Deepening Point of View

 Deepening Point Of View
by Sandy Blair

    Whether you’re writing a novella, category, or single-title novel, you—the author--have two goals. First, to have the characters (not you) tell a compelling story, and, second, to make your reader care so much about your characters that they forget they’re reading. To make them become “one” with your characters.

    The first of these goals is probably the most difficult because we’re all storytellers by nature. We want to share the wondrous tales spinning about in our heads with the world. Being omnipotent can lead down the “telling path,” can cause an author to use was and had been too numerous to count, to add "he thought" and "she decided" tags right and left, which, unfortunately, pulls the reader out of deep point of view and makes them very aware that they’re simply reading words on a page.

    To avoid omnipotent telling, first ask yourself, “Who has the most to lose or the most to gain?” before starting a scene. If you do it each and every time, you’ll always be in the right--most compelling--point of view. (And it’s okay to remain in the same POV for several chapters or scenes.)

    Once in the correct POV, remain cognizant of the fact that it’s the character--not you—living this story.    

    "Jordan stopped before the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. Having been raised in an orphanage, he recalled his painful childhood and thought, why not, and reached..." is info dumping--telling.

    "Jordan stopped before the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. As he read the sign explaining the angels, memories of a cold, crowded dorm room, thread-bare sheets, the pain of discovering a too large, plaid jacket instead of a much-wanted fire truck under a plastic Christmas tree caused..." keeps the reader in his head.

    You don’t need those "he thought" or "she decided" tags when in deep POV. Think about it. When you’re in an argument with someone you don’t think, "'No,' I thought, 'I won’t let him get away with that.'" You think "No, I won’t let him get away with that." Can you hear the difference? As you write, remember you are the character, you’re living this experience.

    And as you write don’t tell us lightening flashed, show us light bouncing off a broken pane.