Whether you write in first, second, or third person, you can increase intimacy between reader and character by writing in deep point of view* (DPOV).
Tip 1: In DPOV, we see, smell, hear, feel, and taste only what the POV character (POVC) senses. We’re privy to only her thoughts.
Tip 2: DPOV is used in a POVC’s thoughts, not dialogue. The POVC’s actions and the way he experiences his surroundings are written with his POV involved. His actions and thoughts are linear; stimuli precede his reactions.
Sam took great pleasure in his meal. He planted a heaping spoonful of corn on his plate after Ann passed him the creamed corn. He glanced up from shoveling in corn. Ann stared at him, smiling.
Ann passed Sam the creamed corn. He planted a heaping spoonful on his plate. What a feast. He sampled the mashed potatoes. Nothing could be creamier. He sank his teeth into a fried chicken breast, and closed his eyes. To die for. If only mom could cook like this. He glanced up from shoveling in corn. Ann stared at him, smiling.
Tip 3: DPOV isn’t a flow of internal monologue or using italicized direct thoughts.
Tip 4: You rarely say to yourself, I:
So, DPOV doesn’t state these. POVCs merely do them.
He thought Mary was mean. He wished she’d leave town, but he realized she wouldn’t. He’d avoid the battle-ax, he decided.
Mary was mean. If only she’d leave town. No way would that happen. From now on, he’d avoid the battle-ax.
Tip 5: Don’t name a feeling. Instead, give thoughts, actions, and behaviors that accompany the feeling.
Bob ran his fingers over Nell’s sweet face in her school photo. Why’d she have to grow up and prefer her friends to riding the tractor with Grandpa? He pulled off his glasses and wiped away the mist that had formed on the lenses.
Tip 6: Don’t use in or with to name feelings or attitudes.
Maud spoke harshly to the child. Jack looked at Maud with disdain.
Maud spoke harshly to the child. Jack drew himself to his full height. He arched his eyebrow, curled his upper lip, and glared at Maud. Was she getting his message? His dog had more tact than the shrew.
Tip 7: Don’t state that POVCs are using their senses.
I heard the stairs creak. I turned toward the staircase.
The stairs creaked. I turned toward the staircase.
Tip 8: Avoid made, caused, and gave as a way of telling.
I tiptoed into Carl’s empty bedroom. Suddenly his alarm clock sounded and made me jump. I thought I’d set off the security system.
I tiptoed into Carl’s empty bedroom. Brrring! Brrring! I jumped and spun in every direction. Had I set off the security system? No. Too close. I clamped my hand on Carl’s alarm clock.
For more examples of DPOV click the link.
Write in deep point of view & create intimacy between reader & character. Click to tweet.
What keeps you from writing in DPOV?
* I recommend Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Elizabeth Nelson.