Deep POV: Great Tips to Implement

Posted on Apr 5, 2024

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Written by Sarah Rexford

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Deep POV is one of several different points of view writers can use to communicate their story. Whether you choose to write in first or third person point of view, or even multiple, you can employ deep POV to connect with your readers.

But what exactly is deep POV, how do you use it in your writing, and what are famous examples? I cover all of this, and more, in this article. Let’s find out why.

Deep POV: what you learn

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What is deep POV?

Deep POV (or deep point of view) is a viewpoint in which the writer uses language in such a way that the reader experiences the story through the protagonist’s viewpoint. This point of view rids the story of an outside narrator. It also breaks down barriers between the reader and the main character

In addition to these different aspects, deep POV takes the “less is more” writing rule seriously. Rather than add to your word count to tell your reader what’s happening, deep POV cuts out the need to use additional words. Because the readers are essentially inside the protagonist’s head, they don’t need the story explained to them.

Rather than spend time telling the story, writers focus on showing the story exactly from the viewpoint of the main character. 

It is important to note that you can use this POV when writing multiple points of view. Maybe you write all your odd chapters in your protagonist’s POV and your even chapters in your villain’s. While readers and authors often associate deep POV with one key character, you can use it in various viewpoints. 

How to write it: 3 tips

Once you master how to write in first person or third person, you’re already one step closer to writing in deep POV. Follow these steps as you walk through trying this viewpoint. 

1. Get to know your character

One of the key aspects of mastering deep POV is to fully develop your character. Gain a thorough understanding of your character. This understanding helps you write how they would actually respond to events, rather than guess or narrate. 

Consider the following: 

  • Write dialogue as your character would talk 
  • Notice what your character would notice
  • Include (relevant) internal monologue in the self-talk of your character 

When writing from this point of view, take note of your character’s primary traits, characteristics, likes, dislikes, etc. 

2. Focus on curiosity 

Have you ever walked into a room and wondered why everyone suddenly silenced? I bet your character has too. As the author, you know why a specific situation happens, but your protagonist often doesn’t. 

Choose to be curious about your story rather than rely on your knowledge as the author. Remember, in deep POV you can only include details your character knows or experiences.

3. Resist the urge to narrate 

Deep POV shows what happens rather than tells what happens. This means that the voice of the narrator no longer exists.

Rather than say, “The thunder caused her to jump,” try to cut the narrator’s words: “Thunder followed the lightning. She jumped.” 

What are famous examples of deep point of view?

Deep POV often takes place in first person point of view, so let’s look at a few famous examples from well-known authors Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. 

*Spoilers.

Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins

“Haymitch doesn’t say so, but I’m sure this is why he doesn’t like to sleep in the dark.”

This example shows the following: 

  • Katniss notices what Haymitch doesn’t say
  • Her private assessment on the reason behind his choices  

Imagine this line without deep POV: “Haymitch doesn’t say anything. His silence causes me to wonder if this is why he doesn’t sleep in the dark.”

I think I can generalize that in real life, we don’t narrate our own thoughts. We notice something and respond by thinking or acting. Collins’ sentence does this from Katniss’s POV. The second sentence that I wrote does not. The voice of me, the narrator, intrudes. 

Divergent: Veronica Roth

“If he wasn’t Abnegation, I’m sure the girls at school would stare at him. He also inherited my mother’s talent for selflessness. He gave his seat to a surly Candor man on the bus without a second thought.”

Here, Roth shares the protagonist’s thoughts on what she sees and knows:

  • She knows her brother is Abnegation 
  • She assumes, based on what she sees, that the girls will stare at him
  • She has watched him act selflessly 

You may wonder about the last phrase of the third sentence, “without a second thought.” How can Tris, the protagonist, know her brother didn’t have a second thought? 

While she isn’t inside his head and therefore can’t know for sure, she can speculate on what she sees, which is the uniqueness of deep POV. If her brother gave his seat to a man she thought of as “surly” without a second thought, he must have given his seat quickly, almost immediately.   

Errors to avoid in deep POV

Just as there are errors to avoid when describing your scenes or plotting your story, there are errors to avoid in deep point of view as well. Here are a few key errors to keep in mind.

Avoid strictly thinking your story

You should maintain your point of view throughout each scene, but this doesn’t mean you should only rely on your character’s internal monologue. Stories with little to zero dialogue quickly bore readers. 

Use internal monologue when it adds to the story and characterization. If you have to wonder, “Does this help my story?” you may want to cut the inner monologue.  

Avoid using too many points of view

Years ago I sat down with a New York Times bestselling author who told me my would-be fierce, male warriors’ dialogue/monologue sounded like a young woman’s. I wrote these characters as a sophomore in high school, before I learned about point of view or writing rules. She was right. 

The voice of my characters reflected me, the writer, not the characters themselves. 

When first trying deep POV, stick to one or two (ideally one) viewpoints. Once you nail your character’s voice, you can consider adding another character’s viewpoint to your story. 

You can use these writing prompts to inspire a scene or short story. Test out writing different characters. See which character you more naturally write in deep POV. 

Avoid writing without research

If you choose to write your memoir or autobiography in deep point of view, you will likely do a fantastic job. However, if you write a protagonist other than yourself, be sure to do the appropriate research.

How would your character:

  • Talk
  • Think
  • Respond

This will help you craft characters that seem real, relatable, and ring true. 

Take your next step today

While there are many narrative types, this specific type of point of view is unique as you’ve seen explained in the sections above.

Are you ready to use deep point of view and finally write your book? This free training will help you. Click on the resource below!

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