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.

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15 thoughts on “Writing craft musings and Brenda Novak

  1. emilysteezy

    As an automotive safety engineer, I find it a little traumatizing that you chose driving as your example of something that people don’t actually pay attention to. Maybe we need cars that drive themselves after all … 🙂

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    1. Nia Simone Post author

      Hello Emily,

      I don’t know where you live, but drivers are getting insane in “Silicon Valley,” California. People are distracted and on speed. Literally, even the horn barely wakes them up.

      Yes, we need those automated cars, please. We need to get our stressed-out type As on rails here.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

      Best,

      Nia

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  2. John Holland

    Deep point of view is an interesting concept. As a poet I think I try sometimes to describe events not only as how they are, but how they could of been. If not for. So to POV I’ll add INF.

    Great blog Nia.

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    1. Nia Simone Post author

      Well now, that is an intriguing nugget there, John! Thank you for the reminder to use imagination and for the poet’s perspective.

      INF… adding that to TTA (Things to Think About).

      Nia

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  3. Denise

    Deep POV is just as you describe and you have so many good points (watching for “feel,” “think,” “look”). The way you explained it here may stick with me now–ha!

    You are one prolific blogger, Nia. Need to catch up with all the earlier ones I missed. Keep ’em coming! db

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    1. Nia Simone Post author

      Thank you Denise! I’m glad you like it. Your book on copy editing (A Copyediting Checklist for Novelists) makes you an expert, in my book!

      <a href="” title=”” target=”_blank”>

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  4. Denise

    Rereading this post brings to mind a Margie Lawson teaching about cutting out all references to “walking the dog.” Just exactly what you described above (getting out of the car, walking from the car, etc.). Great minds think alike.

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    1. Nia Simone Post author

      Well if you would put me in the same class as Margie Lawson, I’m quite flattered!!!

      It is a learning process. Like I said, I learn in classes but it seems to be trial and error that I really end up learning.

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  5. kbvollmarblog

    Dear Nia,
    as a writer and psychoanalyst I would not agree that we live a psychological life. It is a kind of perception to see life psychologically since Freud published his “Interpretation of Dreams” in 1900 and it was then used perfectly well by Arthur Schnitzler as one of the first authors. There were authors who didn`t follow this perspective like Bert Brecht, he actually designed a theory of writing against this psychological perspective (his so called V-effect). Actually I think that this psychological was the perspective if the 20th century. The 21st century will overcome this onedimensional perspective I suppose. But in romantic fiction, as a conservative media by definition, it will survive for a long time.
    All the best.
    Greetings from the North Norfolk coast
    Klausbernd

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    1. Nia Simone Post author

      Dear Klausbernd,

      Thank you for your comment! I have to read your references before I could hope to reply. I think I’ll start by seeing what you have written. Fiction? That would be most interesting.

      If I can delve into all this, perhaps we can continue the discussion.

      Kind regards,

      Nia

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      1. kbvollmarblog

        Hi Nia,
        I did write fiction, popular non-fiction, film scripts and scietific books. But now I am interested in fiction only as I am priviledged to be able to live of my copyrights. I think it`s so much harder to live on writing fiction than non-fiction.
        Anyway, have fun reading and writing.
        All the best
        Klausbernd

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      2. Nia Simone Post author

        Hi Klausbernd,

        Yes, there is some truth to the quip, to paraphrase: “Some people can make a killing from writing fiction, but no one can make a living!”

        Thank you,

        Nia

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