Deep Point of View - Is it For You?


by Gloria G. Adams


As writers, we are often told that one of the most important things, if not the most important thing, is to keep your readers in the story so that they don’t close the book and never finish it.

To do this, we need to craft our story so that the readers relate to our characters.

There are many tools in the writer’s workshop by which to accomplish this: a strong hook, lots of sensory details, great descriptions (one of my favorites is Cynthia Rylant’s lost cat in her Henry and Mudge series who looks like “mashed prunes”), and, of course, “showing, not telling.”

Another tool that is used less frequently but can be quite effective, is Deep Point of View.

 Deep POV is written as if the reader is inside a character’s head. According to author, Lisa Hall-Wilson, “Deep point of view is a style of writing that aims to immerse the reader in the story so they share the character’s emotional journey as though it’s their own.” 

One way to accomplish this is to remove filter words like thought, wondered, saw, knew, realized that remove the reader from the intimacy of deep POV.

Instead of this:

I heard a dog barking in the distance and wondered if it might be Max.


A dog barked. Not close, but, could it be Max?

 Here’s another example:

                                                               Without DPOV:

           I think Shelly looks so pretty in the new pink tutu. It makes her look as delicate as a rose petal. But I know she’s not really pretty or delicate. After what she said yesterday, I realized she was as hard and unforgiving as a thorn.

                  With DPOV:

Shelly looks so pretty in the new pink tutu. Delicate. Like a rose. But she’s not pretty or delicate. The real Shelly is hard. Unforgiving. More like a thorn.

 But as much as it can take us inside a character’s head, DPOV can be limiting, and it doesn’t work for every story. Unless you have multiple points of view, or sections of narrative, you can only see everything from inside one person’s head. Even so, it’s fun to try out new writing tools, and, though challenging, practicing writing in Deep Point of View can be a great way to stretch your writing “muscles.”

To see how others use this tool, check out these books that use DPOV:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Wish by Barbara O’Connor

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

ROOM by Emma Donogue

 Learn more about writing in deep point of view from Lisa Hall-Wilson and the Deep Dive Author Club: