How to write DEEP POV

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There seems to be a NEW type of point of view we can write in called DEEP POV. It's a variation of third person that has come into the spotlight in the past few decades, and it's the style many authors and readers prefer. I literally just found out about this a few days ago, so I'm teaching myself by writing this how-to. I highly encourage you to do your own Google searches of deep pov and learn from the masters.

So lets get down to business! What is deep pov? Deep pov is going even DEEPER than third person limited, and the narrator becomes the protagonist rather than standing at a distance and recounting what happens to the protagonist. The narrator's voice is the character's voice.

I'll repeat myself a lot, but I'm saying things in different ways. Find the concept that you understand the best and work through it that way in your writing. The article I referenced while writing this how-to is (linked to in the EXTERNAL LINK)


One of the biggest things about writing in deep pov is to avoid what is termed "filtering". Filtering is the use of phrases such as: he noticed, she felt, she saw, they heard, he remembered, she decided, she thought, he knew, they wondered, etc.

Example of filtering in third person: Darren swung his leg over his motorcycle and turned it on. He knew Annie didn't like him riding it, especially at night, but he decided he needed to clear his head.

Example of deep pov: Darren swung his leg over his motorcyle and turned it on. Annie didn't like him riding it, especially at night, but screw it! He had to clear his head.

What it means is when writing in a deeper pov (which tends to exclude the openings and endings of chapters where many authors choose to start distant and focus in deep and then fade into a more distant ending, but I digress) you want to show the reader the sensory information directly and let them come to the conclusion of what it means. But say "he realized it was a goose", and you're "filtering" all that sensory information and giving us a filtered conclusion. We don't want the filtered conclusion. The character is getting only the sensory information, and we want to experience it as he does. We don't want to hear his filtered conclusion, which happens after getting the sensory information. We want: "a meandering trail of feathers led up to the tiny animal curled up at the edge of the water. As he walked closer, it raised its slender neck and squinted at him--eyes beady and malicious. Damn geese. . . ." (fun fact: i got chased by a goose as a child and now I jump at the sght of them.)


Another example of filtering in third person: When Annie walked into her room, she saw Darren sitting on her bed with a biology textbook in his lap. He was so annoying. She knew he had nowhere else to go, but why her room of all places?

In deep pov: She walked into her room and cursed. Darren, that annoying douche, lounged on her bed with his feet up as if he owned it. He was actually being productive--reading his biology textbook--but just the sight of him made Annie's stomach churn. Why couldn't the FBI crash through the windows and take him out of her life for good? Annie patted her pocket where her cell phone was. One little phone call was all it'd take.


Using personal pronouns usually detracts from the immersive experience of the reader and reminds them that they are not the protagonist themselves. This overlaps with filtering--probably it's the same thing--but this is a different way to present it. Here's a guideline of generally when to use and when not to use personal pronouns.

With action sentences (where your character is doing something), personal pronouns should be used. Eg. He jumped out of the car and rolled onto the street.

With perception sentences (where your character remarks on something they've perceived), DON'T use personal pronouns. Eg. "Rock music blared next door." is a better choice than "He heard rock music blare next door." The latter is filtering.

With judgment sentences (where your character says their opinion about something), DON'T use personal pronouns. Eg. "The table was filthy" is a better choice than "He saw that the table was filthy." The latter is filtering.

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