Watch anybody these days. They’re in the moment, whether they’re texting, playing video games or listening to their iPod while on the computer and using any number of additional electronics. Eventually they’ll be able to wear a computer on their face and complete even more of these tasks while walking. (Check out this Google Glass demo.) After all, why waste time just walking and enjoying the outdoors when you could be multitasking? Sometimes walking and chewing gum seem like a challenge. I’m not sure how I feel about practically never disengaging from media and electronics!
However, readers who’ve been immersed in electronic media all their lives are impatient. One way writers keep them in the moment is through deep point of view (POV). Today’s reader doesn’t want to be slowed down by she said or he thought. No more long rambling pages of narrative one might find when reading Ann of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice. While these classics live on with loving followings, today’s editor wouldn’t likely take a second look at such historically lovely prose if written these days.
Even readers of the previous generation are used to being somewhat immersed in the life of the character through media. In television and movies, they see the character’s world up close and personal. However, they aren’t always right in the character’s head. Deep POV allows the reader to “see” with the character’s eyes and experience with their senses.
Here are some examples:
Before deep POV: Moira watched as Tad terrorized Nathan in the cafeteria at lunch time. She thought about what a jerk Tad was when he tripped her brother and stomped on his lunch bag.
She suddenly didn’t feel so hungry any more and put her sandwich down. Anger rose within Moira and she . . .
After deep POV: Moira couldn’t believe it. Didn’t Tad ever get tired of bullying others? Nathan slammed face first into the cafeteria floor. But tripping her little brother wasn’t enough for Tad. He had to squash his victim’s lunch bag under his clodhopper feet too. What a jerk!
The last bite of Moira’s sandwich sat like cement in her throat. She stood, running toward the commotion with clenched fists. Tad’s going down!
In the second example the reader gets more of a feel of what’s going on inside Moira’s head. While it’s still written in third person, deep POV gives the reader a front row seat rather than a removed passive view of things. Once you know your character’s story arc, who they are as a character and how they react, deep POV is one of the innermost layers of character development. It takes practice, but is a very rewarding way for the reader and writer to get even better acquainted with the character. While it is a partly a narrative method, interspersed with creative dialogue, it’s a very helpful method of deepening characterization.
For more in depth information on deep POV, here’s a great article on The Editor's Blog. Enjoy!
This is a writers’ and readers’ week at Writing, Whimsy and Devotion. What's on the blog this week?
Tuesday – Weekly writing prompt.
Wednesday – Review of Kate Breslin’s debut novel, For Such a Time.
Friday – Interview with debut novelist, Shelba Shelton Nivens.
See you tomorrow!