Tag Archives: Deep POV

What is Deep POV?

Deep Point of View (Deep POV) is a style of writing that encourages readers to experience the story through a single character’s perspective at a time, making the events of the story more personal and compelling. This technique is a popular one in modern genre fiction, as it mimics the experience viewers have when watching many of their favorite films.

It cuts the narrative tags of “said” and other words that replace “said” that jerk a reader out of the character’s head. By using deep POV, the reader steps right into the character’s shoes. For strong, emotional writing, Deep POV is a skill that every novelist should learn and conquer. Although it can be difficult at first, it is so important, that I have written an entire post just on this skill.

Deep POV eliminates narrative tags that remind the reader that they are not the hero or heroine of the story. Deep POV adds depth of emotion while stuff is happening, rather than apart from it in patches. This makes the passage more interesting and weaves emotion through the scene right through the action and dialogue. It draws the reader in by  providing that emotional punch that takes your story from a manuscript to a riveting tale by drawing the character into the story’s emotions.  Deep POV, with all its jam-packed emotion, grabs your reader with hard-hitting emotional punch! In this way, our writing takes on a life of its own.

With Deep POV you can utilize any tense and grammatical person (e.g. first-person, third-person, etc.), making this technique fairly adaptable to your style and your story’s needs. What defines a certain type of storytelling as being written in Deep POV is its subjective nature, distinct character voice, and limited marks of authorship.

Deep POV gives a third person POV a first person POV feel.  With Deep POV, you weave in sights, scents and sounds while the characters dialogue. You get inside the POV character’s head.  You show action and dialogue while at the same time you learn the POV character’s emotional response to what is going on.

How to Master Deep POV

To do deep POV right, we have to leave narrative tags behind. Tags like “he said, she screamed/whispered/wondered/thought/cried” which without Deep POV are necessary evils and drag the reader out of the story reminding them that it is just a story. Sometimes they must be used for clarity, but rarely in deep POV. This works equally for comedy as suspense or straight romance or any genre. It automatically cuts down on adverbs. Deep POV involves using signature actions to identify characters, using only one person’s thought, but never saying “he thought”. Weaving emotion right through dialogue and action is the key to this emotional punch.

In order to get your reader to be able to identify with your character, you have to first identify with the your characters. I have found a fun way to do this. I interview my Interview my characters not only to separate myself from the character, but also so that I can identify with that character.  

Become Your POV Character

As time goes on, I become my POV character! Role-playing is a fantastic method to give real, true emotional depth to my characters. I do this all the time. Sometimes I’ll take a scene and look at it from inside every character’s head. I create soundtracks and signature of smells for my book, so that I feel I am in their world. I close my eyes and put myself right into the world where they are. I try lines for specific scenes and feel the emotion. I’ll then back up and look at the scene from just the viewpoint of POV character and have that character look at each of the other characters and notice how each of the other characters is reacting to the scene unfolding. Everything then is only what the POV character sees and feels during that scene in relation to what the other characters are saying and doing.

I have a new novel coming out later this year called The Tower of Babel. It is a departure from the Locket Saga because it is a contemporary suspense mystery. To set this scene up, our POV character is at a party where she learns that the man she is working with is friends with the family whose child she surrogated. She doesn’t want the man she works with to know about it.

Have you ever read a book in which you felt one with the point-of-view character? That’s what can easily happen when you are reading a book written in Deep POV.

From the very first page, the author drops you in the protagonist’s shoes, encouraging you to see their world and experience their journey through their eyes. It’s novels like these that are often so easy to consume, and deep POV makes many of them tick.

Parameters of Deep POV

Once you’ve taken the time to develop your characters, it is time to go even deeper into POV. Here are a few key parameters to keep in mind.

  1. Limit your character’s knowledge
  2. Cut filter words
  3. Limit dialogue and thought tags
  4. Show Don’t Tell
  5. Become your POV character
  6. Avoid passive voice
  7. Avoid character thought explanations
  8. Handle hide your POV character’s thoughts carefully
  9. Avoid having the POV character asking questions in his internal dialogue.
  10. Avoid having POV characters filling the reader in on story facts.

In most contemporary fiction, characters don’t speak to readers. They don’t acknowledge that they’re even there. If you want readers lost in your fictional world, you don’t want to do anything that reminds them they’re reading fiction. Once characters acknowledge readers, readers become distracted by story structure. The reader is no longer a participant but revert to being an audience. The reader sees more than the events of the story, he sees the framework and the individual pieces and loses the fictional flow.

