Thursday, April 3, 2008

Deep POV - Part II - Guest Post

Jennifer Hudson Taylor's blog on writing offered you a look at Deep POV. This technique is significant in creating characters who are three-dimensional and believable. The process shares their deepest thoughts and emotion and helps the reader relate in a personal way to the character. Jennifer names a few techniques that will help define your character and make him different from others in your book. You will want to focus on these points, especially for your main characters and any important secondary characters that play a significant role in your novel.

A. Create a Character Sketch
Do this for all your main characters and any significant secondary characters. This will give you a reference to go back to when months later you are wrapping up the ending. It will also give you a guideline to go by when you're in the editing stage and trying to determine if your critique partner is right about your hero acting out of character in a pivotal scene.

You can't write deep POV if you don't know every intimate detail of your characters. The people in your book are not just some fictional characters you created for the purpose of writing a story to entertain and inspire readers. They are real. Somewhere out there is a lonely FBI agent who has become hard and cold with the ugliness of life. He's built the walls of protection to shut out any pain, and in the process, all the people who could have loved him through the pain.

For every character you create, there is someone in this world who is going to identify with your character's life because they are living it. These characters are real, because real people are out there in a similar situation. When we create our characters, we need to know who they are, their goals, what motivates them, how they will react to conflict and overcome it.

B. Speech Patterns
Your characters need to have a certain speech pattern that will distinguish them from the rest of your characters. How a person talks and the way they phrase his words reveals a lot about a person. Take into consideration their geographic location, ethnicity, education, and culture. You can definitely tell a northerner from a southerner by listening to them talk.

Then break down your character's speech even further. If he’s northern, how will his speech differ from other northerners? Is he likely to be considerate of someone's feelings before he speaks, or just blurt out whatever comes to mind? Will he tease people? Tell jokes? Or recite famous quotations or poetry?

C. Thought Patterns
A character's thoughts reveal more about them than dialogue or actions. This narrative is where a reader will learn what motivates a character. Some people are day dreamers. Others are analyzers who question everything. Some are pessimistic, while others are optimistic. Choose the most likely thought pattern that matches your character’s personality, speech, and actions.

In Christian fiction, you can show the beginning stages of a character’s spiritual growth through their thoughts. Perhaps your character will ponder a sermon, a prayer they heard, a verse, or something someone said. While there is no outward change in his behavior and speech, the reader will see changes in the heart as he develops a conscience, experiences caring thoughts for others, and feelings he isn’t used to. Before this character can act on his change of heart, you must first give the reader a glimpse of the upcoming change so you don’t jolt your reader out of the story by later having him do something that is out of character for him. Change is a process, and you have to show the process in the story.

My thoughts
By distinguishing a character's personality as well as background, speech and thought patterns, you will be much more able to bring your characters to life and to arouse a deeper interest from your reader. Our goal as a writer is to create a page-turner and this only happens when reader and characters connect. This will help you do that.

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