Plunging the Depths of Deep POV –– Part IV

from Flickr

from Flickr

We’re discussing Deep POV, and how to get inside the character’s head to make the experience more impactful for the reader. Last time, we listed basic writing tips for deep POV. Only visceral reactions by the viewpoint character count for building deep POV. Click to Tweet #amwriting #DeepPOV

This time, we’ll look at the interior life of the viewpoint character, their thoughts, attitudes, reactions, and emotions.

A visceral reaction is a body response we have no control over. This is essential to writing in deep POV. Some of these responses can be: dizziness, a racing heart, sweaty palms, tense shoulders, a clenched stomach, etc.

shockThey’re instinctive in how we respond. We don’t think about them ahead of time. They just happen.

When you hear of a horrible act of terrorism, what’s your first response? When you come across a dead animal, what do you do? Your mother just died. How do you feel? You just lost your job and your bills are due? What happened? You love chocolate, and you just bit into your favorite chocolate, whether it be a piece of candy, cake, ice cream, or hot chocolate. What’s your first response? These are the kinds of reactions you’re looking for in writing deep POV.

One caveat to visceral reactions: don’t overuse them, but strategically place them for maximum impact. If you’ve ever read about someone’s heart pounding so often, you wonder if they’re going to have a heart attack, you see what I mean.

Think about when you experienced a visceral reaction. I’ll tell you one of mine. My Dad had cancer, and had major surgery to remove a kidney. I’d told my mom to “be strong.” But what happened when I saw Dad hooked up to oxygen, IVs, and who knows what other machines there were, my stomach and head just about made me throw up and faint. I had to get out of the room for a short time. I thought I’d steeled myself for it. Evidently not.

If you know what your responses are, you can use those for your viewpoint character’s reactions to stimuli, from emotions, to situations, anything.

These involuntary responses can be internal or external. But they must be real and appropriate for what your character is going through. The reader will experience what your character experiences in a most satisfying way. That’s your goal in Deep POV. Click to Tweet #amwriting #DeepPOV


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