Thursday, June 21, 2012

Deeper Point of View

“Good writing is like a windowpane.” George Orwell
In previous posts, we’ve discussed point of view as it relates to each character and scene. With deeper point of view, the reader is drawn further into a character’s actions and thoughts, essentially getting inside the character’s head as the scene unfolds.
One way to accomplish this is to eliminate tag lines. Instead of repeatedly interrupting the scene with he said/she said, the natural flow of characters’ dialogue, emotions, and action tell the story.  
Deeper POV also works in tandem with the concept “show, don’t tell.” Instead of telling the reader a character is wondering, seeing, hearing, or feeling, a good writer lets the characters act out the scene naturally as it would occur in real life.

Here are some examples. The second sentence/paragraph in each sequence is written in deeper POV.
She glanced at him and wondered where his patience came from.
She glanced at him. Where did his patience come from?
Jackie swirled the coffee in her cup and carefully considered her reply.
Jackie swirled the coffee in her cup. How should she reply?
She snuggled under the covers, wishing she’d planned the trip for another day.
She snuggled under the covers. If only she’d planned the trip for another day.
He thought about why she was always late for church.
Why was she always late for church?
Dave felt her eyes searching his face.
Her eyes searched his face. 
Kathy heard a rustling and then saw a snake slither out of the bushes. She hoped she could outrun the snake before it bit her. She noticed it was a harmless black snake and stopped to take a deep breath. Snakes gave her the creeps.
Kathy turned toward the rustling in the bushes. A harmless blacksnake slithered out. She jumped behind a tree as the snake slid down the trail ahead of her. A chill tingled through her. She shook it off and stepped back onto the trail. 
She was angry that he talked non-stop, never allowing her to voice an opinion during a discussion. He must think her opinion didn’t matter. She wondered what it would take to make him listen.
“Shut up!” She drew a deep breath and straightened to face his wide-eyed stare. Did that scream just come from her mouth? Maybe now he would listen. 
The first sentences/paragraphs in each sequence aren't necessarily incorrect, but they inhibit deeper character and scene development which leads to a less interesting story. 
Take another look at your WIP. Are there places you could rewrite to deepen character POV? If you’d like to share an example or make a suggestion for future topics for me to discuss, please leave a comment. I enjoy the encouraging and insightful thoughts shared each week. 
God bless,


  1. Laura,
    GREAT examples!
    This is developing skill set for me, so a very timely post. Because of the type of writing I've done, this hasn't been an issue. Now that I'm spreading my wings, POV and "show don't tell" are two areas in which I'm experiencing growing pains. Grateful for all the help I can get; and since I find examples particularly useful, this post was a gem!

    1. Thanks, Janey. Glad to be of help. I look forward to seeing your fiction work in print one day. I've enjoyed your non-fiction pieces.

  2. Great writing Laura, you are continually challenging my writing and teaching me! Thank you, I've started catching myself doing this.

    1. Thanks, TC. I'm glad the post helped! Always good to hear from you.

  3. Thanks for the examples. They really made your point clear.

  4. I really appreciate this. As I'm half way through my first ebook, I find my writing becoming lazy. There has begun to be a lot more telling than showing. I need to go back and rewrite now. *sigh*

    1. All writers experience that. We see the characters and scenes clearly in our head. It's easier just to tell the story, but it's not as interesting for the reader! Hang in there.

  5. Your blog is a boon for me because I always wanted to write short, clear and crispy sentences but never knew how. I have copied the examples that you shared for future reference. In future I will keep looking at them and try to rewrite sentences the way you have written. I have bookmarked your blog and eagerly waiting for more blogs. Please write more blogs on the same topic.