Writing DEEP POV — Tips To Get You There

I’ve mentioned Deep POV in previous posts, and been asked what is this? I’ve also had comments from those who write Deep themselves and love it. So let’s jump right in and chat, for writing in Deep certainly takes an author’s work and makes it touch the heart of their reader.

As writers we’re all aware of the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Yet when going Deep, the author must describe all scenes only from what the main character can perceive with their own senses.

There is no remoteness, and even the character’s internal thoughts and feelings form part of the writing. In 3rd Person POV we see internal thoughts in italics, but in Deep, that isn’t necessary, for the character’s thoughts become one with the story.

So let’s cover some basics. In writing Deep, certain distancing words are removed. Examples of these are words like watched, noticed, heard, felt, saw, wondered, decided, knew, thought, etc. You’ll need to do a search and find these, ensuring you rewrite the sentences to take them out. I’ll give you an example, the first being in 3rd Person, the second rewritten and going Deep from the heroine’s POV. Remember to utilize internal thought in the correct way, as rewritten in the second line.

She watched him lift the gun, and felt chills run down her spine. He won’t pull it, she thought.

He lifted the gun, stroking his finger over the catch. Chills raced down her spine. He wouldn’t pull it.

Now let’s cover emotion, for in Deep we take out words like anger, sad, fear, happy, shock, bothered, etc, and there are a ton of these. Instead we use body language to convey emotion–and this is truly important. I’ll give you an example of rewriting your sentence to take out words of emotion from the heroine’s POV. Again utilize internal thought in the correct way, allowing it to become one with the story.

Anger lanced through her and she raised her chin. She was not happy to have her choices taken away.

Her chest tightened. He would not take her choices away. She raised her chin and stared him down.

Also, don’t forget that characters rarely refer to themselves by name. When you go Deep, ask yourself would the character use her name, over and over? If not use her/she, particularly if the dialogue is strong and the reader can see who speaks.

Sometimes all it takes is a small tweak to a paragraph to deepen the scene, and others a little more work. But before long you’ll find writing Deep comes naturally. In fact you may even find, you’re partially going deep with your 3rd Person and haven’t recognized it. If this is the case, publishers will want to see you write either one way or the other, and not have a mix of the two within your book. Make sure you fix this, for it can hold back on a sale.

I hope I’ve enlightened with these tips on going Deep. Although do a search for more and learn as much as you can–for I’ve read about many authors who’ve found that going Deep has helped them to achieve publication. And that’s what all writers are after.

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10 thoughts on “Writing DEEP POV — Tips To Get You There

  1. Hmmm, I am going to comment on this and I hope you will not mind my honesty. I assume you would prefer that.

    This whole “deep POV” strikes me as a trend. You can find tons of talk about it right now.

    I write erotica and years ago you couldn’t find a publisher who would touch an erotic story written in anything other than first person. I am not a fan of first person except for a couple of authors I feel do it really well.

    Now, you can get erotic stories published in 3rd person thank god. Third lets the reader in on so much more of what’s going on in the characters’ minds. Omniscient or semi-om, it doesn’t matter. They’re both awesome.

    In other words, it was a trend, what publishers were looking for. I’m sure you know this already. I don’t like trends LOL! I just want to read a story that is written well.

    Now I’m seeing this term “deep POV” thrown around. To be honest, I enjoyed your regular 3rd POV a bit more than the deep one. I like seeing how she felt and what she was thinking. Everyone will have a favorite writing style they like reading. This just happens to be the one I enjoy. 🙂

    1. Hi Cadence. Thanks for your honesty. There are definitely trends in writing. I look at what I read 10-15 years ago and it’s so different to today’s writing style. I like your comment about authors now getting their erotic stories published in 3rd–for the trends do swing and it’s opened erotic up.

      As authors we kind of have to predict where the market is heading in the next 2-3 years, and what publishers are definitely asking for, is whichever style we choose, that we not to mix our POV’s up within the same story. Just as you wouldn’t mix 1st and 3rd in your story, you shouldn’t mix 3rd and Deep–and they’re reporting that’s happening in a lot of submissions as the trend to writing Deep increases. I’m glad you enjoy 3rd Person stories–I do too. It’s all about the story being written well that counts.

      One thing I should have mentioned in my post, and I’ll put it in this comment, is that I’m hearing a lot of authors reporting that their 3rd Person submissions are getting rejected, and that publishers are requesting they go deeper in their POV. Yet there isn’t a lot of information out there on how to actually go Deep.

      Out of interest, I write in all three POV’s (different stories and genres of course.) 1st & Deep are my favorites, primarily because I can move from a 1st WIP, to a Deep WIP with complete ease due to the similarities. If working on a 3rd, I truly have to think a lot harder. With that being the case–I smiled when you said you enjoyed my 3rd POV better. (My extra thinking was appreciated.) LOL

      Thanks Cadence. Your comments are great. This is an open forum where writers can express themselves, and get their opinions across. So important.

  2. I think the key thing is, even if it is a trend, it’s what publishers are looking for. I received a great rejection letter, on a 3rd person POV submission, basically telling me to strive for a deeper POV. so glad I found this post. Thanks!

    1. I’m hearing of a lot of authors, like yourself, who’re reporting that their 3rd Person submissions are getting rejected, and to strive for a deeper POV. Publishers are looking for it–and you’re so right about that. (Bummer about the rejection though. Sorry.)

      On a brighter note, you found this post. And your first hand experience is what we as writers need to hear about. Thanks. 🙂

  3. Hey Joanne 🙂

    What you said about looking at books from years ago is precisely my issue with trends in writing. It is going to instantly “date” an author’s book, possibly enough to make it unreadable for a person used to some other writing style. I dislike the idea of putting so much time and effort into a story, only to have that happen a few years down the line.

    You and Amy both mention authors getting rejected because they aren’t writing in the “right” POV. That’s a shame and a real disservice to the readers because it means that someone with a sub par story written in the trendy tense will get published, while an author writing in the non-trendy tense who has a fabulous story, will be rejected.

    Again, my issue with trends.

    Authors should be able to write in whatever POV is comfortable to them. Joanne, you said something that makes my argument and it is something that I find really frustrating:

    “I smiled when you said you enjoyed my 3rd POV better. (My extra thinking was appreciated.) LOL”

    You had to work out of your comfort zone to construct the regular 3rd person sentence. So, instead of letting ideas flow and writing a *great* story, you’re busy trying to word a certain POV the correct way. I have the same problem in reverse. Now, b/c *someone* out there has decreed that this “deep” POV is the thing, now I have to stop doing what I do well to appease some 20-something editor who believes that just because something is new that it must be better.

    Give me a story written in a solid 1st or 3rd person any day without these extra linguistic twists. That is a story that will stand the test of time, like many great authors of old who are still read today.

    I’m really tired of trends: superheroes and vampires are being done to death. Trends take art down, regardless of what art form it is. Today’s society is giving up what is genuinely good in favor of what is trendy. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I’m perfectly good with that.

    Thank goodness for self-publishing.

    [Disclaimer: this post is my opinion and not directed to any particular person]

    1. I understand exactly what you’re saying about trends being done to death. And writing in 3rd Person isn’t going anywhere. This is a tried and true form of writing, so don’t get me wrong there.

      And it definitely sounds like you write naturally in 3rd Person. Don’t change your style of writing if it’s uncomforable, because that’ll only show in your work, and it won’t be as great as it can be.

      You’re opening up the conversation, and it’s great. There will be a lot of writers who hold the same thoughts as you–I’m glad you came back to recomment. Love it.

  4. I thought I was ok with POV, having been on a steep learning curve with my first book, but this is great! Thanks!

  5. Thanks for your comments in return Joanne. I appreciate being able to have a discussion like this. I’m glad we got some comments going 🙂

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