Tactical Tuesday: Advice for Self-Editing

The questions were asked? Does deep point of view (POV) only involve the reader’s sense of sight? How does the writer successfully show sound, taste, smell and touch/feel?

Deep POV is a total immersion of the reader into the character. Therefore, all five senses play an important role in an author’s goal to create a camera lens with a psyche.

The psyche of the camera lens extends the reader the character’s thoughts about what they experience. Be careful now. Remember that this is not real life. We’re writing fiction here. The reader is on a need-to-know basis. If they don’t need to know something, you’re going to lose them if you insert fluff.

Here’s some example of deep POV with the senses:

Touch: Caycee ran her hand along the bark of the oak her father had planted in her yard fifteen years before. Rough and cragged, even in the tree’s youth. She touched the spot where she and David had carved their names last year on her fourteenth birthday. Then, with trembling fingers, she touched the softness under the newly carved letters: RIP. Her best friend was gone, and her young heart felt much like the bark where she’d permanently etched her grief.

Smell: Bea entered the McDonald’s restroom. The usually pleasant aroma of cotton candy air freshener assaulted her. Funny. The first thought she had was the carnival midway at her hometown’s local festival. She’d been away so long, and she wasn’t back to attend the festival. Instead, she planned to bring her hometown to its knees and make sure the yearly event was cancelled forever. She smiled. Flush it down the toilet. Those were her plans. She hated that hometown event. She breathed deeply, not caring what germs the now unpleasant aroma masked. No more festival. No more cotton candy given to her by a stranger. No more pain. Everyone who hurt her was going away: the event organizer, the mayor, who was no longer a stranger, the state attorney who’d failed her, the judge who’d released her attacker. She’d pick them off one by one.

Taste & Touch: David bit into the orange. The juicy sweetness burst into his mouth, and he savored every bit of it. Citrus. His life’s blood. He never wanted to be anything by a farmer. He even enjoyed protecting the harvest against frost during those few times in the winter when a cold front encroached. Still, he had to find somewhat to explain to his father that a degree in agriculture would help him to take the groves in a different direction. David finished the last of the orange and pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. He could wipe off the juice, but his hands would remain sticky, much life his life, until he found a way to pour the truth into his father’s backward thinking.

Sound: The old hound in the yard began to bark. Blue was more faithful than the rooster, whose cock-a-doodle-do now joined into the morning reveille. John stretched before he climbed out of bed. He’d challenge anyone who said that waking to rock-n-roll blaring from a box was more energizing than this morning aria.

And Sight: A dark figure approached, and Marley came to a complete halt.
John stopped and stared at her. Mud covered him from head to foot making him look like a dirty statue. She wished she had her camera to capture the moment. Once he got this fool notion to run a farm out of his head, she would use the photo to discourage him from ever trying this type of venture again.
“The goat kicked me into the pig pen,” he said.
Marley gave a short snort and then a full-on giggle.
John bent and held his knees, his laughter ringing across the farm, making the chickens squawk and the cows moo.
Marley wiped tears from her eyes. Maybe this farm wasn't a bad place after all. John had laughed like that in years.

Deep POV encompasses all five senses and relays the character's thoughts about what he or she sees, tastes, touches, feels, and hears. I encourage you to practice it with short little scenes like this. You'll have fun studying the craft.

Happy editing.

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