Great Lesson About POV

I spent a little time this past weekend catching up on my emails and blog subscriptions. I am always behind, and sometimes the only thing I can do when I get overwhelmed is delete the lot of them. I’m glad I didn’t this time—what a treasure trove!

My favorite post came from Writer Unboxed a collaborative blog including some heavy hitters in the industry, including Donald Maass. Julia Fierro (author of The Gypsy Moth Summer) wrote the article that caught my attention, “Three Tiers of Point of View Technique: Observation, Interpretation & Imagination.” Julia defines “get closer to your character” and “every detail should work hard” and presents three different ways to show your reader what’s going on in your character’s head and heart.

I’m not going to rehash the entire article here, because you really need to read it yourself. (Yes, I feel strongly enough about it to use “really” in italics.) But here’s a clip I wish all my clients could understand:

Observation is the most superficial POV technique. Even a young child can observe. The air is cold. The teacher is angry. It is raining. It is important for writers to remember that observations are general—they tell instead of show—and don’t reveal what the character is thinking and feeling uniquely.

When Julia edits, she says, she marks certain things as “too info-only.” My clients can expect to see the same words in the future when I see something that is “too info-only” in their works.

Everything—all external stimuli—is filtered through our aggregation of experiences, memories, feelings, attitudes, beliefs. Everything. And Julia shows how to use that aggregation to deepen POV and draw the readers to the characters.

So forgive me my laziness of not coming up with something new and unique for my blog (since last Monday—sorry) and go peek at Julia Fierro’s article. You’re may have a light-bulb experience.

Let me know what you think.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Authors, write tips, Writing, Writing Tips and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Great Lesson About POV

  1. Wow! That article was insightful. I’m going to give my words a closer look as I finish up my latest WIP.

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  2. Stacey Lynn says:

    Amazing content and thanks for pointing us in that direction. This is JUST what I needed to battle through a couple scenes of my upcoming novel. I was starting to think I was losing my touch! 🙂

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  3. Janet Kerr says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Linda. This is a universal problem with many novice authors. They’re only concerned with what’s going on at the present time. Nothing—life experiences, jobs, hobbies, likes, dislikes—affects how they interpret their immediate situations. For instance, if a character had been in the army, the writer could use that piece of information to give the reader more insight into the character. Maybe his girlfriend’s pushing him to buy a green shirt. He could say, “After ten years in the army, the only thing green I’m interested in is money.” This tells the reader several things about the man: he doesn’t like green, he’s materialistic, and he’s a bit cynical about the time he spent in the service. Instead of making an analogy, authors tend to have the character say something such as “I hate the color green.” It’s just a flat, boring statement. There’s nothing to make the character memorable or relatable.

    By passing this information along, you’ve done a big service for lots of authors today. Bless you! I look forward to reading the entire article.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. K.M. Weiland says:

    That’s great! That’s something I’m really working on in my WIP, as well–evoking character without being info-only.

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  5. Great information! Now I am excited about checking my current wip for better POV. It will be a lot of fun, especially since this story is more complex POVs than I’ve tried before. I have TWO serial killers. (Don’t ask how I arrived at that, but it works! At least I think it does…) Anyway, this has come at a perfect time!

    Thank you again for your tips. I even signed up for their emails. 😀

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