How to Write Deep POV – Tip #3

Tip #3 for writing in deep POV is this: Delete filtering devices, such as tags and attributions and distancing words like felt, thought, wondered, pondered, sawnoticedwatched, and decided.

A tag or attribution is an expression that denotes who is speaking; e.g., “he said,” “she said.” Instead of using these expressions in your writing, use a beat to illustrate an action.  For example:

Attribution:  “Come quickly,” Maria said, her heart racing.

Deep POV: “Come quickly.” Maria’s heart raced.

A filtering device is a device that distances the reader from the character. Words like felt, thought, wondered, pondered, saw, noticed, watched, and decided move your reader away from your character. 

Consider the examples below, both taken from my writing. The first uses a filtering device (the word felt) while the second uses deep POV:

She felt heartbroken. 

A sharp aching split her soul in two. 

In the first example, I am “telling” the reader “about” my character. In the second example, I am taking the reader inside my character.  My reader is experiencing what my character is experiencing.  Do you see the difference? 

Here is a little exercise for you to practice removing distancing words from your writing.  Take each sentence and convert it to deep POV.  Then share your results with us.

  • Michael felt angry.

  • Susan thought she’d be afraid when she saw Barry again.

  • Andrea noticed the wrinkles on her mother’s face.

I look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile, happy writing! 🙂

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2 thoughts on “How to Write Deep POV – Tip #3

  1. I totally agree, MaryAnn. We need to mix up tags and beats, though, or our characters will be twitching and jumping all over the page. 🙂 The thing is to choose the beat that will make the most impact. I’ve found that there are times when my word choices for dialog can convey more than using a beat. It’s a balance.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:46 AM