Over the past month I took an online class on writing deep point-of-view with Linnea Sinclair.
I’ve taken several classes with Linnea and they are, hands down, the best online writing workshops I’ve ever found. If you’re looking to improve any area of your craft, you can do no better than one of her classes.
One of the things she does with her homework assignments is to ask each student to begin by mentioning any ah-ha! moment they from that particular lesson. Here are a few of mine from the class.
- Deep POV is like spice–you add in a little to intensify the flavor. You don’t have to create an entire dish from it.
This was news to me. I always felt like if I did any “telling” rather than “showing” I was being a lazy writer. Not true. Deep POV is most useful for moments of great impact. Telling, on the other hand, is good when you want to pick up the pace or for events that aren’t significant enough to belabor.
- When writing a deep POV segment, consider using this formula:
- Action (i.e. stimulus)
- Decision (i.e. response)
In this formula, you may think of Action as Stimulus and Decision as Response. So if you were writing a scene where a she-demon walks into her apartment to find it trashed, it might go something like this:
Lilith opened the door of her quarters (Stimulus) and stopped short on the threshold. (Response) What the heaven? (Thought) In her once-cozy living room, her crimson sofa lay tits up, its velvet cushions vomiting their stuffing onto a torn Persian carpet. Behind the sofa, the intruder had dragged her books from the shelves and gutted each one, leaving the ripped-out pages piled like snowdrifts. (Emotion)
Notice that the emotion isn’t specifically called out, but resides in the way Lilith perceives the damage–the vomiting cushions and gutted books.
- When you’re writing internal dialogue in deep POV, use first person, present tense.
I wrote the next line in the above homework assignment as:
She grabbed her trident from the rack inside the front door. If the demon who did this was still here, he was about to get a lesson in respecting other people’s property.
Linnea suggested deepening it to:
She grabbed her trident from the rack inside the front door. If you’re still here, you bastard, you’re about to get a lesson in respecting other people’s property.
See how much deeper that takes us into the POV character’s head (and gut)?
What about you? What have you learned lately?