I have read several posts/blogs recently where someone says they have just ‘discovered’ Deep Point of View. One blogger even called it a ‘new’ type of Point of View. Other bloggers (writers) have said how they find it difficult to write in deep POV.
I’ve used deep POV ever since my first published novel in the 1960s. At the time I wasn’t aware it actually had a name. All I knew then was that Mills and Boon required their romance novels to be written from the heroine’s point of view (and only the heroine’s). In its most basic sense, this means out with phrases like, ‘She didn’t see the frown on his face as he turned to the door.’ If we’re in deep POV, we can only show what the heroine saw. If she didn’t see, how did she know he had a frown on his face? Similarly, out goes any head-hopping i.e. jumping to another person’s POV in the middle of a scene, and then back to the original person in the next sentence.
Deep POV requires us to describe scenes, events, conversations, thoughts, and emotions from one person’s point of view. Most times, it means we can omit the ‘filtering’ words like ‘he thought’, ‘he heard’, ‘he felt’, ‘he saw’ etc. Notice I don’t say ‘always’ because there are times when these words are necessary, usually for clarity. I admit I still use them too much, but am trying to limit them.
For me, deep POV means getting into the head of the person, and thinking, feeling, reacting, etc, as he or she would. This adds emotional depth, and also helps the reader to empathise with whatever the person is feeling. I’m not describing the person, I’m not even playacting the person, I am the person.
I’ve read many books where the author tells us what the character is thinking or feeling, rather than allowing us into the character’s mind. I’ve also read advice to use sensory perceptions to ‘deepen’ the deep POV but, as with most things, less is more. I recently read one book where the author was trying too hard not to use thought, felt, heard etc, and instead overloaded everything with too many unnecessary actions, sights, sounds, and smells, which proved very distracting!
Of course, deep POV doesn’t mean we have to stay in one person’s POV for the whole of the novel. Fashions have changed, and we don’t have to write always from heroine’s POV. Because of my early self-training, I do tend to favour the female POV, but I’ve learnt (or rather, am still learning) to switch into the hero’s POV. I don’t find that easy. Deciding when to switch is one problem for me, but also a different POV (particularly a male’s) can mean the thoughts, and also the words and the phrasing, need to be different. Getting into the male mindset is much harder, but hopefully I’m improving with every new novel I write.
How easy or difficult do you find deep POV?