I can’t believe it’s already September!
Now through December is my favorite time of year. I love fall and winter, but living in Florida means experiencing those seasons a bit differently than most. Our “sweater weather” doesn’t typically begin until November, and sometimes not even then. Many of our trees–especially our numerous live oaks–tend to lose leaves in March rather than September. And you’d be hard-pressed to find an apple orchard or a natural pumpkin patch in most of the state. But we find ways to feel fall-ish anyway. I will still happily drink my PSLs and salted caramel mochas, even in shorts with sweat running down my neck. I’ll deck out my home in pumpkins, fall leaves, and autumnal knick-knacks. And I’ll put fall-scented candles on the warmer so the still humid air smells like pumpkin, cinnamon, and woodsmoke. Then, mid-November, I’ll switch it all out for winter decor, even if it’s too hot in the attic to get the boxes down until after dark.
Believe it or not, the end of this month will mark one year since Ashes Swept was published. All during the year I’ve been hard at work on another book, and though I’d hoped to be much further along with it by now, I’m aiming for a Spring/Summer 2019 release. Thankfully, this is the time of year where I tend to write more, so with any luck I’ll be able to get a lot done. Then there’s also NaNoWriMo, and this year would be my ninth in a row. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to do it, though I kind of hate to break my streak when I’m so close to ten in a row.
Here are a few other things…
Currently Reading: Into the Fire, Broken Gears #2, by Dana Fraedrich (and I’m OBSESSED!)
Currently Watching: Steven and I just started Brooklyn Nine-Nine and I’m HOOKED!
Currently Writing: Still on draft two of novel #8 (which will be published novel #2)
Currently Loving: The new “Good Eats” segment on my friend Melissa’s author blog. If you, like me, sometimes struggle to find a balance between making home-cooked meals and getting things done, give her a follow so you can collect some great recipes!
I’m so pleased to welcome author Jade Young to my blog!
A lot of the writing I do is very character driven. Therefore my goal is for my readers to connect with my protagonist. I want my protagonist to come alive for them and for his or her thoughts and actions to jump off the page and draw the reader in. Ultimately, I want my readers to feel like they are the protagonist.
That’s essentially what Deep Point-Of-View or Deep POV is. The reader forgets they’re reading a book because it’s written in such a way that they feel like they are living the character’s life. Basically, you the author, do everything you can to remove dialogue tags, filter words, and passive voice. This establishes a deep and emotional connection with readers.
Now, this isn’t the easiest technique to master. It’s so easy to slip back into your regular writing style. However, practice makes perfect and if this is something that interests you, read on for my four tips.
Tip One: Get Inside Your Protagonist’s Head. In order to help readers get lost in my protagonist’s head, it’s essential that I get inside my protagonist’s head first. This means I need to know my character inside and out. I need to understand their goals, motivations, relationships, and other facets of their lives. This will add a level of realism to your protagonist and make them relatable to your audience. To check out my personal five-step process for creating relatable and well-rounded characters click here
Tip Two: Watch out for Filter Words. Filter words are words like saw, heard, thought, felt, watched, etc. If writing in Deep POV, they are unnecessary because they take readers out of the character’s head. The goal of Deep POV is for you to experience the story through the protagonist’s eyes so you need to write the action as it happens. Think about your own life. You don’t go around using filter words so why should your protagonist? Let readers experience story events as a character does. Confused? Here’s two examples:
Not Deep POV: Mary heard a gunshot and saw Eric fall to the ground.
Deep POV: A shot ring out! Mary stifled a cry as Eric’s body fell to the ground in front of her.
Not Deep POV: Eric thought the baby smelled bad. Time for a diaper change!
Deep POV: The baby smelled bad. Time for a diaper change!
Tip Three: Show Don’t Tell. Many of us are familiar with this rule, and it’s interesting to note that in some cases, telling can be effective. However, the goal is for our readers to feel like they are the protagonist and become immersed in their world. Therefore, we want to create dynamic scenes and use our protagonist’s five senses to tell the story. When conveying emotions, describing the setting, or during conversation be sure to stay inside your character’s head and avoid lengthy info-dumps or descriptions. For more information on show vs tell, and how you can master both, click here.
Tip Four: Write in Active, not Passive, Voice. Writing in passive voice can pull your reader out of your character’s head. Why? Because passive voice indicates that something has already been done or is being done somewhere the protagonist isn’t. For example,
Active Voice: The dog bit Katie.
Passive Voice: Katie was bitten by the dog.
Active Voice: Joel hit Nick.
Passive Voice: Nick was hit by Joel.
Note: An easy way to help you identify passive vs active voice is to add “by zombies” after the verb in the sentence. If the sentence makes sense then it’s passive. For example, if we were to use the examples above:
Passive: Katie was bitten by zombies.
Passive: Nick was hit by zombies.
Still confused? Check out this blog post by Kaitlin Hillerich for more examples and tips.
Tip Five: Remove Dialogue Tags. Dialogue tags are common in most novels. For example, “she said,” “he yelled,” “Mary screamed,” “Jack whispered,” etc. Though small, using dialogue tags can jar your reader out of your protagonist’s head and remind them that they’re reading a book. They can also kill the tension. I found an amazing blog post by Laura Drake that explains dialogue rules and can help you effectively delete dialogue tags in your novels. You can read it here.
I hope this blog post was helpful in helping you master Deep POV. If you have any other suggestions, or additional questions, please leave them in the comments down below.
Jade Young is a blogger, and writing coach, currently working on her debut novel. You can find helpful tips, writing advice, and more information about her services on her website at www.theeducatedwriter.com.
I missed it, but there was a conversation on Twitter last week about whether or not to include college-age protagonists in the Young Adult category. From the sound of it, people were evenly split–and since this is something I was already pondering, I know exactly where I stand.
“Young Adult” is a book category featuring protagonists in the 15-18 age range. Although YA fiction is enjoyed by young and older adults alike, it’s often geared toward teenage readers. However, what truly defines YA isn’t so much the age of the characters or target audience, but the novel’s issues and themes. High school drama, first love, increased independence from parents, discovering self-identity, blossoming sexuality, and facing peer pressure, are just some of the subjects tackled by YA fiction. But now something funny is happening…
After the release of Ashes Swept, I was surprised by how many readers said they were excited for the sequel and asked when it would be out. This caught me completely off-guard, because Ashes Swept was always meant to be a stand-alone novel. The book covers the important part of Synda May’s story, so I’d never even considered adding on beyond that.
Sitting here at my desk, contemplating this post, I’m finding it hard to believe another year has gone by. One year ago, I was knee-deep in editing Ashes Swept with the help of my CPs, Shannon and Ely. It had been a whole year since I’d set up my author page and social media sites, but the reality of calling myself an author felt a million miles away. Now, with 2017 behind me, it feels like my first launch day was ages ago.