EDITING KNOWHOW Creating a deep point of view

In her third post on editing, Xena Knox shows us how to get your reader up close and personal with your viewpoint character. 

Emotion is everything  - and a deep point of view will allow your reader to experience the story from deep inside your viewpoint character's (VPC) head, seeing, hearing, feeling, receiving and processing information through the VPC’s perspective. The character (and so the reader) lives the story as opposed to the character or narrator telling the reader the story using a standard POV. 

But using a deep POV doesn't mean that you have to be writing in first person. Look at these examples and consider how much closer to the action you feel using a deep point of view.

3rd Person POV: Something sharp dug into Sarah’s spine causing a flash of fear to course through her body. She heard a man’s voice say, ‘Move to the window or I’ll stab you.’ 

3rd Person Deep POV: A sharp prick at her spine, nerves needling, she froze. A voice growled said, ‘Move to the window or I’ll stab you.’ 

Why use DPOV? 

  • A deep point of view will create an affinity between the reader and the viewpoint character.
  • It will also heighten emotion, drama and fun
  • It allows you to filter a complex story with large cast through the perspective of a single conduit character 
  • The novel becomes a living, immersive experience with much more depth

The Principles of Deep POV 

Limited Knowledge 

Much the same way as a first person POV, a viewpoint character can’t know others’ intentions or feelings. They’re not omniscient (like a third person narrator) but they can speculate and misinterpret. 


If someone squints and scratches-their-head or rubs-eyes with heel-of-hand we recognise these as confusion or fatigue without needing written explanation. So have your VPC react to these cues characteristically both to progress the plot and to build intimacy with the reader. Perhaps your VPC reacts by swearing inside their head and snapping at the person head-scratching – signalling to the reader that incomprehension happens regularly and your VPC’s impatient. 

Inside-to-Outside View 

The story is always told from the VPC’s eyes looking out at the world. They feel themselves flush but can’t observe whether their skin turned pink or beetroot. Don’t break outside and look in on your VPC. 

Interior Life 

A deep point of view focuses on internal thoughts and visceral bodily reactions. Use internal thoughts realistically. No one thinks, 'I have to behead the gorgon, use her decapitated head to freeze my headmaster and break into his office to get my mobile.' Your VPC feels their guts cramp and their pulse throb in their throat in response to fear rather than thinking, 'I’m terrified.'

*Feature image credit:


Zena McFadzean aka Xena Knox is a self-deprecating Scot living between the Scottish Borders and Crystal Palace, South London. She loves writing gritty, humorous YA novels and is represented by Jo Williamson at Antony Harwood Ltd. Twitter Instagram: @XenaKnox

No comments:

We love comments and really appreciate the time it takes to leave one.
Interesting and pithy reactions to a post are brilliant but we also LOVE it when people just say they've read and enjoyed.
We've made it easy to comment by losing the 'are you human?' test, which means we get a lot of spam. Fortunately, Blogger recognises these, so most, if not all, anonymous comments are deleted without reading.

Words & Pictures is the Online Magazine of SCBWI British Isles. Powered by Blogger.