Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Writing: Point of View

I've been taught to write in a deep point of view, a technique that turns Third Person narrative into internal monologue equal (as much as possible) to that of First Person. It eliminates distance and telling, converting, "She saw a cardinal fly past. So close, she felt the breath of wind against her face," to, "A cardinal flew past her face. So close, a breath of wind brushed her cheek."

Deep POV also has its disadvantages. In eliminating all telling and distance, the reader is inside the character's head all the time, seeing only what is within their field of vision, hearing their thoughts down to the, "Whoa, did that really just happen?" and experiencing only their emotions and reactions. I found it limiting, and I had trouble adjusting to being in a character's head one second and then pulling back and showing the reader how that character reacted the next. Consequently, I pulled back a bit on the technique in my stories.

I know in this post-modern age, deep POV is supposedly a must, but I don't enjoy reading stories written completely in deep POV unless it's First Person. I miss some of the telling, backstory, and narrative that widened the characters' world for me. I'm currently on chapter nine of Out of the Silent Planet, and while an occasional jump from Third to Second to First Person, and learning non-linear details after the fact (he had been walking along a rise for some time. Whoops, time to adjust the mental image) jars me a bit--because I have been taught that it's jarring--I'm thoroughly enjoying the story, just as I've enjoyed other classics over the past few decades.

Deep POV is designed to engage the emotions and senses of the reader in this post-modern world, to give them an almost primal experience while reading. I don't believe that's appropriate for every story written, or appropriate for every reader. I'll read stories written in a deeper POV, but personally, I prefer stories that engage my mind. In this post-modern age, we need to engage our minds more. I know I do.

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