Writing craft musings and Brenda Novak

Deep point of view (POV) reflects life as we actually experience it, I think.

Deep POV was the last big hurdle for me before being able to write what I consider to be effective stories. (Whether other people consider them effective remains to be seen, but hope is on the horizon.) It took me years to get deep POV. I still struggle with it.

I recognize deep POV excellence in others. Brenda Novak is extremely good at it. In studying her and thinking about this craft issue this morning, going back over yesterday’s pages to get back into the story, and inevitably starting editing, I find myself mostly fixing non-deep-POV issues. On a micro level.

I think there are a few levels to deep POV. One is the avoidance of distancing words like “feel,” “think.” But even “look.” “He looked at the thing.” Deep POV just describes the thing.

Similarly, as a writer who had to make absolutely every possible mistake known to fiction writing, never learning anything the easy way like from a teacher or book of which I have many, I can say one of the things I struggled with in my early days and still do, is the idea that I have to describe the events of a novel sequentially.

He gets in the car, he gets out of the car, he walks across the driveway, he opens the door, he closes the door, he goes inside, he sits down, and finally he gets to have his thought.

When in reality what happens is, he doesn’t even think about all of those transitions. Who really thinks about what they’re actually doing while driving? This is how it is, sometimes unfortunately, like when somebody almost ran into us head-on in a parking lot the other day. Only leaning on the horn continuously for several seconds snapped the driver back to attention in time to  prevent an accident.

One goes through the motions of life, even those among us who aspire to be in the moment, lost in thought.

Begin the telling with the character in the thought, not in all the transitions through space of getting him into the scene where he will have the thought. This is what I’m learning.

On a philosophical level, I assert by being in deep POV, we’re actually reflecting more accurately the human experience. We live a psychological life.

Enough shoptalk. Back to the novel. Thanks for visiting.