Monday, June 18, 2012

Deep POV: Lesson Three by Karen Witemeyer

It's a challenge to include emotions in our stories. We have to be vulnerable. And we not only want to include our characters' emotions, we want to evoke our readers' emotions. Karen Witemeyer has returned with part three of her great series on deep POV. Read on for more great tips!

Deepen POV by Deepening the Portrayal of Emotion

One of the points we made last week about deepening POV, was about how important it is avoid the use of head words like "he thought," "she knew," etc. The same principle can be applied to portraying emotions.

Do your best not to name your character's emotions.

I won't lie to you. This is the hardest part of writing deep POV. An author has to dig deep to evoke emotions instead of simply naming them. It requires more words, more effort, and more editing. But the payoff is huge. 

If your heroine is afraid, we want the reader's heart to race. If the hero's been brutally wounded, we want the reader to wince. If the heroine believes she's lost the man of her dreams, we want a tear to slide down the reader's cheek.

Just as there are times to tell instead of show, there will be times to name emotions instead of showing them, but do this as little as possible. Showing emotions through direct thought, visceral responses, and active behavior creates a much greater impact on your reader than simply naming the emotion.


Stephanie eyed her rival, jealousy burning within her as the woman's manicured hand stroked Jason's sleeve.


Stephanie eyed her rival, her throat constricting as she fought to keep her hostess smile from contorting into a snarl. That tramp! How dare she show up tonight on Jason's arm? And with her talons sunk into his sleeve like some medieval war bird. Where was a cat when you needed one?

You can feel the jealousy in the re-write can't you? And isn't your reaction stronger? Don't you relate more fully to Stephanie's emotions in the second version? 

Notice the visceral response: …her throat constricting

The action: …she fought to keep her hostess smile from contorting into a snarl

The direct thought: That tramp! How dare she show up tonight on Jason's arm?

The personality: And with her talons sunk into his sleeve like some medieval war bird. 

Where was a cat when you needed one?

Take a look at some of the emotion-packed scenes in your own manuscripts. Are you naming the emotions instead of evoking them? Look for ways to deepen your portrayal of emotions in those scenes and you will end up deepening the POV at the same time.

Next week: Deepen POV by creating fresh comparisons.


Short-Straw Bride released June 1, 2012.

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?


Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House, believing that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: