Monday, April 16, 2012

How to Develop a Working Knowledge of Deep Point of View

At Last! A Philosophically Sound Explanation of “Deep Point of View” That’s both Comprehensive and Comprehensible!

Print Length: 63 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services

What I like best about “Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View” is that it gets right to the point, it explains the point, it demonstrates the point, it summarized the point, and then, it ends.  You only get the good stuff!  There’s no padding to make Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View” book length. I fully appreciate this.

When they asked the philosopher, Immanuel Kant, why his “Critique of Pure Reason” was so darn long, he said that he didn’t have enough time to write a short book.

There are two big problems with understanding “Deep Point of View”. 

One: You can think you understand it when you in fact don’t. And as Will Rogers said, “It’s the things you know that ain’t so that get you into the most trouble.”

Two: Deep Point of View doesn’t look any different on the printed page than just plain telling.

On Point One:
I know from many years of teaching adults that the hardest thing to teach anyone is something they think they already know. You start to teach the class and soon you can just see the student’s minds close once they think they already know what you are trying to teach them. The students smile and shake their heads indicating agreement and nothing you are saying is getting inside their heads.

 “Deep Point of View” is one of those subject areas where it seems that those who are most eager to explain it, actually understand it the least. I’ve read explanations that were just baffling.

This Book is Different! It Gets it!

 Jill Elizabeth Nelson really understands Deep Point of View. Her explanations are philosophically sound and she provides countless examples to illustrate her points. More importantly, she provides examples of what Deep Point of View is not. This is a must when teaching in an area where students already think they understand the key concepts.

You just have to hit the student on the top of the head by saying: “X is not Y”. If you just tell the student what “X” is, many will still think “X” is “Y”.  Explaining what DPOV is not is a major advantage of Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View”. You simply must know what DPOV is not in order to have any chance of developing a working understanding of what it is. For example: deep POV is not the same thing as First Person POV. If you think it is, then you don’t understand deep POV.

Reading Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View” will demonstrate what Deep Point of View is and what it is not and how to use Deep Point of View in its intended way.

A Profound Change in Mindset

Writing a full novel in DPOV requires a profound change in both one’s writing habits and in the reading habits of a life time.

The reader will have to read the book several times and then diligently work the exercises to make thinking in terms of Deep POV a more natural occurrence. Thankfully, the reader will be able to do this with practice because everything needed to learn how to do this is provided by the author’s explanations and examples. In a way, it's like reading a book on 'How to Juggle' -- you will be told how to do it but you will have to do a lot of practicing to really be able to do it and understand what it is like to do it right.

About Point Two:

Here’s the hard part: Deep POV can look just like ordinary 'telling' on the printed page.

Imagine looking at two pictures. The first is a picture of a horse. The second picture is the same picture of the horse. Under the first picture the caption reads, ‘ordinary telling,’ and under the second picture is the caption ‘deep point of  view’.
ordinary 'telling'
Deep POV

I know what you’re thinking!  They’re the same picture!

Welcome to Deep POV!

How can the same exact sentence be 'ordinary telling' in one case and 'deep POV' in another?

It's because “Deep POV” is not 'in' the words, it’s 'in' the mind of the reader. Deep Point of View involves creating and then maintaining a ‘steady-state’ mindset in the reader. Maintaining the DPOV mindset in the reader is like trying to juggle many balls in midair for the entire length of the novel. Any slip up with any of the balls can destroy the mindset and cause a mental crash. But first let’s look at some ‘sentence examples’ from Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s book. All the below are examples of deep point of view taken from the book.

 “Jane looked out the window.”

“If she did that, she’d fail

“A pair of strangers in suits and ties goose-stepped up the walk toward the front door.”

When you read the above sentences, they read just like ordinary telling. They are simple declarative sentences.

In the first sentence the reader is being told that,  ‘Jane looked out the widow.' The reader is not ‘shown’ Jane looking out the window. The reader is told this.

In the second sentence the reader is told that 'The dew on the roses sparkled in the morning sunlight.'

In the third sentence the reader is told, 'If she did that, she’d fail'. I’m not sure you could even ‘show’ this if you wanted to.

In the fourth sentence the reader is told, 'A pair of strangers in suits and ties goose-stepped up the walk toward the front door.'
This is telling. The author is not showing that the men are ‘strangers’. The author is not showing their legs kicking up and outward and then coming straight down as happens with goose-stepping. The reader is just told the men are goose-stepping. Of course, the reader is supposed to ‘know’ that the men are not literally goose-stepping.

What?  'Goose-stepping' was not in italic in the story. How is the reader to know that this is the POV character's thought and not the author's description? When is 'goose-stepping' not 'goose-stepping'?  When? When deep point of view is properly maintained. Now because of this very feature the dichotomy between showing and telling almost disappears in deep pov. (Do you think you understand DPOV now?)

Now We’re Getting Somewhere!

Deep POV is about what’s going on in the reader’s mind  and not what's appearing on the printed page. (Sorry, deep pov is not like looking for the 'ly’s' that ‘give away’ telling sequences.)

The writer must look to the reader’s mindset in order to understand deep point of view.

