The Ultimate POV Guide Part 4: Deep POV


You may have heard some rumblings in the writing community about Deep POV. It’s a type of perspective that has shown up more and more, especially after a whole slew of new YA novels written in Deep POV.

But if you’re anything like I was a few months ago, you’re probably wondering… what the hell is Deep POV and why does it have everyone all excited?

Well folks, that’s what today’s post (the final post in our POV series!) is all about. We’ll be exploring what Deep POV is, how and when to use it in your writing, some pros and cons, and a few tips to help you write in Deep POV.

Before we dive into it, if you want to revisit any of the other posts in this POV series, here’s the info on each post!

In the first post, we delved into the different types of POV, complete with examples, and explore what sorts of POVs are good for what kind of stories. We also took a minute to discuss tenses.

In the second post we talked about using multiple POVs to tell your story, with some pros and cons and examples of good and not-so-good uses. We also talked about the uses of letters and journal entries as forms of storytelling.

In the third post, we talked about the differences between different perspectives, like male vs. female vs. queer, and child vs. teenager vs. adult.

In this fourth post, we’ll wrap up with the ins and outs of deep POV, what it is, how and when to use it, and some tips and tricks.

Now let’s get to the beast!

What is Deep POV?

Put simply, Deep POV is based on emotional connection. Deep POV is generally told from First Person and takes the reader deep into the thoughts and feelings of the main character. Deep POV allows your reader to move through your story as if they themselves were the main character. They feel what your character feels, think what your character thinks, and pulls your reader out of the real world to be completely immersed in your story.

I know, it sounds a bit intimidating. Most of us aren’t that connected to our own thoughts and feelings, let alone our characters. But that’s why this post exists! Deep POV is an incredible opportunity to really entertain and engage your readers in ways other POV just doesn’t.

How and When Should I Use Deep POV?

When your character is the main driver of the story, when their thoughts and emotions and growth are the story rather than events in the world is the perfect time to use Deep POV. Some stories lend themselves to Deep POV beautifully and those are stories of deep growth, personal change, and intense emotion.

What are the Pros and Cons of Deep POV?

As with many things, the pros of Deep POV are also the cons. Each one has a shadow side and should be handled with care. Here are the two main pro/cons you’ll want to keep an eye on as you write in Deep POV.

  1. Readers have to discern for themselves intentions and motives of other characters. Because you’re writing so deeply in someone else’s head, your reader will be experiencing the world through the character’s eyes. How they interpret things, for better or worse, will impact your readers experience and their engagement with other characters.
  2. You have to keep things close… you’ll have limited chances to expand to the greater world to add in information. Your reader will only notice what your character would notice, and as such, their knowledge will be limited to what they notice or are told. In certain cases you can lift out of Deep POV (for action sequences for example) but in most cases, you have both the chance to describe things incredibly vividly and narrowly.

Tips and Tricks for Deep POV

There are of course some tips to help you write in Deep POV with less trouble. Take these into account as you write along and you’re sure to succeed.

  1. Know your characters like you know your best friend, your partner, and yourself.

To write in Deep POV, you have to understand your character like a psychologist. Know their history, their motivations, and desires, how they make decisions, what they eat for breakfast, their pet peeves and passions. You need to know them so well that when you write in Deep POV, you can truthfully write from their perspective.

Character profiles help with these! Be sure you’re signed up for the newsletter to get access to the Ultimate Character Profile. It’s full of exercises to get to know your characters on a deeper level.

  1. Show don’t tell

This is so important in Deep POV and will be one of your tickets to writing it successfully and masterfully.

Whenever you sit down to write a scene, you probably picture it in your head, a bit like a movie playing in your brain. Showing is using language to describe what you see in your mind in vivid detail on the page. Showing is what helps your reader know that your main character’s sword is drawn or there’s scrunched up paper balls littering the floor of the scientist’s office.

Showing is depicting details and actions in a way that allows your reader to become immersed in the world you’re creating. Instead of being told that your made-up world is green and lush with dense forests and plenty of rivers, your characters have to spend a week hiking through a feared wood and attempting to swim up or down river.

Showing is using adjectives to their full capacity and create full, dynamic stories.

  1. Write in active voice

Similarly to showing instead of telling, writing in passive voice automatically pulls your reader out of your character’s head. Follow the rule: if you can add “by zombies” after the verb in the sentence and it makes sense, then the sentence is passive!

  1. Eliminate words like notice, feel, thought, etc.

These pull the reader out of the characters head because they introduce an outside narrator. “Shelly thought the cows smelled bad.” versus “The cows smelled bad.” is the difference between reading from an outsider’s POV and experiencing events inside your character’s head.

I hope this POV series was helpful to you. Get writing!


Alexis Truitt

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