Plunging the Depths of Deep POV –– Part V

from Flickr

from Flickr

Last time look at the interior life of the viewpoint character, their thoughts, attitudes, reactions, and emotions. Deep POV enhances the reader’s experience with your story. Click to Tweet #amwriting #DeepPOV

This time, we’ll begin a series of examples, before and after, to show you the differences, and how text comes alive.

Eliminate Emotion Words

Instead of naming the emotion, we’ll use that visceral reaction. One great resource for physical and emotional responses, is The Emotion Thesaurus. I’ve talked about that before on this website.

Telling emotions keeps the reader at arm’s length rather than letting them experience the emotions along with the character.


She was so angry when she heard she’d lost the job.

Her anxiety made her nauseous.

Fear coursed through her veins.

Let’s look at how to change these.

Her jaw clenched. She’d lost the job.

Her stomach churned.

She trembled and couldn’t stop.

EyeEliminate Telling Verbs

Look for these common “telling” verbs: felt, saw, heard, watched, noticed, wondered, knew, remembered, thought, wished, realized.

He thought she’d be prettier if she didn’t pile on the makeup.

She heard the thunder in the distance.

He wondered if he’d ever return to her.

How should we change these?

She’d be prettier if she didn’t pile on the makeup.

Thunder rumbled in the distance.

Would he ever return to her?

I’m going to take it for granted that you all know about basic POV, and you don’t “head-hop” (which means sentences from more than one POV per scene), or be guilty of author intrusion (the author is the invisible narrator).

Many times, rewording the sentence will show the reader what the emotion actually feels like. Here’s another example:

She felt a rush of pleasure when he smiled at her.

Change to:

Ah, what a smile. If only he’d keep smiling at her, she’d stand in this line all day.

Deep POV is a way for the reader to experience, along with the character, the story you’re writing. Click to Tweet #amwriting #DeepPOV

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