Tag Archive - POV

Keeping Readers at Arm’s Length with Distanced POV

Fiction writers know all about POV, and in current novels, going deep is the ticket. But there are times when it’s strategic and powerful to keep distance in POV.

While it is sometimes used as an effective writing style to present an objective panorama of plot and characters  (as you’ll see further down), it has the benefit of leaving readers wondering and filling in blanks.

If a reader isn’t welcomed into the landscape of a character’s mind and can only make assumptions about motivation by watching the action, gestures, and expressions of the characters, then he is left with impressions and many questions. Which is all great for creating microtension, if done well.

Using the camera shot POV is a great technique novelists can borrow from filmmakers. For some writers, the idea of showing a scene completely devoid of emotion, reaction, internalizing, and opining may seem counterintuitive—or downright counterproductive. Isn’t the whole point to tell a story up close and personal?

Sure. But there may be times when you want to see action happening without coloring it with any subjective tint. When you want a feeling of emotional distance.

Some writers excel in this technique, and their novels become a visual palette of story shown as if through an impersonal camera. The effect is often profound and evocative. Why? Because it is left to the reader entirely to come up with what isn’t shown or told, to assess the emotional content and intention of the characters and the story unfolding. 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…

Page 1 of 3123»