Friday, July 13, 2012

Unleash the Power of Deep Point of View - Guest Post by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

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. 

Narrative Distance

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

Author BIO:
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

Writers: What tips do you have on showing/not telling? Do you find this skill difficult?



Karen Lange said...

Thanks so much, Jill and Susan, for sharing this great info! I appreciate it. :)

Happy weekend,

Loree Huebner said...

This is a great post. Thanks Jill and Susan.

I love how you "show" the difference.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen - I like that deep POV helps chase away the "telling" mode.

Hi Loree - Thanks. I've read this book twice on my Kindle. I'm applying the lessons to my manuscript.


Jill said...

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog post. So glad the content was helpful to you! A link to the entire handbook on Deep POV can be found on my web site.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill,

Thanks for stopping by and greeting our readers.

Loved your book!

Susan :)