Deep POV Tips Part 4: Of Sneaks and Shallow POV

Editing for Deep POV

Editing for Deep POV

Last month I attended a webinar the subject of which was deep third person POV and I then started this series. Part 1 (including links to other deep POV resources),   Part 2 & Part 3 of this series are available if you want to catch-up on the topic. As promised, here are more tips gleaned from the presentation that you may find helpful as I know they will be for me.

Sam: What are you up to? Sneaking off, are we?
Gollum: Sneaking? Sneaking? Fat Hobbit is always so polite. Smeagol shows them secret ways that nobody else could find, and they say “sneak!” Sneak? Very nice friend. Oh, yes, my precious. Very nice, very nice.
Sam: All right, all right! You just startled me is all. What were you doing?
Gollum: Sneaking.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

There’s often a sneak creeping through writing that hurts deep POV. It’s pervasive and slowly sucks the life, excitement and tension from a book like Gollum with a filched egg.

Gollum: [singing] The rock and pool, is nice and cool, so juicy sweet. Our only wish,
[he whacks the fish on the rock]
Gollum: to catch a fish,
[another whack]
Gollum: so juicy sweet.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Before you know it, the sneak is stealing all the fish in your writing and singing about it while you go blithely along with the story.

Be careful of the sneak! Don’t let him follow you from that log in the river! Beware lest you find your work rife with all kinds of sneaky, thieving, well you know…

So what’s so sneaky in deep POV and how can it be fixed? Prepositions. But not just any old prepositions, just the sneaky ones. Preposition are necessary except for those that express emotion.

Here are some shallow/deep examples our presenter, Delia Latham, used in her presentation, “Demystifying Deep POV”:

Sneaks in Writing

Sneaky Prepostion Examples

See the sneaks and how they work little bits of mischief in the narrative? Yet in the deeper examples there’s more lively, creative expression.

Have you got sneaks in your writing? Share how you root them out in by leaving a comment.

Please see my Contact page for ways to connect with me and view my News page for information on my current fundraising campaign for The Bow of Destiny on Indiegogo which ends on 9/5. Also read the companion blog serial for The Bow of Destiny entitled “What is Needed“. New links to reviews for The Black Bag have been post on the Store page so check those out if you are interested in a short fantasy read.

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Thanks for reading!

PHS

The Worst Advice On Prologues

PHS:

Sage advice regarding prologues. I’ve never thought the prologue was the author’s best writing but only something that primes the pump. Most prologues can be integrated into the story piecemeal.

Originally posted on Photocosm - A World of Light:

Prologues:

Some people love them. Some people hate prologues. Some skip them. Agents don’t like them, apparently.

Personally, I don’t like prologues that have only tangential relevance to the story, and I don’t like infodumps. Some people love a good six page history lesson. Some people might love tangential prologues too, though I have never come across anyone who publicly stated it.

If a prologue is interesting and relevant, I have absolutely no problem with it. I have even written one or two.

This post is not really about the virtue of prologues. It is about the lack of virtue of a certain piece of advice related to them. It runs something like this:

A writer walks into a bar and says to the barman, “I want to keep my book’s prologue but, if I do, my book will never get an agent. Prologues have gone out of fashion like the letter thorn.”

The barman scratches his head…

View original 183 more words

What is Needed Pt. 3

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

Author’s Note: This is the conclusion of Part 2 of the prequel blog serial entitled “What is Needed”. Click on these links to read Part 1, Part 2 (first section) and Part 2 (Conclusion). This series is a companion to The Bow of Destiny (Part 1 of The Bow of Hart Saga) as expanded writing samples for the current Indiegogo campaign for the novel. The events of the blog series pre-date those of The Bow of Destiny by several hundred years but include several long-lived characters who appear in the forthcoming novel. Please read this post and consider supporting the fundraiser. To learn more about The Bow of Destiny campaign click the provided link. This material is copyrighted and not intended for reproduction except at the author’s consent.

 

What is Needed (Part 3)

by P. H. Solomon

The bell clanged and jolted Hastra from sleep. Screams, shouts and snarls echoed from the lower levels. It’s a dream like the others. She clutched her blanket at her chin and waited.

Light flared as Zelma lit a candle that illuminated her wide-eyed face and disheveled shocks of flame-red hair. “Is that what you heard in the first vision?”

Hastra groaned. It’s come, no it’s been here all along. She swung her bare feet on the frigid floor. “Get dressed in something warm. The snow’s melted but nights are still cold.”

Zelma’s mouth remained open as she twisted in her bed with a nod.

Hastra swirled into a dress and sat on her bed while she tugged wool stockings on her feet. “Shh.” She waved a hand and they sat silent while ominous sounds rose and fell beyond their door. “Put that candle out, someone’s coming.” She snatched her walking stick, hoisted it at her shoulder and stood by the door.

Quick footsteps stopped at their door and it opened. Lamp-light grew and Hastra withheld her swing at the sight of Howart’s gaunt face. His eyes blinked in the shadow of their deep hollows.

