wasn’t it?  To irritate.
6.       Use all the senses
Remember to use the five senses to convey place and emotion.

Example:            She felt very cold
DPOV                 Shivering, she rubbed her hands over her arms.  God it even smelt cold.

7.       Use flashbacks to create backstory.
You can’t have paragraphs of description in deep POV, unless the character is experiencing it.  All description is detailed through perception.

Example:               'You always were a scruffy child,’ her mother said, smoothing down a dress more suitable for the catwalk than a family meal.  She made Gail feel small, like she was a child again. 
DPOV                   ‘You always were a scruffy child’.  Gail turned away.  She wasn't going to let her mum criticise her, especially while wearing that ridiculous dress.

8.       Be consistent. 
Your character must refer to people in the same way throughout the story.  Their likes and frustrations mustn’t change and everything must be internalised.

Example:               The motorway was jammed.  People were driving slowly and Gail felt angry, like she was going nowhere.
DPOV                   ‘What the hell was wrong with everyone and why were they driving so slowly?’ Gail punched the dashboard.

I found the following sites really helpful when compiling this document.  Both are written in plain English: