Author: Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Excessive telling versus showing, head hopping, author intrusion, filler words—these are some of the problems your writing can have when you do not have a solid grasp on your story and your characters.
I’ve edited a lot of manuscripts and see a lot of “weak” writing. That is to say the writing can be more engrossing and pull the reader into the story. It’s not that the writer can’t write, it’s just that it they can afford more finesse to make it stronger. Speaking as an editor, I know what I like and what irritates me. A lot of the things that irritate me can be traced back to POV issues.
Point of view—POV—is one the top decisions you need to make when writing the story after deciding to write in the first place. From whose viewpoint will the story unravel?
Nelson starts the book with a review of the types of POV (first, second—yes, second, third, third-person singular, third-person multiple, third-person omniscient). After the review, she describes what deep POV is, what it isn’t, and then she tackles POV issues one-by-one.
Here’s a few of the topics addressed:
- “Never Say He Thought/She Thought”
- “Ditch Prepositional Tells” (e.g. – she licked her lips in expectation)
- “He Saw/She Saw—Let’s Get Off the See-Saw”
Sound provocative? Do you have problems in these areas or have beta readers or critique group members “ding” you for these things? Read this book.
Some of you may read this book only to discover that you already follow some, if not all, of her tips. That’s what happened to me. However, I noticed things that I can be aware of with regard to my writing and the writing of my editing clients.
For example, I’ve edited several manuscripts lately where the characters have a lot of internal dialogue. I would advise the author to italicize it to make it stand out rather than fret over some elaborate fix. With deep POV, italicizing is unnecessary because the reader will have no doubt with regard to which character and what they are thinking.
It’s a short book. The print version is 61 pages, but don’t be put off by the length. It’s direct and has lots of examples.
Although deep point of view can improve your writing, quite significantly in my opinion, it will not make your writing better on its own. In fact, it will highlight other areas of weakness.
If your characters are flat, if your dialogue is repetitive, if your plot is disjointed, deep POV can make these flaws stand out even more. But look on the bright side. You’ll know what else you need to tackle.
Writing with deep POV in mind can help with your characterization and plotting. Point of view depends on characterization; therefore, when it comes to deep POV, it would benefit you to pay attention to your characters. Deep POV also depends on showing things in logical order (cause and effect), so it should help you with your plot.
©2015 by Zetta Brown