A Deeper Point of View

getting your reader into your character’s head

A fellow writer asked recently how to get deeper into your character’s point of view.

As I answered the query, I thought, why not share this in my column?

One thing many writers do is inadvertently distance their readers from their characters while striving to get their readers closer. They don’t realize they’re shooting themselves in the foot. And here’s one of the main ways they do it: thought tags.

Thought tags are just that. Tags used to mark a character’s thoughts: he realized, she thought, he supposed.

Instead of:

He realized it was getting late.

Try:

He blinked at the sun. It was getting late.

Also, such things as ‘she heard’ and ‘he saw’ often fall into this category.

Instead of:

Her gaze swept the room and she saw her bracelet on the floor by the fireplace.

Try:

Her gaze swept the room, ah, there was her bracelet – on the floor by the fireplace.

If we’re in that character’s POV, why do we need all the tags to remind the reader? Use them sparingly, because they do distance the reader from the character.

originally published in The Sword Review 2007-05-26

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: