Don’t Let “The Rules” Of Deep POV Limit You by Lisa Hall-Wilson - Canada


There are a great many writers who LOVE rules. Rules. Rules. Rules. They rub their hands together and begin to salivate. Grammar rules. Punctuation rules. Structure rules. Genre rules. Templates. Formulas.

I’m not such a big fan of writing rules myself, generally speaking — so I’m only guessing here, but I suspect some writers love rules because it feels like there’s a greater chance for success. A gaurantee. If I follow all the rules then I will write a great book and scads of people will love my work. And, in all their varied wonder – rules aren’t bad.

Here’s What People Misunderstand About Deep POV

Deep POV is a tool. It’s a strategy. I have used a wrench to pound in a nail because that’s what I had within reach to get the job done, and it worked. If wrenches came with user manuals, would instructions for pounding in a nail with it be found there? Nope. But it worked because my goal was simply to get the nail in the wall RIGHT NOW.

Deep POV is all about creating an effect. It’s a strategy. The goal of deep pov is to remove the perceived distance between the reader and the character, so the reader is immersed in the story so they are living the story as it’s happening. Many, many books and blogs outline the basics of deep pov — and those basics are important, they’re necessary. (Many believe just learning the basics is enough, but there are so many interconnected threads to other writing tools that get filtered through deep pov — that deep pov adds depth and subtle hues to, the basics are just the tip of the iceberg.) However, a little bit of knowledge leads to frustration. You KNOW it’s not coming out on the page the way you want it to, but you don’t know how to fix it.

Just Knowing The Rules Of Deep POV Won’t Make It Work For You

Learn what effect “the rules” were teaching you to create. Once you understand how the tools are meant to be used, then you have an understanding of how to put them to best use for your story. If my goal is to put a nail in the wall, does it really matter what tool I use to achieve that in the end? No, not really (no matter what any perfectionist says). It’s a nail – no one is going to see it. All people will see is the picture I’ve hung on the nail.

Let’s look at removing the distance between the reader and the character in deep pov for example. Most writers struggle with this to some degree (particularly if you’re a big fan of classic literature where the omniscient pov was king), but in deep pov removing distance is taken to all new levels of intensity and it can be hard to grasp at first.

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