Tag Archive - Deep POV

The Secret Formula to Writing the Commercially Successful Novel

I’ve been writing novels for more than three decades, and while I have learned a lot about how unpredictable the market is, there are some specific characteristics that have consistently set apart novels that see success. You’d think every informed novel-writer would know what these are.

Here’s the thing:

I critique more than 200 manuscripts a year (95% novels). Even the best ones seem to be missing the key ingredients for a commercial best seller.

Why is that?

Because few writers have learned the specific elements that identify a great novel with great potential. And many of those elements are not what the average fiction writer is taught.

Sure, you need a great plot, an intriguing and fresh premise, terrific characters. And your scenes need to be tight time capsules of “show, don’t tell.”

But a terrific commercially viable novel has so much more. And few books or writing instructors teach what these essential elements are.

Continue Reading…

The Nuances of Deep POV – Part 3

Deep POV is all about readers experiencing sensory details through a character.

Writers know they need sensory details in their books. But here’s what a lot of writers do. They have a scene start off showing a character somewhere, and we get what feels like a laundry list of visuals to show the place he’s in—if even that much.

Maybe he’ll hear something—but it won’t tell us anything useful, like the sound of the clock ticking by the bed (do clocks tick anymore?).

We need to be aware of two key things: what the POV character is feeling and experiencing in that moment and what genre you’re writing in. The first concern determines what your character will notice and react to and how. The second concern speaks to the way you, the writer, should present these details—the writing style, the amount of detail, the tone, and everything related to genre.

Much to most people’s surprise, we have more than twenty senses that the brain combines and interprets to form a map of reality. Yet, so many writers fail to include even the five general senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. They rely almost exclusively on visual descriptions, with the occasional sound or smell as an afterthought. Continue Reading…

The Nuances of Deep POV – Part 2

We’re taking some time to look at deep POV, mainly because I see violations running rampant in the manuscripts I edit and critique. So much so, it feels like a horde of orcs storming the castle doors.

We looked last week at some basic issues surrounding deep POV. I talked about how every line in every scene should sound like your POV character. That includes the narrative. Anytime your writing sounds like you, you, the author, are intruding.

I also explained how, when you “show” instead of “tell,” you are only going to show what your POV character is thinking and feeling in any given moment. And those things must be in context. Meaning, the events transpiring should organically trigger those thoughts and reactions and be pertinent to what is going on.

But there is so much more to deep POV, and in this post we’re going to look at some more issues to help you understand and master this imporant technique of being deep in POV.

Today’s readers want to be immersed in our stories. Unlike in the past, when most novels were heavy on narrative, backstory, and explanation, today’s great novels are all about show, don’t tell. And that requires going deep into characters’ heads. Continue Reading…

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