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Thread: Deep POV

  1. #1
    Just keep swimming Keithy's Avatar
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    Deep POV

    OK, I like writing deep POV rather than ordinary (shallow?) POV. Oftentimes I feel there is no point doing any other sort of POV. I don't like all this "he saw" and "he realized" and suchlike.

    Am I right to do so? I want my writing to be my characters, not be a report on what the characters are doing.

    Or could it get tiresome?
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  2. #2
    Wherever I go, there I am. indianroads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keithy View Post
    OK, I like writing deep POV rather than ordinary (shallow?) POV. Oftentimes I feel there is no point doing any other sort of POV. I don't like all this "he saw" and "he realized" and suchlike.

    Am I right to do so? I want my writing to be my characters, not be a report on what the characters are doing.

    Or could it get tiresome?
    I hope you're right, because I write the same way.

    Lately most of my work is SciFi, and within what I've read, 3rd limited is most common... but my limited is really close, and I like it that way.

  3. #3
    It's all symbolic. Night_Writer's Avatar
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    This is something I struggle with understanding. What is the difference between Close and Limited third person POV? Is there a way to sum it up briefly?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night_Writer View Post
    This is something I struggle with understanding. What is the difference between Close and Limited third person POV? Is there a way to sum it up briefly?
    From my understanding, Close Third Person focuses on the voice of the POV character, while Limited Third Person focuses on narration through the POV character. Someone with more knowledge on this topic is free to correct me.

    As to the OP, I love writing in Close Third Person. I write very character-oriented, so Close Third Person is the best approach to writing voice and character. It definitely feels more intimate than Limited Third Person, which feels too detached.

  5. #5
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    With POV, the deeper you get, the more of your characters you reveal. So it can be used as a way to improve your pacing--by withdrawing a little in terms of how deep you go, you can speed up the pacing of your text. It's very effective when done well.

    My preference is for deeper POVs. I love the intensity and intimacy that this style of writing creates.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keithy View Post
    OK, I like writing deep POV rather than ordinary (shallow?) POV. Oftentimes I feel there is no point doing any other sort of POV. I don't like all this "he saw" and "he realized" and suchlike.

    Am I right to do so? I want my writing to be my characters, not be a report on what the characters are doing.

    Or could it get tiresome?
    No idea what an ordinary POV is. What you mentioning "he saw" and "he realized" is not POV but filtering it has nothing to do with depth more to do with being a barrier. Filtering is like everything else in writing once you've mastered not using it you can judge when to apply or not. POV is a POV and you decide how deep into the character psyche you go. You can zoom in and out as required.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW pingle's Avatar
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    https://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisi...to-use-it.html

    Someone shared this recently (not on here) and I found it useful, though it is referred to as psychic distance. I'm presuming this is the same as depth.

    I dip in and out. I love really deep, meaningful, reflective moments, but at times I want the pace to speed up. I reckon really close can work, but to keep it up the whole way through a book is unusual and probably requires real skill.

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    So now I am totally confused with the whole issue of POV.

    Can anyone recommend some books that use the variety of POV's you are talking about and let me (us) know what POV it is using?

    I am more of a visual person. I need to see it in action, I need to read it to understand it. Explanations and definitions rarely do it for me. If there is an expert on POVs and how to use them, then please, give us a crash course on them with some examples.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheListener View Post
    So now I am totally confused with the whole issue of POV.

    Can anyone recommend some books that use the variety of POV's you are talking about and let me (us) know what POV it is using?

    I am more of a visual person. I need to see it in action, I need to read it to understand it. Explanations and definitions rarely do it for me. If there is an expert on POVs and how to use them, then please, give us a crash course on them with some examples.
    I feel the same way about explanations and definitions, ditto all the discussion on a writing topic, such as POV. May I suggest you put up a chapter or two in Share Your Work, explain you are aiming for close POV, and enjoy the feedback.

  10. #10
    Where have the last ten years gone? Bufty's Avatar
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    This close/shallow/deep etc., POV thing always leaves me cold.

    The basic type of POV that is chosen (be that First or Second or Third or Omniscient) is chosen because it seems to the writer to be the best POV to use to connect with a reader and get the desired images across.

    Once that decision is made, the depth of POV is something- to me at least- that is not even considered.

    A POV either works or it doesn't, and depending upon the type of story the POV can either get deeper/close in on the character and their emotions or move out, as dictated by the changing needs of the unfolding story.

    Every unfolding story has varying degrees of closeness or deepness or whatever and that is just the way stories - and life - work. As writers, we would naturally close in or focus more on a character's feelings and emotions during a stressful or emotional scene and move out in other less stressful moments - without having to decide in advance to do that.

    I may be wrong and I may be alone, but I don't think 'depth of POV' per se is anything to get hung up on.

    Focus on the story.

    'He saw' 'He realised' etc., has nothing to do with POV- it's filtering stuff through the narrator, very often explaining things to the reader instead of maintaining the illusion that the reader is experiencing what the POV character is experiencing, and a bad habit if not controlled. If something is mentioned it is automatically assumed the POV character saw it or has seen it- otherwise it couldn't be mentioned. Same for 'realised'. Not always- but care should be exercised when using filtering phrases.
    Last edited by Bufty; 06-27-2019 at 08:28 PM.
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  11. #11
    Wherever I go, there I am. indianroads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    This close/shallow/deep etc., POV thing always leaves me cold.

    The basic type of POV that is chosen (be that First or Second or Third or Omniscient) is chosen because it seems to the writer to be the best POV to use to connect with a reader and get the desired images across.

    Once that decision is made, the depth of POV is something- to me at least- that is not even considered.

    A POV either works or it doesn't, and depending upon the type of story the POV can either get deeper/close in on the character and their emotions or move out, as dictated by the changing needs of the unfolding story.

    Every unfolding story has varying degrees of closeness or deepness or whatever and that is just the way stories - and life - work. As writers, we would naturally close in or focus more on a character's feelings and emotions during a stressful or emotional scene and move out in other less stressful moments - without having to decide in advance to do that.

    I may be wrong and I may be alone, but I don't think 'depth of POV' per se is anything to get hung up on.

    Focus on the story.

    'He saw' 'He realised' etc., has nothing to do with POV- it's filtering, and a bad habit if it's done without thinking.
    The following is just the opinion of a hack writer.

    The POV for the tale, Omni or 1st or 3rd usually (I've heard of 2nd but can't recall reading any) is chosen based on A) what the writer is comfortable with, and B) the best way to illustrate the story. In my reading, 3rd is the most common, but that doesn't mean it's best, however, readers may take to it easier due to its familiarity.

    When considering depth, I like the term psychic distance, the closer I am to the character, the more intimate / visceral the story becomes. However, depth shouldn't be constant throughout the story, instead it moves in and out depending on what's going on. If you're writing a combat scene, you can't get too deep into your character's head - because that's really not where they are at the moment because they're relying on muscle memory and instinct to stay alive. Conversation is often the opposite - people spend a lot of energy while 'listening', they're analyzing what's being said, considering their reply, and picking up on non verbal cues.

    Filtering (she wondred, thought, realized, etc.) increases distance between the reader and the MC, and is something I avoid as much as possible.

  12. #12
    Writer, reader, rider...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keithy View Post
    OK, I like writing deep POV rather than ordinary (shallow?) POV. Oftentimes I feel there is no point doing any other sort of POV. I don't like all this "he saw" and "he realized" and suchlike.

    Am I right to do so? I want my writing to be my characters, not be a report on what the characters are doing.

    Or could it get tiresome?
    Many writers take that approach. Nothing wrong with it.

    There's also nothing wrong with changing up the psychic distance from time to time. In fact, in certain instances, such as when summarizing (telling, rather than showing), a zoomed-out approach might be more appropriate. I'm not talking about going omniscient; even in first-person POV, there will be times when the narrator is summarizing or will otherwise not be relating the story from a deeply internal place. It can be the same with third-person limited.

    ETA: I like what Bufty said here:
    Every unfolding story
    has varying degrees of closeness or deepness or whatever and that is just the way stories - and life - work. As writers, we would naturally close in or focus more on a character's feelings and emotions during a stressful or emotional scene and move out in other less stressful moments - without having to decide in advance to do that.
    Last edited by BethS; 06-28-2019 at 01:49 AM.

  13. #13
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    This close/shallow/deep etc., POV thing always leaves me cold.

    [...]

    A POV either works or it doesn't, and depending upon the type of story the POV can either get deeper/close in on the character and their emotions or move out, as dictated by the changing needs of the unfolding story.
    So true.