The tall Withling swung the lamp in the room. “Come with me. I’ve expected this and made preparations in the cellars if we can get there. I’ll get anyone else nearby while you finish here but hurry. No shoes from here, they echo.” Howart paused for spare moments, pulled shoes off his feet and then went tapping on nearby doors.

Zelma lit the candle again.

“Don’t bother with that, sister, we can see enough to gather what we need.”

“I’ll leave it lit when we leave so they’ll have to search the rooms.”

Hastra nodded and grabbed their winter cloaks as Zelma finished with her stockings. They left with their shoes in hand and found others gathering with Howart in the passage. Just ten of us? So few. Hastra pushed hair out of her face. Better than none.

Light flickered in the near stairwell.

Howart shuttered his lamp and lowered his voice. “This way to the cellars. Run!”

The knot of Withlings scurried along the hall. Their legs pumped as they navigated the far stairwell in near darkness. They reached a landing and crowded out of sight. Pig-faced bugbears smashed through barred doors at the far length of the lowest apartment level. Crashes and growls sounded from the level above them.

Howart pulled his hood onto his head and he murmured into their knot. “Follow me. Stay in the shadows. We can’t wait or they will catch us here.” The skinny Withling pressed against the stone wall and slipped into the deeper darkness gathered below them while he held the shuttered lamp away from the wall.

The others took their turns as the trolls ravaged rooms and drug out other screaming Withlings.

Hastra pulled on her hood. Go, don’t think. She held her breath and crossed in the shadows. Ignore them and go. Tears pooled in her eyes at the flash of movement and the sight of blood as one bugbear stabbed feeble Durna. So kind, now gone. Hastra rubbed her damp cheeks.

They plunged into the darkness of the upper cellars.

Hastra inhaled the pungent mustiness as they descended. She winced at the destructive clamor and she blinked back tears for lost friends. Why couldn’t I find our betrayers sooner. She bumped into someone with a grunt as they halted in the cellar passage. “Sorry.”

Dim light glowed on Howart’s face and everyone crowded close at his whispers. “I’ll chance a little light here. I’m not as familiar with this area. We need to go to into the lower cellars. Put on your shoes.”

Hastra slipped on her shoes and pushed closer to the skeletal Withling. “Those cellars aren’t used anymore. It’s dangerous with rats and decay.”

“I’ve been preparing for this. I’ve mapped a way out from there.”

Tenelle, the pudgy Shildran woman from the end of Hastra’s hall frowned. “Preparing? You’ve known about this and told no one?”

“We’ve only suspected based on visions Hastra had all winter without instructions from Eloch.”

Faces turned to Hastra. Their confused and angry with me. Torchlight flickered above and the sound of chaos rose.

“We’ve no time to discuss this. Follow me or perish.” Howart trotted away and passed closed doors to storage rooms.

Hastra hurried after Howart with the others but endured uncertain murmurs until Howart shushed them. They think I’m to blame. Maybe I should have spoken out. Crashes echoed from the dark passage behind her. It wouldn’t have made a difference.

Howart led them through several turns until they reached a stairwell to the lower cellars. Their leader huffed with sweat beaded on his brow. “I’ve hidden a few supplies below that may help us. This is a maze and I don’t know my way well at all.”

Water dripped in places and the worn stair slowed them. Hastra held her skirt high and felt for each step with her foot. Dust tickled her nose and she covered her lower face with her sleeved arm while stifling a sneeze. If the trolls don’t get us the foul air will. She exhaled, gasped for air and held it. What’s rotted down here?

They gained the lower cellar level and kicked up more dust. Howart risked more light.

Grit on the stone floor scraped under their feet. There’s Howart’s footprints from his earlier forays. Where’s he leading us? Their guide turned several times and Hastra lost her sense of direction. She pulled her skirt higher as she traipsed through a shallow pool of discolored water.

Howart opened a door and stepped into a room. Instead of darkness they met light as their knot of Withlings pushed into the room.

Kregen wheeled from shelves packed with supplies. The position of the Rokan’s light cast an odd shadow across half his face. “So you’re the one who left all this here.”

Howart’s voice rose in spite of the danger. “What are you doing here? Weren’t you at the gate? Didn’t you ring the bell? How did you escape the trolls?”

“Zeld had the gate tonight.” Kregen’s thin lips spread into a smile beneath his hooked nose though no friendliness rose in his eyes. “And I didn’t escape the trolls.” He snapped his fingers. Snake-faced hobgoblins and tusked bugbears stepped from behind old crates. Curved blades whispered as the trolls drew their weapons.

Hastra wheeled toward the door. A sword-point rose to her throat. The mirthless grin of a hobgoblin revealed yellowed, broken teeth. They trapped us! She held her breath.

“You see, Withling’s Watch is mine in the name of Magdronu.”

Hastra gasped. The Hidden Dragon has destroyed us. The fetid stench no longer bothered Hastra as their captors snorted and snarled laughter.

End of Part 3 (Part 4 will be posted on 8/24 or after)

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Thanks for reading!

PHS