Sunday, December 18, 2011

Understanding Deep POV

Have you ever heard the following phrases from your crit partners, “Your novel is great, but it lacks deep POV” or “What you need to do is read some novels which utilize deep POV, as it will expand your writing ability?" I know I certainly have.

Is there a way to fix this? A way to make the move that lands our novels from the slush pile onto the bestseller lists? Utilizing deep POV gives our novels a better chance of succeeding in this tight publishing market. It also brings readers into a deeper experience with our characters. Writing deep POV is what distinguishes the above average writers from their counterparts.

So what exactly is deep POV? Deep POV is third person told in an intimate way. Rather than telling readers it uses descriptive language and thought processes to show them. The best novels are those where we connect with the characters, right? Deep POV helps us do just that. So to sum it up in one sentence: Deep POV is showing the reader the character’s emotions instead of telling them. The following examples will demonstrate.

Instead of:Amelia was angry, yet she tried not to show it.
Say:Amelia bit her lip, sucking in a deep breath, while fighting the urge to spew forth angry words.

See how the second example gives a better picture of what is going on inside the character’s head?

Another tip is to take out words such as, felt, saw, watched, thought, and knew. I confess I tend to use a ton of these words while writing the first draft of my novels, and then taking them out during the editing phase. Let’s look at another example:

How dare he, Susan thought? She knew Jack Kincaid was the worst cad she’d ever met and it would be a struggle not to tell him.

Pretty bad huh? Now let’s try and fix it:
How dare he? Susan splayed her hand against her bodice, trying to calm her pounding heart. Jack Kincaid was the worst cad she’d ever met. She gritted her teeth. The only thing better than telling him would be slapping him silly.

In the above example we not only get deeper inside Susan’s head but we also learn something new about her personality. This helps us to connect with her, which is what every author wants. We want readers to connect with characters, which better enhances the emotional experience of a good novel.

Novels That Show Deep POV Writing
Here are some novels which I’ve found utilize deep POV extremely well. These are only a sampling and I’m sure there are many more, but I’ve used several of these novels as “manuals” for good deep POV writing. Descriptions of the novels below can be found on

Heiress – Susan May Warren
A Heart Revealed – Julie Lessman
Fairer Than Morning - Rosslyn Elliot
Abigail – Jill Eileen Smith
The Doctor’s Lady – Jody Hedlund
The Falcon and the Sparrow – M. L. Tyndall

This list is by no means definitive, but I’ve found these authors’ techniques to be extremely helpful when writing my own deep POV.

Remember, deep POV is showing the character’s emotion instead of telling it. It’s bringing readers deeper into the lives and hearts of our characters thus giving us the ability to better touch hearts and lives with our novels.


I’m extending my Countdown to Christmas one more week to offer one blessed reader a special book. This week I am giving away an autographed copy of “The Doctor’s Lady” by Jody Hedlund, one of the novels mentioned above. A great novel by an author who does deep POV extremely well. Reading this will give you a mini hands on course in writing deep POV.

Get your comments (and don't forget to leave your email) in by Friday, December 23rd and I will pick a winner. Have fun!

This is also the last time I will be posting until after the New Year. I’m taking next Monday off as a holiday hiatus, but look forward to seeing you all back the following week to kick of the year 2012!!

A very merry and blessed Christmas and New Years to you all!


Michelle Sutton said...

I love to write deep POV! I also would love to win this book. I have the first one so it would be good to launch right into the second. :)


Susan said...

Would love to get some titles of non-inspy books that you think have deep pov. Thank you for doing this and I would love to win

Aly Logan said...

I loved Jody's first book. She is an excellent writer. Thanks for the chance to win The Doctor's Lady.


Anonymous said...

Great examples of deep POV!

srstormo at yahoo dot com

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Amanda,

Thanks for including me in on your list of deep POV! :-) Your examples and explanation are spot on! Great post!!

Have a Merry Christmas!


Melissa K Norris said...

Thanks for the chance to win Jody's book and for sharing tips on deep POV. Mastering this was the tipping point in landing my agent. Okay, maybe not mastering it, but certainly improving on it. As I started writing my sequel last week, I've been wanting to strengethen my POV, so the timing is perfect. :)

Stephanie said...

so so true!! That was one lesson I learned in this process!! :) Now, the second I type one of those mentioned words: felt, though, etc... I hit delete and rewrite. :)

haefner919 at yahoo dot com

Kristi said...

I just "discovered" you and look forward to catching up on old posts. Thanks for your insight! Also, I would love to win this book. :)

Beth said...

Im a beginning writer, and your tips are wonderful. Thank you for sharing them. I have read Jody's first book and would love to win the second!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughts on POV. I occasionally teach writing to middle and high school homeschoolers, and this is one of the things I cover. Merry Christmas to you all!

Deb Lerew

Beth said...

I forgot to leave my email in the above post!

bmorr07 @ gmail .com

debbie curto said...

I would love to win this book I haven't read any of her books and this would be a great way to start I am always looking for new authors

debbie curto said...

forgot my email

pol said...

Thanks Amanda that does make sense, POV one much better.
thanks for sharing your book, love to read Jody's.
Paula O

Kim said...

great post on deep POV!! It really helped me! :)

Samantha K said...

Jody Hedlund writes so beautifully! Every sentence in her books makes me feel like I personally know each of the characters. Thank you for this giveaway!!

Ginger said...

I would love to read this book. Writing in deep POV is a challenge for me and I need all the help I can get. :)

Sheri said...

I love reading books written in deep POV and read Jody's first book. I would love to win her second one. Thanks for the chance!

hspruitt {at} frontiernet DoT

Cathy said...

I love deep POV! Susan, the non-inspy pro at deep POV is Suzanne Brockmann. With good deep POV, you know whose head you're in within one or two sentences of the start of the scene - the character's voice infuses the scene. Thanks, Amanda, for this lesson.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Amanda,
You've a nice blog here and now that I've found it, I'll be sure to stop back often.
I just finished reading " The Preacher's Bride" by Jody Hedlund. I couldn't put it down and now I'm going back over it to help with my own writing. She's a wonderful writer and speaker too. I'd love to win a copy of "The Doctor's Lady."

Michelle Dennis Evans said...

Great post, I'm just starting to really check where I can improve deep pov in my current revision.
I'm in Aus so it's ok if you don't want me to enter geve away.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i write deep POV...although first POV is my favorite.

would love to win this book, thanks!
charactertherapist at hotmail dot com
the character therapist

Wanda said...

Thank you for the insight into POV. Your examples are excellent and have given me some food for thought.
I also appreciate the change to win Jody Hedlund's book. I recently finished her first novel and was deeply touched by it.

Naomi Rawlings said...

Hey Amanda, what a fun post. It made me smile. A lot. I haven't read Heiress my Susie May Warren. Maybe I should get my hands on a copy of that one. :)