Wednesday, April 7, 2010


You've been attempting to get a handle on First, Third and Ominscent POV, and now there's yet one more to worry about, Deep POV I can relate to your frustration. But as I've said in the past, though difficult to master, Deep POV -- the technique of going deeper into your point of view character -- is guaranteed to enrich your writing.

Here's examples of each POV:

FIRST:  When John returned, he found me sitting on the white leather bench. I had my eyes half-closed, my arms crossed, and I was feeling great sadness. "Well?" I asked, but I was thinking, 'Give me a reason not to kill you.' 

THIRD: Matthew sat down on the white leather bench and lowered his eyes. Consumed by a great sadness, he crossed his arms and waited. When John returned, he asked him, "How long have you worked for me?"

OMNISCIENT: When John returned from summing a plane to pick up his boss and return him safely to the mainland, he found Matthew sitting on the white leather bench with his eyes half-closed and his arms crossed. Matthew chose not to look at him, he was that angry. "John, tell me I didn't make a mistake bringing you," he said. John couldn't think and stuttered...

DEEP POV: The bench in the stern of the boat reeked of that new leather smell that burned all the way down his throat. A glimpse east and the sun's glare shot pain through his temple. Closing his eyes helped, but the trembling wouldn't stop. His pulse pounded through his crossed arms. This was John's fault. No respect. No gratitude. Hadn't he and his daughter been taken care of all these years. Ruby held a secure job at the Baja Hotel for the rest of her life if she wanted. John threatened that. Could his stupidity be forgiven without costing the organization everything? A touch of the gun and the chill felt shocking at first, then comforting.

DEEP POV is a combination of first (intimate) and third (limited). As silly as it sounds, the only way to succeed in pulling your reader into the experience of your POV character is to become THAT character. Close your eyes, experience the totality of that character, then open your eyes and start writing. 

If that's too difficult, start off by writing a scene from FIRST POV, then switch it to THIRD POV. Drop as many verbs as possible, (saw, thought, looked, etc) eliminate the tags: said, asked (no need to show the reader what they already know). Do this for every scene, and I promise it'll start becoming as natural as riding a bike.

After a few exercises, let me know how you're doing.  
--happy writing


  1. I have to admit that I've never heard of deep pov. But your examples were good, and I think maybe I've been using it (limitedly) in my writing. Now, I can be more conscious of it and what it entails. Thanks for a great article.

  2. That's the thing to remember, Katie. You have great instincts. You may not know the new terminology, but you got talent.

  3. It's not that easy, Joylene. I've been working at Deep POV for years and I still need sharp eyed readers to point out where I've fallen out of it.

    Perhaps it's because I use only enough deep character reflection to keep the story moving.


  4. Chris, I've read your books, so I know that's not true. Your books are successful because they're about strong, intelligent women. My kinda books.

  5. Joylene, great article. Pov was one of my first obstacles, but I feel I've overcome it, but still improving. This will help further that growth.

  6. Cher, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your support means a lot.

  7. Hey girlie!! That's pretty cool. I like your article. This pov isn't easy to do, but with practice anyone can do it. I can only write in this pov. anything else just won't work. i find that bringing in that inner dialogue really helps. It also helps to read Oprah books as most of hers are in this deep pov. Good job!!

  8. Hi Kim. Glad you stopped by. You are so right, POV is hard, but with determination it can be mastered. Best of luck with your writing. Your article on breaking the rules was excellent.

  9. I find that it's all in the planning you put in with your characters. It's not just a case of knowing them intimately on the surface, but their motivations, fears, needs, etc - and as Joylene says, you need to BE the chosen viewpoint character in the scene, not simply see that character moving in the scene as if you are watching a movie. You're not. You are in the movie, acting that part.


  10. Linda, you are so right. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Come back any time.

  11. Excellent article, Joylene. I'm finally wrapping my brain around this POV stuff. Thanks.

    Harry M.

  12. Harry, that's music to my ears. Thank you. And you're welcome.

  13. Fascinating post. Great illustrations on POV. I can see how deep POV brings the character to life.

  14. Thanks, Amanda. I appreciate your comment.


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