10 Tips on Writing Character Emotion and Expression - #WriteTip #AmWriting


What is DEEP POV?

Deep Point-of-View (POV) is one of the best editing techniques that you can use to take your writing to the next level. This blog post will explain you how you can revise your weaker word choices and “shallow” sentences into stronger and more vivid prose.

What is 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 less attached the reader feel to what’s happening in the story.

Personally, I’m a character-driven writer, so I love being inside my character’s head. I want to experience their journey firsthand. Remember that a well-written story will sell itself but only if it’s written well.

A writer creates narrative distance (taking the reader out of the story or by reminding the reader that their reading a book) when writers insert weak verbs into their writing. Deep POV is a much more direct and intimate way to describe a character’s emotions, reaction, and actions. It will bring every scene in your novel instantly alive for your reader. And most importantly, it will keep you from using a lazy form of characterization.

Deep POV kicks writing up a notch or ten. The technique tightens, solidifies, and strengthens a manuscript. As a stellar side effect, many of those annoying problems with “show/don’t tell” will fade away like a bad memory.

You create a narrative distance when you consciously or unconsciously insert weaker words into your narrative. This issue is also known as author intrusion. In my early drafts, I use a lot of telling words too, but I try to weed them completely out before my final draft.

Once you start noticing them, they become easy to spot. And it becomes easier to stay in Deeper POV by revising your narrative by using stronger verbs.

Deep POV is when the writer immerses the reader so deeply in the character’s skin that any external narrator simply disappears. That is, the scene is not only told from that character’s perspective, but exemplifies the character’s thoughts, emotions and reactions, as well. In other words, it’s the ultimate way to show, not tell.

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.

Even for me “telling” words appear like crazy in my first drafts, so it’s natural to include them in your work. However, before you self-publish, send your manuscript off to literary agents, or post any of your fanfiction, you should always go back through your manuscript and revise as many weaker “telling” words as you can.

By adding detailed descriptions of characters emotions, thoughts, and actions, it will help the reader imagine the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of each scene and you’ll be able to take your writing to the next level of perfection!

So, don’t be lazy—describe the emotion!

We feel emotions, however; we use expressions to show them. When you are furious; your face gets hot and your voice rises to a higher pitch. That is how people around you know that you are enraged.

You don’t tell them, "I am so mad at you!" No, you display it through actions, gestures, and body language. That is how real people behave.

So, try to cut out all of those pesky shallow words that state the emotions such as: love, hate, joy, grief, sorrow, sympathy, trepidation, fear, anger, irritation, hope, etc. that creep into your writing and creates narrative distance. In general, "showing" will always be more wordy than telling, but a few extra words that immerse a reader into a story is worth it in my opinion.
  Want to learn a few great tricks for writing in Deeper POV?

Examples of weak “telling” words are underlined, along with examples on how to revise your sentences into Deep POV.
SHALLOW: I thought Tom was being a jerk.
DEEP POV: Tom was acting like a major jerk!
SHALLOW: Sammy felt the floor shake.
DEEP POV: The floor shook violently beneath Sammy’s feet.
SHALLOW: Katie realized that she had forgotten her keys.
DEEP POV: Oh, no! Where did she leave her keys?
SHALLOW: I saw the cat pounce on the mouse.
DEEP POV: The cat crouched, tail swishing. Then the feline pounced on the unsuspecting mouse.
SHALLOW: Reed heard her mom’s car pull into the driveway.
DEEP POV: Reed’s ears perked up at the crunch of tires on the driveway. Her mom was finally home.
SHALLOW: I noticed that Hayden was angry.
DEEP POV: Hayden’s fists curled and his face reddened. Ah, crud. He was coming this way!
SHALLOW: Sharon wondered if her daughter, Jill had passed her history test.
DEEP POV: Sharon frowned. I sure hope Jill aces that test!
SHALLOW: I decided to confront Zach during lunch.
DEEP POV: Instead of going to my usual table at lunch, I bypass my friends and their curious stares and storm right up to Zach.
SHALLOW: Max wished for a new bike more than anything for his birthday.
DEEP POV: Max put the ad for the bike in his mother’s cookbook. That should be a clear hint!

If you have questions, please leave a comment.

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