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Strengthen Your Fiction: When to Use: Internal Dialogue and Deep POV

How to improve your fiction

By Rachel CarringtonPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Strengthen Your Fiction: When to Use: Internal Dialogue and Deep POV
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Internal dialogue, action verbs, and deep POV (point of view) are some of the necessary pieces of the novel puzzle. Without them, your book can be as dry as Phoenix in the summer.

While not every writer is comfortable writing deep POV, and some have found success without utilizing it, it is one of the best ways of filtering out the unnecessary elements of your story and focusing on what really matters—showing the story.

I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of manuscripts from authors seeking publication, and many books fall flat because they tell the reader everything rather than showing a reader the story.

Readers need to get to know your characters and their struggles. They want to learn what is going on in their minds and how they reach the conclusions they do. The way a writer provides this is through deep POV and internal dialogue.

Let’s go over deep POV first. When you’re writing a scene/chapter from a character’s point of view, you have the perfect opportunity to let the reader into the character’s mind, but that deep POV shows so much more than what the protagonist is seeing. It shows the character’s emotions and feelings and uses all of the senses.

Deep POV strips away passive voice and puts a reader right into a character’s world. It doesn’t just introduce the characters to your readers, it lets them step into their lives, experience what they experience, and feel what they feel. Let’s take a look at two examples.

Without Deep POV: I thought about walking away, and I even told myself I would the second I had enough money. I just didn’t know when that would be.

We get a sense this character is in trouble; we just don’t know what kind. We also know the character doesn’t have a lot of money, but we don’t get any sense of why she wants to leave, what she’s feeling, or how long she’s been feeling this way.

With Deep POV: The bruise over my eye mocked my thoughts of leaving Stan. I’d lost count of the number of times I’d made the same promise to myself. Nothing had changed. I had, at most, twenty dollars in my checking account, and a crappy job waiting tables at Sally’s Diner where, occasionally, a big spender might throw me a $5.00 tip.

This scene takes us deeper into the character’s world. She’s being abused by Stan, wants to leave, but feels trapped. She has $20 in the bank and a lousy job. You can feel her desperation more because she keeps telling herself to leave, but she has no way to go.

To use deep POV, you must know your characters inside and out. You might think because you created them, you know them, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Do you know why your antagonist is a serial killer? Did something happen in his childhood? What was the one defining moment that moved him from a disturbed man to a killer? This information can be introduced via deep point of view and take the readers down the villain’s dark path toward murder.

Using deep POV removes the passivity of sentences and jumps right into the action, the feelings, the emotions, and invades all the senses.

Deep POV works hand in hand with internal dialogue. We all talk to ourselves, not necessarily out loud, but we communicate with our thoughts. Your characters should as well. Let’s a look at a scene without internal dialogue and deep POV.

She thought she heard a noise, but maybe she was mistaken. The police had checked out the house thoroughly. Everything had been fine, but the neighborhood really creeped her out. Maybe she should start looking for another place, one that looked as safe at night as it did during the daylight.

While this scene conveys what you want the reader to know, it’s doing a lot of telling, and it’s not giving the reader a chance to feel what the character is feeling. While someone who thinks they hear a noise would be scared, we don’t feel her fear. So let’s rework this.

Was that a footstep? Eve dropped to her knees on the floor and crawled to the front door. Her ear pressed against the rickety wood, she tried to listen over the hammering over her heart.

Calm down, Eve. Nothing’s out there. Still, her overactive imagination ran wild with possibilities in this neighborhood. She’d already called 9-1-1 three times tonight. Once more and she might be the one in handcuffs.

Here, readers get a different view of Eve. She’s already called the police three times in one night because of noises she thinks she’s heard. Is she in danger, or does she just think she’s in danger? We get a sense that she’s easily frightened and maybe doesn’t like being alone. She even attempts to calm herself down which tells the reader this is something she’s done before.

Comparing the two scenes above, you’ll see the difference deep POV and internal dialogue make. In the first scene, we see a woman scared of a noise she might have heard, and maybe we were all thinking “call 9-1-1 just to be safe!” Even if the police had just checked, danger can return. It certainly sounded like she was in a bad neighborhood.

In the next scene, though, we see a woman who is slightly on edge. She’s already had three visits from the police to check out her house, and we learn she has a busy imagination. So it’s possible she’s not in danger, and that her mind is playing tricks on her.

So you can see what a difference deep POV and internal dialogue can make. While the first scene shows us a woman who is possibly in danger, we didn’t get any indication that she might be hearing things or that she was generally fearful. This information can make a difference when you’re building a character.

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About the Creator

Rachel Carrington

I'm an avid writer and reader. I've had over 53 novels published and over 2,000 articles. Here I review movies, TV series/episodes, books, and write about entertainment.

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