Monday, June 25, 2012

Deep Point of View - what is it?

I've been doing some mentoring and critiquing of stories for some fellow erotic writers, and one thing that keeps coming up is deep point of view, or lack there-of.

So what is deep pov? In my mind, it's having a reader experiencing a situation through the hero or heroine's eyes, where his/her thoughts, emotions and reactions hits front and centre.
In other words, as a writer you're not 'telling' a reader about the experience, you're 'showing' them the experience--giving the experience to them.

Sometimes it can be as simple as taking away the telling words after showing it.
 Eg- Her stomach fluttered with excitement, her hands trembling with anticipation.
This easily becomes: Her stomach fluttered, her hands trembled.
The latter reveals the same thing, only the reader is drawn in more without the telling words. If the setup of the sentence is done right IE: the writer has built towards the tension of the scene and the reader is aware of what's at stake, then 'telling' them as well isn't always necessary.

"Felt" is a word as writers we're often told to eliminate. Why? Because by using it we're again 'telling' the reader what the character is experiencing.
eg - She felt a chill settle deep into the marrow of the bones. She'd never felt more scared.
becomes - A chill settled deep into the marrow of her bones. (we don't need to add the next sentence as a reader assumes from her reaction that she'd never felt more scared, therefore the words are just deadwood to be eliminated).

Reactions and emotions of the characters are also crucial--we want the reader to 'feel' these emotions, laugh at the high points, cry at the low points, become anxious at the tense moments.
eg- She looked at him. She loved him, she'd always had. Embarrassingly, he'd always known it.
becomes- Her throat dried as she looked at him, a wave of longing threatening to send heat straight to her face. Again. She could only pray this once he wouldn't notice.
The former isn't too bad, (and has its place) but the latter has more impact though it tells the same story.

Internal thoughts and knowing personal experiences/traits of the characters can also impact deep pov. If Claire, a successful business woman, was traumatised as a child by a dog attack - you wouldn't have her react like this:
Claire glared at the german shepherd who slinked towards her, it's hackles up and teeth bared. "I don't have time for this shit-go on, get home!"
You'd build on the emotions, the tension and past experiences - and you'd gear it towards the personality of the character facing the dilemma:
Claire's briefcase thudded to the ground. She backed up a step, heart in her throat, blood draining from her face. All logical thought ceased, all thought processes ground to a stop. Please god, no. Not again.

Simple things also help with deep pov. If we're in the characters skin, living the experience with her, we want a quick visual of her surrounds, a little sniff of the rose garden or of the food frying next door, a reaction and/or thought.
eg- Her childhood home hadn't changed one bit, not the sagging front porch, the ripped screen door, nor the patchy lawn and the straggly paw paw tree that'd never yielded fruit. The only difference was the scent emanating from inside. Barbecued steak and caramalised fried onion. Her belly compressed - with nerves or hunger, she wasn't quite sure. She swallowed, and strode forward. Her mother was expecting her. Time to face the music.

This is just a brief summary of deep pov, but hope it helps =))


Kylie B said...

Nicely done, Mel. You rock.

Christina Phillips said...

Great advice, Mel!

Mel Teshco said...

Thanks Kylie & Christina - phew, glad my ramblings made sense!!! LOL

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post of helpful hints thanks Mel

Suzanne Hamilton said...

Great post, Mel and very timely. Thank you.

Mel Teshco said...

Thanks Maryde and Suz, so glad it helped =)

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Great to be remindered Mel. It jolted a few of my nasties. lol. :)

Eleni Konstantine said...

Always good to be reminded of deep POV. It something I go back over to check in my edits because it's easier to tell in the first draft - or it is for me. :)

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Suz and Elene - it was nice to write them down and think them through, though like any rule it's nice to break it often LOL

Anita Joy said...

Lovely, clear explanation. Thanks, Mel :)

Mel Teshco said...

No probs Anita, glad it was easily understandable =)

Adina West said...

Working on a first draft at the moment - and reading through your examples reminded me how much of this I need to add in my second draft! Definitely adds to the reader experience.

Mel Teshco said...

Hi Adina,

nothing like a refresher =))

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