In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: Sigh. Regarding “Deep” POV
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled.” Mark Twain
“It’s far easier to talk about doing something than to actually do it.” Harvey Stanbrough
Topic: Sigh. Regarding So-Called (for now) “Deep” POV
In today’s “Of Interest” there’s a link to a long article about writing in “deep POV.” If I’ve ever heard an academic term, it’s that one. (However, I listed the link and left it there. If you get something out of it, more power to you.)
And here by “adademic” I mean “mental gymnast,” one who exercises mentally and orally with groups of similar elites because what they’re saying sounds—oh, gosh, Ma—REALLY good but does nothing to advance the technique. So “academic” in this context also includes “writers” who never seem to write but have read all the books and can intelligently discuss simply ALL the latest trends.
In other words it’s the same old, same old in a bright, shiny new package. And whatever it’s called, it entails far too much thinking and not enough (or any) doing.
“Deep POV?” Seriously? So then, do some people set out intentionally to write in “Shallow POV?” And how many levels of POV are there? I mean, does “Basement POV” exist (yet)? What about “Top” or “Penthouse” POV? For that matter, what about “Medium POV”? Or maybe that’s a whole other thing. Maybe that’s a POV used only by people who contact the spirits of the departed.
All this verbiage reminds me of watching a soccer game among 5 year olds. You know, one kid kicks the ball, and then the entire field of kids rush in a herd to wherever the ball’s going. Then another kid kicks the ball and the same thing ensues.
I first heard of this “deep POV” (by that particular moniker) a few years ago. But the thing is, calling something by a new, made-up name does absolutely nothing to enrich the technique. It only gives academics more ways to dissect it and talk about it.
“Deep POV” faded in as a fad about the time “First Person POV is more ‘immediate’ [whatever TF that means]” was fading out.
And a few years from now some other academic or “writer” who never writes will come up with some new term—”immediate POV” maybe or “intense POV” or something equally inane—and the children will all race off after the ball once again.
I could easily stand around the water cooler chatting BS about “deep POV” and all the other nifty sounding verbiage, but I don’t want to insult your intelligence. I’d rather give you something straigtforward, something that has neither aroma nor texture in common with bovine excrement. Something that will enable you to write a story from the first word forward.
So at the risk of repeating myself, here’s what you should do if you want to be a real fiction writer:
First, understand that Writiing is Just Writing. Stories are Just Stories. What one reader likes another reader won’t, and your opinion of your work as the author is still only one opinion. So if you want to write fiction, get over yourself, sit down at the keyboard, and write.
Second, trust the characters to tell the story that THEY, not you, are living.
And third, follow this generic, works-every-time formula for a successful story of any length:
1. To begin a story, you need only a character with a problem in a setting. The problem doesn’t have to be “the” problem of the story. It might be something as simple as an untied shoelace or a locked door the character expected to be unlocked.
2. To pull the reader into the story or “ground” him, you only need to invoke the reader’s empathy by recording the POV character’s physical and emotional senses. Everything is filtered THROUGH the POV character. (Duh. This is what the academics currently call “deep POV.”)
3. To keep the reader in the story and keep him reading, you need a cliffhanger of some sort at the end of each major scene or chapter and a corresponding hook at the beginning of the next.
4. And then ground the reader again with the POV character’s physical and emotional senses and continue the story to the next cliffhanger/hook combination. Rinse and repeat.
Naturally, you also have to fulfill the reader’s expectations by hitting the appropriate buttons or touchstones of your genre or subgenre along the way. But you can NEVER add too much sensory detail from the POV character, even aside from the initial grounding at the beginning of the major scene or chapter.
In just the sense of hearing alone, the western POV character won’t notice the sound of his own saddle creaking as he rides, but he will definitely notice the sound of another saddle creaking nearby unexpectedly.
The action-adventure (or other) POV character usually won’t notice the sound of his own weapon being cocked as he cocks it, but he will definitely notice the sound of his opponent’s weapon being cocked. And so on.
In the midst of action, any POV character will notice tightly focused sights, smells, sounds, etc. that he might not notice if he was only walking through the room. These are some of the sensory details the writer includes not to ground the reader in the scene but to keep him grounded in the scene, to enable him to experience the scene along with the character.
If you begin with a character with a problem in a setting, if you ground the reader with sensory detail from the POV character, and if you employ cliffhangers and hooks, you will be successful as a fiction writer. Well, if you do those things and trust your characters.
Okay, end of stupid lecture. Probably nobody’s listening anyway. Well, except people who already know and employ these techniques. Now I’m going to escape back into my fictional world and write the story I’m given.
Talk with you again soon.
See “.22 LR Firepower: The MGV-176 Submachine Gun” at https://www.gunpowdermagazine.com/22-lr-firepower-the-mgv-176-submachine-gun/. If you write stories with high-volume weapons, this might be a good article to browse.
See “True Crime Investigation Unmasked” at https://www.suecoletta.com/true-crime-investigation-unmasked/. Want to write true crime? Here you go.
See “Tips for Deepening the POV in Your Fiction” at https://killzoneblog.com/2021/05/tips-for-deepening-the-pov-in-your-fiction.html. Do all of this if you want. I’m good.
The Journal…………………………………… 1080 words
Writing of Wes Crowley (novel, tentative title)
Day 1…… 3089 words. Total words to date…… 3089
Day 2…… 3871 words. Total words to date…… 6960
Day 3…… 5202 words. Total words to date…… 12162
Day 4…… 2900 words. Total words to date…… 15062
Day 5…… 2530 words. Total words to date…… 17592
Day 6…… 3543 words. Total words to date…… 21135
Day 7…… 3563 words. Total words to date…… 24698
Day 8…… 3961 words. Total words to date…… 28665
Total fiction words for May……… 50321
Total fiction words for the year………… 421600
Total nonfiction words for May… 13170
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98030
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 519630
Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 8
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 61
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.