Sunday, August 19, 2007

Diving in deep -- Into POV, that is

Deep POV (Point of view) is getting so far into the POV character's head, it's almost like writing from their first-person perspective. Inevitably, a discussion of deep POV leads to italics. Deep POV is not italicized. Only direct thoughts are done in italics. This can raise a dozen more questions, but I prefer to just leave it there. Some people love italics, some hate them. Bottom line is, use them sparingly. An editor or agent is not going to reject you because you've italicized something that they don't think should be.

Here are some tips for deepening POV:

1) Get into character - Imagine what it's like to be that person. Then be sure to show, not tell, what it is they're feeling.

2) Think/tell the story in first person - This helps me a lot. I will tell the story as though I am the POV character. As if I was reading their journal. Your characters are not going to lie to themselves.

3) Remember that your characters' past experiences shape them. How do the things they see, hear, smell and touch affect them based on those experiences? Example: Two people can enter a blue room. The first person can think it's the most beautiful room they've ever seen. The second person, who perhaps grew up in a less-than-ideal home where all the walls were painted blue, is going to think it's the ugliest, most depressing room they've ever seen.

4) Use strong, descriptive word choices. There's a difference between walked, strolled, and trudged. Which one best suits the scene?

Above all, you have to know your characters to get into their heads. That means you have to dig. And as Liz Curtis Higgs shared last year at ACFW, digging isn't always fun. Matter of fact, it's hard. It may take you someplace you don't want to go. But to do justice to your characters, your story, and to touch your readers, you have to dig.

Presented by Mindy Obenhaus

Born in Indiana, raised in Michigan, Mindy got to Texas as fast as she could. With five children spanning sixteen years, life was never boring. Reading came in the form of magazines and writing was something she’d done in high school. But, by the time her youngest started kindergarten, reading consumed most of her time, and writing soon followed. Little did she know the path God had set before her.

Read more about Mindy and what she's doing at

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