5 Pro Tips On Writing Description In Deep Point Of View by Lisa Hall-Wilson - Canada


Woop! Let’s give 2019 a giant kick out the door and welcome in 2020 with a bang! Beginning January 1st,  I am launching 30 Days Of Deep POV on my Facebook page, where I’ll be creating a video a day based on my 30 most popular blog posts (including guest posts) on deep point of view (t. Don’t miss out! Join the fun on Facebook!

I am continuing the Deep POV FAQ series and today’s question is: how do I add more pertinent details without boring my readers?

I get asked this A LOT concerning writing in deep point of view. I’ve blogged about writing description here and here. Here and here. But it is hard to know what you should expand on or cut way back, so let’s get super practical right now. Because to you – ALL the details are important. So how do you know what to keep and what to get rid of?

How Much Does The Reader Need To Know NOW?

Some details are important for the reader to know – to understand the story, but resist the temptation to deliver all of it at once. Ask – how much does the reader need to know RIGHT NOW to understand what’s going on? My personal rule for backstory is to answer one question and leave the reader with two more. Drip. Drip. Drip. Same rule applies here with description. Scene by scene, drip-drip-drip, ask yourself what information the reader absolutely needs to know to understand what’s going on right now. Does the reader need to know the history of THAT coffee table RIGHT NOW, or does the reader just need to know that there’s an interesting coffee table that catches her eye because right now something is more important to the character?

It’s better to deliver information to the reader through dialogue than a narrative passage, it’s more fun to read and is less likely to slow the pace. Think of the Immortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Clary knows nothing about the shadow world, about shadowhunters, so she’s always asking questions and needing things explained to her. Her questions deliver the information the reader needs to know to understand the story, but Clary couldn’t possibly know all the questions to ask in Chapter One. She has to keep moving forward and ask questions as they come up, on a need-to-know basis. That’s the best way to think of it. Keep the story moving ahead always.

For Those Who Love Flowery, Flowing, Descriptive Passages…

If this is you, probably you find that you have to edit out big sections of narrative (and it feels a bit like you’re gutting the heart of the story). First, you can’t fix something that isn’t written, so a pat on the back for getting the words down. That’s the first big hurdle.

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