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Thursday, March 3, 2011

I thought I was in deep POV…

Please welcome guest blogger Rebecca Zanetti

Okay. So I’ve been writing for a little while and thought I was writing in deep point of view. Not. Turns out I was still in the shallow end of the pool. Was I head bopping? Nope. Using those terrible sense tags? Nope. I was describing the desk wrong. Really. The desk.

Let me explain.

First, for new writers, POV is whose head you’re in during the scene. If the reader is in the heroine’s POV and she walks into a bar where she doesn’t know a soul…she can’t look at people and think, “Wozza, Joe is cute.” She has to look and think, “Wow. Who’s the hot guy with the tats by the pool table?” She can’t see herself blush a beet red. But she can feel the stinging heat climb into her face.

Second, those terrible sense words yank the reader out of deep point of view. Words like smell, felt, thought, wondered, considered and so on.

(NOT deep POV) Bobby felt the pain shooting up her leg and wondered if she was going to die today.

Change that to deep POV: The pain shot up her leg. This was it. Death loomed near.

The sense words distance the reader from the scene. You don’t need them.

Okay. About the desk. I write quickly and then go back and layer all of those needed details. So I throw in emotion, action, and description. The thing is, my descriptions were falling flat. I’d have the burnished antique desk…the granite countertops...etc. But while they described the room…they didn’t help round out the characters.

To stay in deep POV, you have to describe the scene the way your POV character SEES it. For example, if I walk into my home office at home, my eye goes to the desk where I left three piles of laundry to carry upstairs. Darn laundry. But if an art student walked in there, she’d probably notice the Lyman painting above my desk…and then she’d think about the painting she just finished. Someone writing fantasy novels might notice the dragon figurine peering over the corner…and then think about the fairy figurine her grandpa gave her.

The key is that different people will notice different things. My husband would notice the diet coke I have stashed around the file cabinet because I’ve been adamant about giving it up. So I hide it in my office. As a bit of a perfectionist, he’d also notice the Lyman painting is slightly off center. Me, I notice the deep blue colors and stunning moonlight. Perfect for a vampire scene.

So the question to ask is: What does your character see?

Thanks for reading today! You can find me at: http://rebeccazanetti.com/

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.


Scientist and single mother Cara Paulsen is used to fighting for what she wants and doing
whatever it takes to protect her daughter, Janie. But “whatever it takes” has never before
included a shotgun wedding to a dangerous-looking stranger.

Vampire leader Talen says that he’s there to protect Cara and Janie. But his idea of a wedding night is more like a sexual taming—dominant and scorching hot. With shapeshifting allies,they must fight against an evil race of vampires that has discovered a way to venture into sunlight, in order to safeguard Janie…and the rest of humanity.


Taryn Kincaid said...

Great post. Excellent way to keep the characters from sounding exactly alike also!

Danica Avet said...

Great post, Rebecca. This is something I have to work on a lot more than other things. Mais. :)

Sayde Grace said...

I hate deep POV, it makes my life so much harder! LoL, great post!!

Rebecca said...

Taryn: Thanks so much! Sometimes I have to remind myself whose head I'm in. Even when I'm writing. haha

Danica: Me too. I have a huge notecard on my desk that says "What does your character notice?"

Hi Sayde. You love deep POV. :)

Rashda said...

Great post! I can so relate to the Diet Coke situation....

Alexis Morgan said...

Those words you mentioned (felt, wondered, thought)are a huge issue for me. I really have to be on the lookout for them constantly when I'm writing.

Deep POV is so much more immediate and real for the reader.

Maeve said...

Great post. Head hopping and deep POV - two things that can make such a HUGE difference in a story and two things that are often very difficult for a writer to watch. I guess that's where a good cp comes in to help keep you on the straight and narrow. ;-)

Ciara said...

Great post, Rebecca. This is such an important skill.

Could you give an example of deep POV with the sense of smell. That is one I struggle with. I'm not sure why, just is. :)