Give A Damn Factor: Voice Versus Deep POV


Why do people get so involved in a certain story? GADF—Give A Damn Factor. They make readers give a damn. I think Deep POV is one reason that readers get invested.

If a writer can make a reader care, then they create that GADF. Many times this is directly related to Point of View. The deeper you can get into a character’s head, the more you feel their pain, joy, fear, angst, etc.

We all have an idea of what Deep Point of View is. Sure, there may be a few disagreements on the use of italics, character names versus pronouns, and such, but I think everyone understands what the ends are, even if they don’t agree on the means.

But what about when an author has VOICE? When you recognize an author’s VOICE—their individual writing style—does this take a reader out of the story a bit?

But are Voice and Deep POV in direct competition? Do they have cross purposes?  Does having one in a manuscript mean losing the other?

Can a writer’s particular voice so affect a story or dialogue as to make the POV less deep?

Does anyone else see the quandary? Is there a quandary?



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4 Responses to Give A Damn Factor: Voice Versus Deep POV

  1. It’s way too early in he morning to think about something that deep, but I’ll get it a try. If your voice is gimmicky, it will get in the way. If you always have your characters cut off the first two words of a sentence or speak in slang or with accents, it will get in the way. If you think your voice is long, lyrical descriptions of setting, cut it out. That might fin in one book but not another.

    If you think your voice is short, choppy sentences and you stop the flow to make them conform, it will get in the way. However, if you write gritty, fast paced stories and, WHEN IT FITS WITH THE ACTION, your sentences are short and choppy, it will not interfere but enhance.

    Your true voice is much more than any one thing. It will come through no matter what you write, be it Historical, SiFi, or contempory. Well done, deep POV is part of your voice.

  2. Elle Hill says:

    My brain might be a little toasted after just returning from an academic conference (those things are brutal!), but I’m not entirely sure what Susan is saying. Forgive me if I’m misinterpreting her points.

    Perhaps slightly contradicting (?) Susan, I think a very slight change in voice when entering a character’s deep POV is kind of awesome. I agree that something big or drastic will shock your reader out of her/his reading coma. However, making sure not to use specific words or using expressions particular to that person is a good way of staying true to their personhood, IMO. I often skip between my sheroes’ and heroes’ POVs, and while not radical, a difference in their voices does exist. For example, her analogy might involve books and bookshelves, since she’s a librarian, while his might involve trees and earth, since he’s a landscaper. Or she might hate cursing and therefore only use G-rated mental exclamations, while his voice may casually throw around “damn” and other such words.

    Thanks for this lovely discussion! I like talking shop with other craftspeople. 🙂

    • It is a topic that creates a dichotomy, even within me. But I agree, you have to keep the characters true to their nature first and foremost, that should resolve the biggest of all issues. I hope?

      Love talking craft! I always learn something when I hear it or the opposite view from someone else’s perspective.

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