My Passion's Pen

Helping to polish what your passion pens.

Archive for the tag “character”

Character development is mostly unseen

I spend a lot of my editing energy helping my clients refine their characters. And in my own writing I can never know too much about my characters. But readers don’t need (or want) everything about the inner and outer lives of our characters presented like a stenographer’s notes. It’s my belief that character is revealed through action on the page, but the motivation for that behavior is all off-screen. And motivation is the pulse of a story. That’s what keeps us turning the page.

We’ve all seen the iceberg analogy, and it’s one of the most universally true writing axioms: 80-90% of the story is behind the scenes and, in my opinion mostly embedded in characterization. Characters, though, are their own icebergs.

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Screenwriting guru Scott Myers explains here: “Screenwriting Tip: Character Work as Iceberg.”

Happy writing!


Tapping into your Writing X-Ray Vision with Deep POV

X-Ray Vision

Superman can see through walls and stuff. I always wondered what else he used his x-ray vision for… As writers, we have so many tools at our fingertips. Oftentimes, particularly in the early drafts, we grab the one that’s comfortable with finger grooves embedded. It feels good–almost second nature–to wield. Then there’s this new doohickey that is supposed to be life changing, but you just can’t get the hang of it. Your current project may not afford you the time to tinker and get a feel for this new tool, but I challenge you to keep trying. Make it a point to try new tools for your next WIP.

The tool I’m speaking of is Deep POV. It isn’t a “new” tool per se, but as I step out into a freelance editing career and investigate the business of self publishing and reading more self-pub’d books, I’m finding new genres (Interracial Romance is pretty sweet), new authors, and a wide range of interpretations of point of view (POV).

I’m a huge fan of third person POV. That vantage point flows easiest for me when writing, but it also makes for a deeper connection (when used effectively) when reading. The last few books I’ve read have been self-published IRs, and despite interesting premises and characters, the delivery lacked depth. Most of the books I read were third person POV, but the authors, in my opinion, didn’t use the view to even a fraction of its potential. I find many first person POVs lack depth, as well.

When I read, my first awareness is of tone. Am I being “talked at”? Am I being told a story as opposed to experiencing it? Regardless of the capacity that I’m reading (for pleasure, beta reader, or developmental editor), I always am keenly aware of my and the narrator’s connection to the characters.

When I write, I become whatever character my narrative is trained on. Two of my favorite writing bloggers teamed up for this post: 4 Tips to Solve 99% of Your Writing Problems — Guest: Janice Hardy by JAMI GOLD on OCTOBER 3, 2013 As the title says, mastering point of view will solve most of your writing problems.


Here are some of the best explanations of Deep POV that I’ve come across:

“Another term for “Deep POV” is limited Third Person. It’s a technique that infuses Third Person POV with the intimacy of First Person

Unlike “ordinary” Third Person, limited Third Person does away with dialogue tags and verbs such as see, notice, understand, feel, realize and think, which suggest “telling” as opposed to “showing.” ” Deep POV by Maeve Maddox. Daily Writing Tips March 2009

“…readers see scenes through the viewpoint character, feel story events as that character does. What that character sees, the reader sees. What the character feels or thinks, the reader knows.

And the reader knows automatically that what is being reported are the thoughts and feelings and the intentions of the viewpoint character.” Deep POV—What’s So Deep About It
on November 16th, 2011 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on February 1, 2012

“…POV is the character’s perspective through which the reader sees the scene. Some authors liken it the lens of a camera. Whoever is holding the camera is the person whose view we see.

Deep point of view is when the writer immerses herself so deeply in the character’s skin that any external narrator disappears. That is, the scene is not only told from that character’s perspective, but embodies the character’s thoughts and feelings as well. In other words, it’s the ultimate in showing, not telling.

Needless to say, the deeper you delve into a character’s head, the more effectively you hone in on a scene’s emotion. …good POV has an organic quality that is best created by not thinking. For the emotion to be authentic, it must be felt, not thought.” Tips on Writing Deep POV by Barbara Wallace. Romance University June 2013

“Delete from your mind the name we give to an emotion and force yourself to describe it. It’s a lot like miming or playing that old party game Taboo. What physical movements would show the emotion without naming it?

Example: Anger

He felt angry. 


He narrowed his eyes, curled his lip, and restrained his tensed muscles from hurling his fist into the wall.

This is also true when describing the character’s thoughts.

Example: Love

He realized he was in love with her.


He closed his eyes and heard her gentle voice calming him. Felt her in his arms. Her lavender scent made his head spin and filled him with the belief he could do anything if it meant being with her. ” WRITING HELP: FOUR TIPS FOR WRITING DEEP POINT OF VIEW BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, APRIL 19, 2011 

For a more technical take, give this article a read. A Checklist for Deep POV (1st and 3rd Person!)

I look forward to what the authors I work with and their colleagues create as they sharpen their storytelling skills.

Happy writing!!


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