Deep point of view requires a character who is experiencing the story directly in the moment and in a lineal progression. This is not the same as First Person POV. There can be more than one deep POV character in a book. Having the story happen in the mind of a given character (or several characters) is a very difficult writing process. There are many ‘balls’ that must be kept in the air -- all at the same time. Listed below are some of these ‘balls’:

The never saying ‘he/she thought’ ball.
The never naming that ‘feeling’ ball.
The never using ‘prepositional tells’ ball.
The never using ‘he saw/she saw’ ball.
The writing lively, linear prose ball.
The logical motivation /reaction ball.
The avoidance of narrative distance ball.

As long as this review is so far, I cannot explain Deep POV for you. I believe the minimum method for doing this has already been done in Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View”. However, I can give you an idea of the learning  process needed to obtain a genuine working knowledge of DPOV.

It’s like learning how to juggle many balls at once.

Each skill necessary to create and  maintain the delicate ‘mindset’ in the reader required by DPOV is explained and demonstrated in the book. The reader will need to learn each of these many skills and then practice them individually and then finally all at once – with all the balls in the air -- to experience DPOV first hand.

This kind of understanding takes much practice. It’s not like being able to tell the difference between 'showing' and 'telling' after just one lecture. Even simply understanding DPOV takes a lot of practice. It’s like trying to lean how to ride a bike by reading a book. The reader simply has to try and ride the bike to really understand it.

At this point, I have a philosophical understanding of deep POV which simply tells me what I would have to do to develop a real working understanding of the concept. The book tells how I can go about developing that understanding. I am now going to rewrite my WIP, "Stranded in a Cabin with a Romance Writer" in deep POV. I hope this effort will help me create the habits necessary to feel at home writing in DPOV.

Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View” has sufficient information to take you all the way to a working knowledge of Deep POV, if you do the work.


The writing is excellent.
The system will work if practiced and applied.
The arguments are logically consistent and what I call philosophically sound.
Everything you need to know is in the book and what you don’t need to know has been left out.

Highest Recommendation


  1. Hi Vince,

    I think I have an understanding of deep POV, at least on one level, but applying it is always the rub, isn't it?

    I'm going to have to read this book. Thanks for the review!

  2. I think this is an excellent book to show the contrasting examples of writing. I think Jill has done an exceptional job with her craft. I've gained some helpful insight.

  3. This book is going on my Wish List! Thank you for the excellent review.

  4. Sounds very helpful, and Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a writer I trust. Thanks for reviewing the book!

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  6. Jill's book has been the most helpful tool to date that God has placed in my path for writing. I've learned more from that handbook than any other in a long time. I had some mental block when it came to Deep POV and within one reading for RYRWDPOV - I was hooked, tried it out and WOW - what a difference!
    Thanks, Jill, for saving my writing and thank you, Vince for an honest and GOOD review.
    This book has been my highest recommended book already to those for whom I do critiquing!

  7. Wow! You have all blessed my heart, reviewer and commenters alike. Thanks so much, Vincent, for your in depth (or shall I say "deep"?) review of the small handbook I've poured my heart and soul into on the subject of Deep Point of View. As a writing teacher and even as a reader, this topic is a passion of mine. Perhaps it shows. I only hope and believe that the handbook can be a blessing to many writers. Thanks for helping that along by getting the word out. :-)

  8. Hi Jill:

    I had a feeling you might be a teacher. I love where you tell what DPOV is NOT! Even I thought it was some things it is not.

    I am going to try a ‘total emersion’ type learning experience and rewrite my 55,000 word current WIP in deep POV. I believe when I finish I should have a very good idea of DPOV: its strong points and its limitations.

    I don’t think I’ve seen a better written book on a topic this complicated. Now that I know you are OK with it, I’ll post it on Amazon for many more people to see. I will also read a few of the books you mentioned were written in DPOV. I have to see how an entire book reads when written this way.

    You did a great job on that book! It is a book that is very much needed.


  9. Hi Jan:

    Thanks for commenting. I’m sure you will like the book. It is so well written. I’m going to try my best to learn all about DPOV because I think it solves a lot of other difficult problems. Those are covered in the book.


  10. Hi Susan:

    Thanks for coming by. A really nice thing about this book is that it only costs $2.99 on Kindle! That’s a super value for so much information.


  11. Hi Diane:

    I agree that Jill did a great job. She knows how to write and how to teach. Also, I need this book and it came at just the right time. Wonderful writing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I’ll be reading it many times.


  12. Hi Janet:

    Thanks for commenting. I did not know Jill before this book. I have one of her novels ordered already. I love to do a review of a great book and I sure loved doing this review.


  13. Hello Joy:

    I’m so glad you also are high on this book. I wrote the review with nothing to go on but how I liked it. It is so well written and so well thought out that I just knew that it must be good. I’ll be reading the book many times and I’ll be working on my WIP as an object lesson. It makes me happy to discover a book this interesting and helpful.


  14. Hi Vince,
    What a gem of a find! Thanks for sharing about such an excellent new tool.

  15. Hi Angie:

    Thanks for coming by. I hope your doing well.


  16. Jill, I downloaded the book for my Kindle. I remember your class on the loop and learned so much. I think it's made my writing much better and on a higher level than it was. I'm doing a workshop on this in a few weeks, and am so glad to have the book to help explain. I'll recommend it to those in attendance and show them mine. Thanks for having Jill, Vince.

  17. Hi Martha:

    Are you doing the workshop online or is it in Texas? Do you think you'll do it at the ACFW conference?

    Thanks for coming by.