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What is Deep POV?

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Deep POV is much like first person, but at the same time it is a third person form. However, unlike first person, we not limited to a first person narrator, but can bounce from one characters head to the next. However, we are limited to the thoughts, feelings, perceptions and guesses of a single narrator per scene.

In deep third person deep POV, we can get close to the viewpoint of the character’s heads. Like actors, as we’re writing, we can actually become the character.  In a distant third-person mode, we may be privy to few of the character’s direct thoughts, and those are always related in italics. We may rely more on their actions and speech to characterize and understand them. Often, we’re acutely aware of what the viewpoint character is doing, as if we’re watching them with a tight focus, and every once in a while we get a voiceover of his or her thoughts

In deep POV, the character’s thoughts can form almost a running commentary on the actions of the story. We don’t just get the occasional Direct thoughts from the viewpoint characters’ heads are interwoven with the narration. In very deep POV, those statements might not even be italicized.

The objective in deep POV is to not hear the author’s  but rather the character’s voice. The reader gets to step right into the character’s eyes.  It sort of reminds me of the movie, Being John Malkovich where everything is processed through the eyes of the character, in that case, the actor John Malkovich. We don’t see the character standing at the side of a ship, but we see what he sees while he standing at the rail. We experience what the character experiences ourselves.  It is a powerful and popular narration form.

I have been doing a lot more of this in my own novels, although for a long time I didn’t realize that the mode actually had a name. Deep POV mimics the way we perceive situations in real life. With a deep POV, the narrator only tells things that the POV character is consciously aware of. Here’s an example:


Traditional limited: Lacey heard the bill ring over the door. She wondered if Matthew had forgotten something.


Deep POV: The bell over the door rang. Was Matthew returning?


In the deep POV, the words heard and wondered have been removed. Why?


In real life, we don’t intentionally hear sounds and rarely recognize that we intentionally wonder about things. We are much more likely to simply acknowledge the sound for what it is  and make a judgment about it.

Ways to deepen Third Person POV.

When writing the original first draft, I will often write in present rather than past tense. Instead of saying she went into the bathroom, I write she walks into the bathroom and I give a detailed view of what she sees.

During my edits, I cut out tags. I get away from telling and into showing what is going on in my character’s heads. Sometimes, I’ll take a single scene and write the scene from each character in the scene’s viewpoint.

I become a psychologist to the characters. I ask them “How does that make you feel?” and then I write it down. The character may say, “I feel sad.” And I would ask why do you feel sad? And describe that feeling to me.” Then I write down what the character tells me. I then ask the character, ”How do YOU act when you’re sad?” In other words, different people act differently. How does this character act differently than others might? How is this character similar? On television, when a woman is depressed, she eats some sort of chocolate ice cream (like death by chocolate).

Why Use Deep POV

Deep POV connects the  reader more closely with the protagonist. The reader connects with the protagonist more emotionally. The author seems to disappear, providing a more interactive experience for your reader. Because the reader is emotionally connected to the character, the story provides a more interactive experience. When the reader is emotionally involved with your characters, they more easily relate to the characters and are more likely to buy subsequent books about these characters.

Deep POV DOs and DON’Ts

  • Give your characters a strong voice. Use dialect, exclamations, figures of speech, colorful metaphors, personal interests and hobbies.
  • Stay with one POV per scene.
  • Refer to the POV character for intentional actions (She dipped her hands into the cold pond and poured it over his head.)
  • Use pointing words, like this/that, here/there, and soon/later.
  •  Internalize everything. All details and descriptions come from the POV character’s observations.
  • Choose verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and comparisons that show the characters individual opinion and viewpoint.
  • Use “a” to show something that has just been noticed and “the” to show stuff the POV character already knew about.
  •  Limit dialogue tags. Use said only when necessary.
  • Don’t Refer to the POV character directly when showing judgments, feelings, or observations. (experience through the character instead).
  •  Don’t filter the POV character’s experience. Some examples of filtering words are: thought, felt, saw, heard, realize, watch.
  •  Do not use passive voice. The POV character is in the subject of the sentence or clause whenever possible.

I will definitely be doing more of this as I continue editing my upcoming books. How about you? Have you considered writing Deep POV?

Have you read The Locket Saga yet? So far I have three books out in the series. Get a Kindle copy at Amazon. Get a print copy from (or come see me at Faith in God Church or at one of my upcoming events!)

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at .

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