Best 2 Ways to Write Deep POV: How to Show Character Emotion - #WriteTip

Here are the Best 5 Ways to Write Deep POV and How to Show Character Emotion

Not using the Deep POV method (show vs. tell) 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 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 a Deeper POV to your own writing. My post only mentions one technique, but like I said, there are many ways to create a Deeper POV once you learn to master this awesome editing method. Plus, writers should learn how Eliminating Filter Words and Writing in Deep POV can enhance every scene.

Want to learn more ways to dig deeper and enhance your characterization? Read this blog post that I wrote HERE


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 bestselling, updated guidebook, The 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, I recommend reading these two amazing handbooks, 
"Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View" by Jill Elizabeth Nelson 
"Mastering Showing vs Telling in Your Fiction" by Marcy Kennedy  


  1. Thank you for the tips. I've recently decided to change over to this style of writing and am having a time of it. These tips are very helpful.

  2. So glad they helped to hone your writing skills. ;-)

  3. Hi Ms Soule,

    I've read many blogposts and the Marcy Kennedy book on Deep POV but I can't seem to find anyone who gives me specific titles to read. I would like to read a few books written in this style since I plan to write my third book in 3rd Deep POV.

    Could you give me a few specific titles? Preferably something thrillerly (not a word haha) or action packed like the Mathew Reilly books but really anything is OK as long I can feel deeply immersed in the story.



  4. Hi Neil,

    I'd love to help, but I don't read many "thriller/suspense" type adult books. Maybe someone else reading/following the blog can offer some suggestions.


    If you study the deep POV method and start applying it to your own writing, then you will grasp how to do it without having to read other fiction.

    These books might help: "Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View" by Jill Elizabeth Nelson: http://amzn.to/1gdSFBD

    “The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression” http://www.amazon.com/Emotion-Thesaurus-Writers-Character-Expression/dp/1475004958

    Also, I suggest reading both of these handbooks on writing Deep POV: “The Writers Guide to Emotion” and “The Writer’s Guide to Deep POV” Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017Y1KM2I

    Good luck!

  5. AnonymousJuly 06, 2016

    Someone please help me. No matter what I do the critics on Wattpad contine to get confused with the deep pov style I do. Please tell me am I doing it wrong?

    "So weak minded, what a shame." A strange voice said.

    Someone held her then placed her-she peaked-on a bed.

    She forced her body not to stiffen and jammed them shut. Is he gone?

    She bit her lip. Got to keep quiet.

    She cracked an eye open. Nobody was there. She pushed up slow every muscle opposed her. Where is this? She rubbed her forehead. Must have forgotten again.

    Please be honest, how bad is it?



  6. Hey Jessie,

    I don't think it is that bad...but it is hard to tell what exactly is supposed to be written in a deeper POV by these short snippets.

    Why don't you do this, email me and I'll do an edit on 3 to 5 pages of your current WIP to help you understand how to apply "Deep POV" to your own writing. Would that help?

    And also, read and study the books that I recommend in the post. ;-)

    Good luck!


  7. I actually find this very helpful. there are times where i find my writing to be quite shallow. reading this made me realize my short comings. thank you! :D

  8. Thank you for publishing this awesome article. I've been reading for a while but I've never been compelled
    to leave a comment. I've bookmarked your website and shared this
    on my Twitter. Thanks again for a really good post!

  9. I am writing my first story of my 9th grade year. Deciding POV, I stumbled on this post, which will probably improve my (I realize) shallow writing. This was very helpful! Thank you!


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