“Writing Deep Point of View” is the latest in Rayne Hall’s 13-book “Writer’s Craft” series, and it is out on Amazon Kindle. If authors think they know everything about PoV, this book will probably tell them something different. Posted here are the introduction and first chapter to give readers an idea of the attractive way this interesting and particularly useful material is presented. I will be writing a review of the book.
Do you want to give the readers such a vivid experience that they feel the events of the story are real and they’re right there? Do you want them to forget their own world and worries, and live in the main character’s head and heart.
The magic wand for achieving this is Deep Point of View. Point of View is a recent development. Victorian authors didn’t know its power. They wrote stories from a god-like perspective, knowing everything, seeing into everyone’s mind and soul. 20th century writers discovered that when they let the reader into just one person’s head, stories became more exciting and real.
If we take this one step further, and delve so deeply into one person’s mind that the reader’s awareness merges with that character’s, we have Deep Point of View.
Readers love it, because it gives them the thrill of becoming a different person. The reader doesn’t just read a story about a gladiator in the arena, an heiress in a Scottish castle, an explorer in the jungle, a courtesan in Renaissance Venice—she becomes that gladiator, heiress, explorer, courtesan.
Deep Point of View hooks readers from the start. After perusing the sample, he’ll click ‘buy now’ because he simply must read on, and when he’s reached the last page, he’s grown addicted to the character, doesn’t want the story to end, and buys the next book in the series at once.
A reader who has been in the grip of Deep Point of View may find other books dull and shallow. Who wants to read about a pirate, when you can be a pirate yourself? Immersed in Deep PoV, the reader enjoys the full thrills of the adventure from the safety of her armchair.
In this book, I’ll reveal the powerful techniques employed by bestselling authors, and I’ll show you how to apply them to rivet your readers. I’ll start with the basics of Point of View—if you’re already familiar with the concept, you can treat them as a refresher—and then guide you to advanced strategies for taking your reader deep.
This is not a beginners’ book. It assumes that you have mastered the basics of the writer’s craft and know how to create compelling fictional characters. If you like, you can use this book as a self-study class, approaching each chapter as a lesson and completing the assignments at the end of each session.
To avoid clunky constructions like ‘he or she did this to him or her’ I use sometimes ‘he’ and sometimes ‘she’. With the exception of Chapter 6, everything I write applies to either gender. I use British English, so my grammar, punctuation, spellings and word choices may differ from what you’re used to in American.
Now let’s explore how you can lead your readers deep into your story.
CHAPTER 1: FRESH PERSPECTIVES
Instead of explaining Point of View, I’ll let you experience it. Let’s do a quick practical exercise.
Wherever you are right now, look out of the window (or step out into the open, or do whatever comes closest). If possible, open the window and stick your head out. What do you notice?
Return to your desk or notebook, and jot down two sentences about your spontaneous observations.
You can jot down anything—the cars rushing by, the rain-heavy clouds drawing up on the horizon, the scent of lilacs, the wasps buzzing around the dumpster, the aeroplane scratching the sky, the empty beer cans in the gutter, the rain-glistening road, whatever. Don’t bother writing beautiful prose—only the content matters. And only two sentences.
When you’ve done this—but not before—read on.
Have you written two sentences about what you observed outside the window? Good. Now we’ll have fun.
Imagine that you’re a different person. Pick one of these:
- A 19-year-old female student, art major, currently planning to create a series of paintings of townscapes, keenly aware of colours and shapes.2. A professional musician with sharp ears and a keen sense of rhythm.3. An eighty-year-old man with painful arthritic knees which get worse in cold weather. He’s visiting his daughter and disapproves of the place where she’s living these days.4. A retired health and safety inspector.
5. An architect whose hobby is local history.
6. A hobby gardener with a keen sense of smell.
- A security consultant assessing the place where a foreign royal princess is going to walk among the people next week.Once again, stick your head out of the window. What do you notice this time? Return to your desk and jot down two sentences.
I bet the observations are very different! Each time, you saw, heard and smelled the same place—but the first time you experienced it as yourself (from your Point of View) and the second time, as a fictional character (from that character’s PoV).
You may want to repeat this exercise with another character from the list, to deepen your insight and practice the skill. If you’re an eager learner, do all seven. This will give you a powerful understanding of how PoV works.
Now let’s take it one step further: Imagine you’re the main character from the story you’re currently writing (or have recently finished). How would he experience this place? What would he notice above all else? Again, write two sentences.
Now you’ve experienced the power of PoV, this is how you will write all your fiction.
Repeat this exercise in a different place—perhaps when you have time to kill during a train journey or in the dentist’s waiting room.