Monday, October 22, 2018

The Deep, Deep POV

     Writing has its fads just like any other industry. For a while it was the Hero's Journey where each character had to have both an inner and outer reason for everything they did. Authors scurried to assign these motivations on charts before they wrote. For me, these things are revealed gradually and naturally as a book evolves and don't need to be spelled out. Trying too hard to do this actually damages the story.
     The latest is Deep POV (point of view). Only two characters are allowed to have any POV at all, especially in romance, only his and hers. A tree cannot fall in the woods if one of them is not present to remark upon it. A description of a smile experienced by the heroine might gush on for a full paragraph. Gone is the setting of a scene with description unless seen through his or her eyes. Otherwise, it is dubbed ambiguous. Who is seeing this? Well, my guess would be the folks in the next paragraph without having to add, she observed, said, etc.--"What a cloudy, miserable day."
     Every action must be propped up by several paragraphs of emotions. How did she feel about walking down that hall from one room to another? What did she see along the way? You know, sometimes, a walk down a hall is just a shortcut to the next scene, not a epic journey. Describing the tile underfoot, the vase of flowers, the doors passed simply slows the action to a crawl unless you are describing that passage for the first time as having some relevance.
     The reasoning behind all this is to intensify the experience for the reader and make them identify more strongly with the primary characters. If writing an intense romance, fine. If writing a story you want to be fast, light and fun, hauling along all these emotions slows it down to a crawl. Yes, your character should have feelings and motivations, just not doled out by the ton or repeated a dozen times.It has also been my personal observation that when people have sex, they surely have physical reactions, but if their minds are on their emotions, it is pretty bad sex as in "When will this be over?"
     I recently asked several people if they preferred deep POV. Heck no, they said. I skip all that stuff to get on with the story. All genres other than romance allow many characters to have a POV, the villain, the person about to get whacked on the next page of a Jeffery Deaver novel (big fan of his complex plots here). To me multiple POVs add to the story--but not all on the same page or at the same time. Give them their own chapter or scene and they work out just fine as long as there is a page break to set them apart.
      Okay, rant over. Simply tired of being told there is only one way to write and deep POV is it--for now.


  1. I couldn't agree more with everything you said.
    Oh, boy! Over description may slow tings down for others, but it puts me on edge! One young woman I know self-published a romance where she described every outfit the main character put on, and it was almost always the same T-shirt or sleeveless blouse and capris with flip flops, always in pink!She traded it in on dresses a couple of times, but they were also usually pink.
    I was just in a discussion the other day online about how it is actually possible to switch the POV and make it work.
    Also, PsOV are multi-layered; you can have a limited , first person POV where the reader is not privy to EVERYTHING that goes through the protagonist's mind.

  2. Thanks, Tonette. I am glad I'm not the only one who thinks deep POV can do more harm than good.I know I skip ahead when it gets too thick. As for pink--my least favorite color usually assigned to the character I don't like.