Sunday, February 5, 2012

Deep POV, as Opposed to -- What? -- Shallow POV?

This weekend, I read a book I wasn’t too impressed with.  Maybe that’s not so unusual, but I was surprised—the premise was great, it put an original spin on a classic story, and it had this amazing line on the cover: “Fantasy just declared war on reality.”  (I won’t tell you the author’s name, but his initials are Frank Beddor.) 
                  
So why didn’t it live up to my expectations?  Maybe a little of it had to do with style, but for the most part, it was because he had issues with head-hopping.  I know I must’ve read books with the same problem before, and maybe even to a larger extent, but this is the first time it’s actually distracted me—I guess I’m getting used to reading books that don’t head-hop.

That got me thinking, I guess, because I went through my notes on blogging points and found this stuff on deep POV:

1.      Go through and eliminate any instances of showing-vs.-telling. Look for “was”s and “felt”s, and figure out if they’re of the offending type, and if so, kill them.  No mercy.
2.     Remember, you can’t see anything your viewpoint character can’t see.  So she might hear the footsteps or feel like she’s being watched, but she knows something or has eyes in the back of her head, she’s not aware of the attacker behind her.  Same thing with the other senses and all kinds of information.  I think it’s easier to stick with this one with first-person POV, but that’s probably because that’s what I write with.
3.     Another thing I don’t like—adverbs on speaker tags.  (Besides them being outlawed anyway.)  Like when a character, who isn’t the MC, “says uncertainly.”  I know adverbs are evil anyway, but besides that, how does the viewpoint character know what the other character’s feeling anyway?  She doesn’t.  So the most you can do is pull a “he sounded worried.”

End of rant.

Anybody ever read any The Looking Glass Wars books?  I think I’m going to read on at some point, because of the aforementioned interesting premise and the fact that I find Dodge’s character growth development interesting.  Any deep POV tips to share? Anybody not hate Mondays?

22 comments:

The Director said...

Hm. Some deep thoughts, considering I've been analyzing my POV-ness lately ;)

I haven't read the Looking Glass Wars though, and I think Mondays could be worse for me, so I'm not complaining.

And unless I go sit in my room and think for a few hours, I don't have any deep tips xD

Thank you for the new thoughts to chew on! I feel I shall be OCD-ily analyzing my POV now, especially since I'm writing for the first time in 1st person....

Lynda R Young said...

Head hopping is an older style of writing. You'll find it in books written in the 80s or earlier. It's now very much a single POV thing and if you want multiple POVs then they have to be separated by chapters or scenes. Personally I don't mind head hopping as long as it's not in the same paragraph. It has to be done with caution. The single POV has it's own challenges because it can be rather limiting.

Imogen said...

Me! I don't hate Mondays. Mondays are good days. It's Tuesdays I hate.

Reading your post, a random thought popped into my head. I dream in head hopping POV. It's so annoying!

To deep POV, it's something I've been thinking about a lot recently. I'm just about to start a new novel, and I've been thinking a lot about POV views and deep POV. But I couldn't for the life of me remember how it worked. Thanks for the reminder.

Emily R. King said...

All great advice! I tend to tell first then go back and show later. It takes a few edits!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Mondays are generally not awesome, but I'm not a big hater...

I don't like head-hopping books. Maybe I'm a bit attention deficit, but I find it crazy distracting. I also like to become attached to my characters and it's hard to do if you keep moving out of their heads.

Clarissa Draper said...

I haven't read the books you've mentioned but I just love your tips. They are so helpful when editing.

Morgan said...

Interesting thoughts here... There are some writers that pull off the different POV brilliantly... (JR Ward comes to mind) where each viewpoint is wound so nicely with the story at large, & each view is so distinctly different. But head hopping done poorly? Ugh! It has disaster written all over it! I'm a fan of first person myself, so it's easy for me ;)

Deana said...

I am going through my manuscript this week and doing a big find an replace on things just like these. I agree totally:)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I have to agree with most of what you said, but I think adverbs have been unjustly villainized by a lot of people, especially those on dialogue tags. I think, so long as they're not relied upon, adverbs can be very helpful and useful things. Honestly, I get bugged more by a poorly-chosen verb like thundered or pontificated than an adverb. :)
Okay, sorry, I can rant about these things too, I guess. :D

Liz. R said...

I definitely hate Mondays. Getting up early after long lie-ins over the weekend...ugh. Awful.

I agree with most of what you said. I don't usually mind adverbs, but they definitely annoy me when there's one after every other line. "He said sympathetically" and "she retorted sarcastically" and all that - it's so unnecessary most of the time. On occasion, they can be helpful, but a lot of time the use of adverbs is abused and you just see them all over the place. Showing and not telling is definitely a big problem for me too (for most people!).

Jenna Cooper said...

I read those books. They go downhill after #1. I liked the first book all right, but the second and third ones sunk. The head-hopping increases each book.

Christa Desir said...

This is fantastic. I heard the term "deep POV" for the first time two years ago and now I see instances of it everywhere (and horrible head-hopping as well). I edit now and frequently make notes like, "How does he know his brother thinks this?" in my comments.
It's important. Good post.

The Golden Eagle said...

Aw, I loved The Looking Glass Wars. They're one of my favorite series.

I actually tend to like head-hopping. Seeing things from one character alone tends to get on my nerves after a while--one person can't see the entire picture, after all. What one might see as a positive others would view as a negative; something beneficial to the protagonist could be horribly detrimental to people surrounding them.

Great tips, though. :) Especially on show vs. tell!

Devin said...

I'm not much of a writer, so I can't comment from that perspective, but I do love to read! I always find it dissapointing when I take my time to read a book and then it fails to be memorable for me. I suppose no harm can come from reading "bad" books though, right? ;)
Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog! I love encouraging comments, especially from fellow Christians!
Lovely post!

alexia said...

It depends on whether the writer can pull it off or not. Sometimes I like just one perspective. But an author like Dan Brown can write great close third person for many different characters, and I love it.

Pk Hrezo said...

Those are the important rules to remember with deep POV. Making it more active and urgent, rather than passive is the big one.
I think some peeps just prefer one POV when reading stories.... i don't mind multiple if they're done well. It's jarring at first, but if the characters are each unique, I kind of like it.
Like The Help for instance.

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't read any of those books, but I agree with your tips.

I'm not in love with Mondays, but sometimes I like the energy of that day, from beginning the work week to the motivation to finish goals.

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't read any of those books, but I agree with your tips.

I'm not in love with Mondays, but sometimes I like the energy of that day, from beginning the work week to the motivation to finish goals.

Amie Kaufman said...

You know what's happening, right? You're starting to read like a writer! It's this subtle shift that takes place, and suddenly you realise you're less forgiving than you used to be, and what's more, you can actually pinpoint what you don't like. It's a blessing and a curse!

Toni Moxley said...

A bit of a random comment, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your blog. I have used your blog several times as a reference and/or a source of inspiration. And because of that I have nominated your blog for a Liebster Award, to let you know that even though you don't know everyone who reads your blog, they appreciate what you do.

http://www.literaryrebound.blogspot.com/2012/03/liebster-nomination.

:) Thanks again
Toni Moxley

Jill said...

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notebookfromtheheart.blogspot.com

paulinaczarnecki said...

Head hopping annoys me too. :)
~Paulina
www.paulinaczarnecki.wordpress.com