More on that Deep Third

Moody winter scene
Sorry to bang on about this, but I got a tad confused with my last post. There seemed to me to be some places where I wouldn’t want to use Deep POV; never mind wouldn’t, think couldn’t use it. Try opening a novel or a chapter in deep and it doesn’t always work.
So let me recap what I know about this: the deep third viewpoint character does not need to tell his readers that he’s thinking or hoping or seeing or feeling. (It’s basically the same as getting rid of the narrator type tags—felt, saw, watched, thought and so on.)
Get rid of those tags and the reader is so much closer to the character – gets more involved in what’s happening in the story and deeper into the character’s mind and heart.

But it worried me that being always in a character’s thoughts and emotions for the length of a story might be OTT (Over the top). I want to draw back sometimes, and look at the characters as though from a distance. I like the idea of opening a new chapter or scene as if from a great height and I didn’t want to give that up, because I think it gives something to the story. Puts the characters in their world, perhaps, gives the story a different perspective. Perhaps it comes from watching films, or perhaps it’s because I have a visual sort of mind, but anyway, I tried it and it works for me. From there, it’s easy to spiral down and climb back inside the character – whichever one it is.

Viewpoint characters can change, ought to change. A single character’s viewpoint risks becoming boring, and if, like me, you prefer to write of several major characters rather than just one, it’s intriguing to work out their thought processes just as you would have tried to make their dialogue personal to them. But I stick to one character, one scene, and don’t headhop. That would confuse me, never mind the reader.
I puzzled over using italics and have decided that I don’t need them unless my character suddenly decides to think of himself as I. He might. I sometimes do it myself, as in I don’t like that comment, or that dress or I simply hate the skins on tomatoes. (It’s true, I do.) If he goes for a first person sentence, then I’ll use italics for that sentence.
So now I think I’ve finally got a grip on Deep Third POV.  It isn't as restrictive as I first thought, and that's good. Phew!


Unknown said…
OK, even after reading both your articles, I'm still not sure what Deep Third PoV is, or how you tell it apart from normal PoV?
I think I'm writing in Deep Third, but maybe not? Really can't say.
Jen Black said…
if you use he said, he thought, he felt, then its third person POV but not deep third. That's a simple pointer to look out for. Jen
Unknown said…
That sounds easy enough to follow. Thanks.

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