    All of Bufty's post is spot on, but those are the highlights for me.

  14. #14
    Just keep swimming Keithy's Avatar
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    I think I now really get what deep POV is - I was doing it without knowing that I was doing it. It's more to do with steering the narrative towards what the character would do and think about the situation, not just dialogue.

    So, I'll keep on deep diving.
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  15. #15
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    I think there's a balance to be found. I like a tight/close 3rd person POV, but it can become too tight. As an example - and I shall probably be strung up for heresy for this - I would cite Hilary Mantel's critically acclaimed Wolf Hall.

    Now I'm a Tudor tragic. Show me the Tower, a Henry, a Mary, an Elizabeth, give me a good beheading and I am your puppy dog. So I shelled out for the actual hard copy of this book and sat down to read with a genuine thrill of anticipation.

    Disappointment. Major.

    The book is written in a 3rd person POV so tight that it should have actually been written in the 1st person. 99% of the time, the protaganist is simply referred to as "he", and almost all of the supporting characters are also "he". I found it all but impossible to follow - and I am intimately familiar withe subject matter. Do you know how many possible interpreations there are of a simple sentence like "He gives him his journal"? (Yes, it's all present tense too...not usually my favourite thing).

    Yes, I'm saying Wolf Hall was poorly written. The POV was so jarring and confusing that I sadly had to give up on the book halfway through - which is something I haven't done since George Martin murdered Robb Stark...(Thank God for TV serials)

    I fully accept that the critics loved this book, so doubtless I am wrong because we all know the critics are always right. I am possibly in a minority of one here.

    I guess my thought/advice/suggestion is to handle tight 3rd person POV with extreme care. For pity's sake throw in some character names from time to time. "Edward gives Thomas Henry's journal" is infinitely more helpful. (And "Edward gave Thomas Henry's journal" is better). You don't want to force your reader to flick back 3 pages just to find out who the heck is talking to whom!

    I'll stop now. Perhaps I should have another go at the second half of the book. Oh, how I would love to be Hilary Mantel's editor!
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  16. #16
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    I definitely dip in and out, but I don't think there's a right or wrong one way unless it's too extreme for the pace of the story! I do sometimes have to go back and add some more of my character's feelings, though—my most common critique is that they don't get a sense of how my MC feels about certain situations.

  17. #17
    Where have the last ten years gone? Bufty's Avatar
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    Happy diving, Keithy, but remember one has to surface for breath And beware of getting carried away into that potentially irritating area of pronoun overuse mentioned by DMakinson in post#15.

    Focus on the story. Remember your readers, and aim for clarity and flow.

    Good luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keithy View Post
    I think I now really get what deep POV is - I was doing it without knowing that I was doing it. It's more to do with steering the narrative towards what the character would do and think about the situation, not just dialogue.

    So, I'll keep on deep diving.
    Last edited by Bufty; 07-02-2019 at 03:25 PM.
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  18. #18
    Where have the last ten years gone? Bufty's Avatar
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    Hi, Bridgen.

    You cannot compare Close and Limited as you have done.

    The 'Limited' in the phrase Limited Third Person POV has nothing to do with however the writer chooses to write using that POV.

    If you choose to write using Third Person Limited POV, the 'Limited' simply means the POV is 'limited' at any given time (be that a scene/chapter/or the whole novel) to that of a single chosen character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridgen View Post
    From my understanding, Close Third Person focuses on the voice of the POV character, while Limited Third Person focuses on narration through the POV character. Someone with more knowledge on this topic is free to correct me.

    As to the OP, I love writing in Close Third Person. I write very character-oriented, so Close Third Person is the best approach to writing voice and character. It definitely feels more intimate than Limited Third Person, which feels too detached.
    Last edited by Bufty; 07-02-2019 at 02:46 PM.
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  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bufty View Post
    Hi, Bridgen.

    You cannot compare Close and Limited as you have done.

    The 'Limited' in the phrase Limited Third Person POV has nothing to do with however the writer chooses to write using that POV.

    If you choose to write using Third Person Limited POV, the 'Limited' simply means the POV is 'limited' at any given time (be that a scene/chapter/or the whole novel) to that of a single chosen character.
    Thanks for the clarification, Bufty! I'll definitely keep this in mind
    Last edited by Bridgen; 07-03-2019 at 01:11 AM.

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