Three Easy Steps to Deep POV

Writers often feel uncomfortable writing in the first person “I” voice. Some English teacher from long ago taught them not to litter a page with the word “I.” But there are ways to keep these “I”s minimal–and using DEEP POV will help.
Writing Tip for Today: What is DEEP POV and how do you use it? Whether you write in first person or third person, deep POV brings the camera closer and lets your reader feel a part of the character’s experience. Here are three simple steps to DEEP POV:

  • Look for Names and Pronouns. The POV (point of view) character is the person telling you the story. If you want to employ Deep POV, first look for sentences that begin with “I,” he or she or the POV character’s name.
  • Home in on Certain Words. Here is a partial list of words to look for when switching to Deep POV: I noticed, realized, thought, figured, knew. She saw, heard, observed. He felt. These words tend to pull back the camera so that the reader must add an extra step before experiencing what the character experiences. Deep POV is also sometimes referred to as the “observing consciousness.” When you see, hear, think or feel, you don’t first tell yourself that you are doing these things–you just do them. Same is true for Deep POV characters–they simply experience something, without reminding the reader that they are using their brain or senses to do so.
  • Drop the Observations. Last, rewrite your sentence to reflect a Deep POV. Instead of “I feel a shooting pain rocketing up my spine,” the revision would be, “A shooting pain rockets up my spine.” Instead of he thought she was the prettiest girl on earth,” rewrite to, “She was the prettiest girl on earth.” Instead of “She saw him climb in her window,” you’d write, “He climbed in her window.”

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

6 comments on “Three Easy Steps to Deep POV

  1. I just started writing a brand new novel which is written in the first person. I am definately pouring my heart and soul into this project as I keep a death grip on deep POV.
    I like how you gave a simple breakdown of these steps. It was helpful, giving me some things to keep in mind as I write! Thanks, Linda!

  2. Hi Linda,

    This was very helpful. My new WIP is in 1st POV – an area I’ve never gone before and I’ve been writing for 30+ years. I appreciate the insight this article offered. *hops back to the writing cave and start tweaking here and there…*grin*

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