How Deep POV Elicits Emotions

My friend C.S. Lakin, over at LiveWriteThrive, has just unveiled her latest writing course: Handling character emotions. Conveying emotion is so important! You can check it out here. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at how using Deep POV can help you convey emotion in your fiction.

Writing Tip for Today: How can Deep POV help to communicate
character emotion?

Deep POV Refresher

Deep POV puts readers deeper into character—so that a reader
becomes the character instead of simply observing that character.
In common third person limited point of view, readers “watch” as the character
either tells (she replied angrily) or shows (she clenched her fists) an
emotion. While either of these methods are sometimes useful, taking readers into
Deep POV helps to transform them into becoming the character.

In Deep POV, your character doesn’t have to notice herself
noticing, see herself seeing or many other “head” trips we use when readers are
observing rather than participating. Sometimes called the “Observing
Consciousness,” these markers can make the characters feel more remote and
readers less involved. Take “she thought it was the most beautiful dress she’d
ever seen.”

To convert to Deep POV, you’d simply omit “she thought.” “It
was the most beautiful dress she’d ever seen” IS the thought. The reason this
feels more intimate is that when we notice, see, or think our thoughts, we
rarely add, “I’m noticing, seeing, thinking.” The camera moves in closer when we
simply record the thought. Deep POV convinces readers that they’re inside the
character’s head and privy to her thoughts.

Inner Dialogue

Inner dialogue is an excellent way to not only telegraph an
emotion, but flavor it with the character’s unique take on life. Instead of
writing, “He was angry,” or “He stomped his foot,” giving readers his inner
dialogue (that is, his self-talk) can give emotion plus insight. “He wanted to
wring that clerk’s neck,” illustrates not only the anger emotion but also gives
insight into this character’s attitudes and motivations.

A word here about italics for inner dialogue. In Deep POV, writers can get confused as to when italics are needed. He wanted to ring that clerk’s neck would NOT use italics, but I could hardly keep from wringing that clerk’s neck might if the story as a whole was in Third Person (using he, she pronouns). If in First Person, italics would be used if the character thought, I’d like to wring your neck, buddy. As confusing as it can be, the rule is that italics are necessary only if the inner dialogue addresses the self directly, as if the character is talking to himself but not out loud.

Deep Emotions

Using Deep POV takes away the extra layer of distance
between the character and the reader. By eliminating the he saw, he heard, he
observed, he realized, he knew, etc., readers may be able to embody the
character in a way not possible before.

Greater understanding of your character, goals, motivations
and obstacles is another benefit to using Deep POV to express emotion. As you
write your story in Deep POV, you too have a greater chance of “becoming” your
character, and in turn passing on that more fully developed person to your reader.

Most writers use a combination of telling, showing and inner
thoughts to convey their characters’ emotions. Try adding Deep POV to your
story to elicit a more complete reader experience.

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.

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