Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Deep Point of View as taught by Cheryl St. John #writingtips

Today, I'm continuing with more information I gleaned from an on-line class I took from Cheryl St. John.

The term "Deep POV" confuses many writers..I know it did me.  First of all, when you write, you don't want to intrude into the story with words that remind the reader they aren't experiencing everything first hand.  If you are deep into a point of view, the person engaged in your work, will know who is thinking, seeing, feeling, etc.

A few terms that jerk the reader out of the narrative are:

He/she thought

She/he wondered

He/she believed

He/she realized

He/she remembered

His/her thoughts wandered to...

He/she thought to himself (who else would your character think to?)

Another thing that many find distracting is he use of italics which indicates internal narrative.  Often these can be done as plain text and the general rule is to use them sparingly, if at all.

Cheryl St. John provided her class with a great example of how a paragraph can be improved.  What do you think?

He wondered where she'd hidden the deed to the house.  He believed it was probably hidden in that old trunk upstairs.  Travis saw several photographs on the table as he passed through the kitchen and he picked one up.  It was a picture of the two of them, taken the summer they'd rented the house on the lake.  She was smiling at him the way she used to.


Where the hell had she stashed the deed?  Lydia's predicability was one of the things he'd always loved about her.  She kept everything from old cancelled checks to her birth certificate in that trunk upstairs.  On his way through the dining room, a scattered pile of photos captured his attention.  The one on top was most recognizable, even as he held it to the late afternoon light slanting through the blinds.  That summer they'd spent at the lake had been one of the best times of his life.  Back then they'd still smiled at each other like silly teenagers, still held hands on the beach...still had dreams.

(Notice writing the paragraph like this also increased you word count?)

Note from me:  I'm annoyed by the use of "it" because I often have to read back in the story to discover again what "it" is supposed to be.  I prefer hard nouns rather than the pronoun, but that's just me.

I would have written He believed it was probably hidden...as The paper was probably hidden in that old trunk upstairs, and It was a picture, would become:  He picked up one of him and Lydia, taken in the summer they'd rented the house on the lake.

More to come from Cheryl St. John's awesome book:


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