Let's welcome Jill Elizabeth Nelson to Christian Writer/Reader Connection. I've read her book on Deep POV, and it's helped me understand the "how" of showing and not telling. Take it away, Jill!
Deep Point of View is a powerhouse technique writers may deploy from their arsenal of skills in order to craft a story that will captivate readers.
Following is a vital term that I use extensively in Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, my handbook on the craft of Deep POV.
Writers create narrative distance when they consciously or unconsciously insert an invisible narrator between the Point of View Character (POVC) and the reader. In the complete handbook, I share many examples of how we create narrative distance and how we can eliminate it in order to achieve Deep POV.
The technique helps readers to feel like there is nothing between them and what is happening to the POVC. In Deep POV, we don't want thoughts or actions told or explained by a third party; we want to live the events inside the POVC's head. The narrative should read like the thoughts going through the character's mind but without the need to italicize as in direct thought quotations.
Following are a few examples that demonstrate what a sentence might look like with that annoying, invisible narrator buzzing in the reader’s ear and then with the narrator eliminated.
With the narrator: She wished she could whisk back in time and redo the last few minutes.
Without the narrator: Too bad life didn’t come with an undo button like a computer.
With the narrator: He had to think hard about what to do next.
Without the narrator: What should he do next?
With the narrator: Jason’s scowl caused Meg to sigh on the inside.
Without the narrator: If Jason’s scowl turned any blacker, lightning would strike her dead. A silent sigh left Meg’s lips.
In this post, I have lightly covered a single aspect of writing in Deep POV. We haven’t touched on the thought tells, prepositional tells, or sensory tells that Deep POV will eliminate. One of the most stellar effects of Deep POV on a writer’s narrative is the virtual elimination of show/don’t tell issues!
These topics and more are covered in-depth, complete with examples and hands-on exercises in my handbook, Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View. Available as a Kindle download or in paperback at http://amzn.to/IvQTkj.
Award-winning author and writing teacher, Jill Elizabeth Nelson, writes what she likes to read—tales of adventure seasoned with romance, humor, and faith. She delights to bring the “Ahah! Moment” to students as they make skills their own. She and her husband of over 30 years have raised four children in the rural Midwest, and they are currently enjoying a growing brood of grandchildren. Visit Jill on the web at www.jillelizabethnelson.com.
Writers: What tips do you have on showing/not telling? Do you find this skill difficult?