A humbling moment indeed. Someone amazing who will remain unnamed told me that my writing lacks “deep POV.”
I have read a number of books on writing, and listened to a number of podcasts, but I had never encountered this term before. I knew that “POV” means “Point of View,” and I knew that you need to avoid head-hopping. That is, always write from one character’s point of view. If needed you can switch heads between chapters, but never jump from one person to another in the same scene.
But “deep POV” was a new term for me, and when I googled it I found articles about it from 2011. It is not a new term, and as I realized what it is, I also understood that I have read a lot of books like this. And now I got the inside information on why they captivate me so, and how to do it myself.
Essentially it is a bunch of techniques that makes the reader feel the story from inside a character’s head.
In my rewriting I am working on chapters 23 and 24. I picked up chapter 23 and started to rephrase it according to deep POV standards. And wow. This is powerful. It is not easy to write like this, but when it works, it’s amazing. My protagonist is in a life-or-death situation at the start of the chapter, and getting “under her skin” made it so much more powerful.
Another thing I changed was the setting. I recently heard an interview with Joe Hill on the Bestseller Experiment podcast (thanks for replaying that episode, guys) where he mentioned that you should pick awesome places as setting. I already knew this in theory, but I hadn’t always applied it in my writing. In this chapter I found my chance. In the previous version I had a conversation between two women. They were sitting at a table in a home having a civil conversation. But since one of them is the wife of a blacksmith, why not have the conversation right in his workshop? There was fire burning, tiny pieces of fire flying about, a sweaty muscular shirtless man hammering metal right next to them… It sure made the scene a lot more interesting. I also spiced up the conversation with conflict, as you do.
So if you ever wonder why I am insisting that this rewrite makes the book so much better… this is why. And this is why the original version, that took me two years to write and wasn’t even in English, will stay unpublished forever.
(In the photo – the water tunnel in the City of David in Jerusalem. Probably the one through which king David conquered Jerusalem around 1004 BC. Photo by me).