Deep POV: an Alternative Version

What do people mean by deep POV? Based on everything I’ve read on the subject, deep POV is a form of hyper-showing, meaning authors must (1) convey the story through dramatic scenes and (2) make sure that the writing is not vague but specific to the mindset of the point of view character.

I previously blogged about an AuthorTube video on deep POV that not only defined deep POV but also provided some excellent tips on how to write in this mode.

Looking for more videos on the subject, I stumbled on Michele Sayre’s YouTube channel.  It was eye opening because what she means by deep POV is a little different from what most blogs I’ve read call deep POV.

In one video, called Deep POV- a Writing Workshop, she gives us a definition of deep POV, which for her is the “removal of the author’s voice and replacing it with the character’s voice.” The nice thing about the video is that Sayre provides examples from her own writing to illustrate what she means. You can see in her example scene (screenshot below) that her form of deep POV has little to do with hyper showing.

The happiness soaring through the character is vague. In traditional deep POV, that happiness would be anatomized. It would be described. Sayre’s aesthetic, however, is against description. In another video on deep POV called “Deep POV-Setting”, she refers to the problem of info-dumping setting, a problem I rarely encounter in my reading outside of high fantasy. Both this and the previous video argue in favor of description that is “short and sweet”. In one example, the setting is a “small London flat” and nothing more- which seems odd for a city that is so socio-economically diverse.

In her examples, Sayre’s storytelling often breaks out of what most would call true deep POV. In the example below, she slips in backstory about a jungle setting, which if done in proper deep POV, would have been conveyed through dialog. Maybe by two characters anticipating an attack.

Then she does it again in the next paragraph.

We neither see the two men’s resentment nor how they give the protagonist Jake and his partner, Patrick, a cold shoulder. Sayre isn’t hyper-showing. She is hyper-telling.

Sayre also doesn’t prohibit the use of filter words, one of the major don’ts when writing in deep POV. Recognize, saw, and heard all appear in her writing examples.

So, here is a whole another way of doing deep POV. Too bad it’s not so different from third-person limited.

As for tips to take away from her videos:

  1. Use only action verbs (limit use of “to be” verb forms)
  2. Keep the story moving (this will limit digressions into backstory or scene description)
  3. Limit description only to the character’s moment by moment existence and make sure it is important for the movement of the plot

I rate this video five stars.

Note: This video is a rare bit of writing advice that advocates for the adverb. Sayre uses adverbs for emphasis, although her video is vague about what she means by that. Adverbs don’t typically add emphasis; they usually modify and restrict the meaning of a verb or adjective. Unless she means adverbs like totally: as in the sentence, “After he emerged dripping wet from the sea and she got a good glimpse of his package, she totally wanted him.”

AuthorTube video star rankings:

1 Star Babbling

2 stars Too basic to exist

3 stars Uninformative but entertaining

4 stars Useful but not engaging

5 stars Highly recommended

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