Best 5 Ways to Write Deep POV - Character Emotion - #WriteTip

Guide to Character Emotion

Not using the Deeper POV method often creates narrative distance. This means that the reader has been distanced, or in some cases, jolted out of the story by author intrusion. The more “telling” a writer does, the more distance they put between the reader and the story, and the less involved the reader will feel to what’s happening. 

For example, if you use a lot of filtering words, it takes you out of Deep POV (underlined):

SHALLOW: Shawn noticed that the sky looked dark, and he felt a chill.

DEEP POV: The sky darkened and Shawn rubbed his arms against the sudden chill.

Most writers struggle with writing a captivating story. The fastest way to improve your writing is by the use of the “Deep Point-of-View” technique, which can transform any novel from mediocre storytelling into riveting prose.

If you read a ton of fiction like me, you’ll notice “telling” words and phrases in almost every published novel, some more than others, but that doesn’t mean you should be lazy. 

I realize that some “telling” words are mandatory in narrative, but not when you are describing the character’s thoughts, emotions, or attitudes. Those should all be shown by using the Deep POV technique. And I think some writers get confused by the whole “show vs. tell” concept, and I admit that it used to confuse me, too.

Here are two quick ways to write in Deep POV (there are many):

1) To stay in close and personal (show, don’t tell) is to do this: try to reduce as many filtering references as you can from your writing. A few filtering “shallow” words are felt, saw, heard, smelled, and noticed, etc. which tell the reader what the narrator, felt or saw or heard or noticed instead of just stating it.

2) Naming the emotion is a bad habit that writers easily fall into, which focuses the storyline on “telling” rather than “showing.” Writers create narrative distance and author intrusion when they deliberately or unintentionally insert shallower POV and “telling” words into their scenes.

Examine these two examples. The first is written in Shallow POV with too many filtering words (underlined) and the second is revised into Deeper POV and includes a few of the five senses.

Simone saw the zombie shamble through the doorway. She felt frightened. It had green drool coming from its mouth and the sight made Simone feel sick. The bad smell coming from the zombie's body caused her to cover her mouth and nose. She looked around for a weapon. She didn't notice anything handy, and realized that she was about to be attacked. She swallowed a frustrated scream.


The zombie shambled into the room. Toxic green saliva dripped from its mouth and she backed up. Her heart rate tripled. A sickly putrid stench of decay rose from the drooling brain-muncher. Simone almost gagged, pinching her nose with one hand. Her gaze scanned the space. No guns. No real weapons. Think! Simone blinked sweat from her eyes and held back a scream. Rushing forward, she grabbed a baseball bat from the closet. On wobbly legs, she faced the walking dead. Game on.


When a writer doesn’t use Deep POV, it is called “telling.” Most new writers use shallow writing, because they are not applying the Deep POV method.

A few common “telling” words include: considered, regarded, wondered, saw, heard, hoped, realized, smelled, watched, touched, felt, and decided. To be clear, I'm not saying that shallower "telling" words should be completely eliminated from your manuscript. That would be impossible and make some of your prose become particularly awkward. 

There are a lot of different ways that you can apply Deeper POV to your own writing. My post only mentioned one technique, but like I said there are many ways to create Deep POV once you learn to master this awesome technique. 

These wonderfully insightful blog posts on Deeper POV might really help some of you to gain a much better understanding on how to use this amazing method in your own work:
Deep POV - What’s So Deep About It? 

For even more examples and ways to use the Deep POV technique, please check out the handbook Writer’s Guide to Character Emotion. It will explain how you can greatly enhance your characterization and includes tips and tools on how to submerge your readers so deeply into any scene that they will experience the story along with your characters. 

Also, read thee two amazing handbooks,"Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View" by Jill Elizabeth Nelson and "Mastering Showing vs Telling in Your Fiction" by Marcy Kennedy