You Can Get Inside Your Character and Write in Deep Point of View

by | Writing | 8 comments

“Writers create narrative distance when they consciously or unconsciously insert an invisible narrator between the [point of view character] and the reader.” —Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at

You want your reader to connect with your main characters so deeply that your reader commits identity theft.

I took a class, Rivet Your Reader with Deep Point of View, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson. For her lessons, I recommend Jill’s next class at Savvy Authors or her book by the same title. If you’re like me, I learn from examples. So, here are my examples of writing in deep point of view.

8 Examples of Deep Point of View

1. Arthur’s breaths came in shallow spurts. So, this was the end. He’d be gone in minutes. Not so scary. Freeing. He’d be with Jesus before the first star twinkled.

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at

Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at

2. Her stomach protesting with a hungry growl, she backed out of the driveway. Cake. Not just any cake, but German chocolate. And candy. Bowls of it. If only she’d stayed home and nursed her cold. Runny eyes and a stuffed nose she could handle, but cake and candy? Forget about it. Why had she promised Mark she’d lose ten pounds by their wedding, anyway? Just two more minutes and she’d be in the safety of her home. No sweets in home, sweet, home.

Image courtesy of Ambro at

Image courtesy of Ambro at

3.  Rick raised the lid on the breadbox. Empty. He yanked open the refrigerator. It held a Sippy cup half full of juice and an unopened liter of diet orange soda. No milk. Would he and the kids outlive Lily’s depression? He grabbed his keys off the table and headed for the garage.

4. She rolled her eyes. He still hadn’t fixed the dryer. Or taken the unsightly wood at the side of the house to the dump. She’d grow a mustache before he got his broken-down Harley out of her parking space in the garage. So tomorrow he was going to power wash the house? In her dreams.

5. Amanda’s hands itched to wring the arrogant creep’s neck. She slammed the drawer. Too bad his fingers weren’t in the way.

Image courtesy of chanpipat at

Image courtesy of chanpipat at

6. I scooted farther back into the space under the stairs. Would the masked man hear my heavy breathing? My heart pounding? What would he do if he found me? What could I do if he dragged me out of my dark hiding place? I clawed the floor around me for a weapon. My hand batted a stuffed animal, landed on some kind of ball, and grasped a… A Star Wars lightsaber? I clutched the plastic toy to my chest and prayed.

7. How could anyone take his rights as a father away from him? The so-called authorities could try, but by the time they reached his house, he and Andy would be long gone. Even if he had to punch Linda out to carry Andy to the car. Andy was as much his son as hers. She had no right to do this to him. No right. He wrenched the steering wheel and the car careened and squealed as he rounded the corner. Just let her get in his way. She wouldn’t be able to stand, much less stop him, after he got finished with her.

Image courtesy of nuttakit at

Image courtesy of nuttakit at

8. David placed his hands on his hips and waited. Certainly Cindy would turn around. She couldn’t have passed him and not seen him. He was six-two and two hundred pounds, for Pete’s sake. She kept walking. He’d been snubbed. Royally. Who did she think she was, anyway? An insufferable brat, that’s who. She’d have to beg him on her knees before he ever spoke to her again.


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  1. Marcia A. Lahti

    My husband said my deep point of view paragraph is too steamy, so I’ll have to email the smoldering submission to you privately. Have your read any of Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s novels?

  2. Zoe M. McCarthy

    Oh, dear. Maybe write another. I have read Jill’s book on Point of View. I haven’t yet read one of her Novels. Reluctant Burglar sounds interesting.

  3. Holly Michael

    Great examples. Thanks~

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thanks, Holly. I appreciate that.

  4. Susan J. Reinhardt

    I read Jill’s book on Deep POV awhile back and loved it. I’ve incorporated many of her methods in my two latest books. One reader commented that she didn’t know what I did, but the second book was even better than the first. I believe it was because of deep POV.

    I read Reluctant Burglar and enjoyed it. I hope to read more of Jill’s work soon, especially anything related to the craft of writing.

  5. Zoe M. McCarthy

    How great to have a reader see the before and after. I’m glad I took the course. Okay, I need to go out and order Reluctant Burglar. Thanks, Susan.

  6. schillingklaus

    I reject deep POV deliberately, and veer undeterrably towards editorial omniscience, in the tradition of De Cervantes and Fielding.

    None of the above examples are unambiguously in deep POV. There is nothing to prevent them from being completely from an authorial omniscient narrator’s point of view. Even a limited (and usually unreliable) first-person witness character would be able to talk in this manner.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thanks for commenting, schillingklaus. I think one of the benefits of deep point of view is that it rids writing of such phrases, “she thought,” “she knew,” “she heard.” Instead, we’re in her thoughts and what she knows and hear the sounds with her.

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