Trying to count how many books on the craft of writing there are in the market is like trying to count how many sand grains are on the coast of Santa Monica beach. By the time you think you’ve picked a good one, a whole slew of them comes washing up the shore, and you’re back at square one.
A little less than two years ago, I started reading more writing craft books and reviewing them on Goodreads (as well as as posting them to my blog right here). And because I’ve read so many, a lot of them have started to sound the same. But judging a book by how much information I already know isn’t fair to the book being reviewed, nor the author. How could they account for all the different books on writing craft I’ve read? They can’t.
So, when I review any book, craft or fiction, I try to review it honestly and by answering the following question: If I could only read one book in my life on writing, or at the very least on point of view, would I want to read this one?
The resounding answer for Writing Deep Point of View (PoV) by Rayne Hall, from her Writer’s Craft series, is “YES! What are you waiting for? Go and read this, my fellow writers!”
A-hem. Okay. Maybe I’m getting too carried away.
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
If you’re a beginning/intermediate/advanced fiction writer with head-hopping issues, lackluster narration, and cardboard cut-out characters, Writing Deep PoV will save you much-needed time and stress. Whereas Victorian era writing emphasized a god-like narrator that knew everything about the characters, Deep PoV writing emphasizes the feelings and experiences of a singular point-of-view character for a richer reading experience. In twenty concise, power-packed chapters, Hall explains the intricacies and strengths of deep PoV, points out common pitfalls so that you don’t make them yourself, and provides easy assignments for you to do on your own so that you can get better. She’ll also tell you how to make better PoV judgment calls, like when to change PoV in your story and when not to.
For example, I now know that “Suzy wondered what John was doing over in the kitchen, and Jon thought Suzy look strange in her blouse” is a pretty jarring sentence for the reader, because it’s asking a reader too do to much. Just when the reader gets to know one character, I’m asking them to get in the mind of another character within the span of a few words. Instead, for deep PoV, and multiple PoV’s throughout a story, Hall argues to wait to change them until the end of a chapter or a scene, which makes a lot more sense.
However, don’t get her wrong. Hall does mention the benefits of other PoVs and writing styles and reassures the reader that there aren’t a lot of hard and fast rules, nor does she want any. And I like that, because it shows me that Hall has studied writing carefully and knows when to use rules and when to break them.
Admittedly, I did only a few of the exercises and haven’t completed all of them. But, like many good writing books, this is one you should read all the way through first, then go through the exercises the second time. Or you can take your time with it, doing the exercises as you read it through once. Whatever works for you.
Also, in Writing Deep PoV, Rayne Hall provides three of her own short stories where you can see Deep PoV techniques in action. She doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk.
And she makes me want to walk it, too.
The last time I read an author and went, “I want to write like that,” was when I was reading Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl for the first time. Reading Rayne Hall’s short stories, I thought, “She writes how I write. She writes like how I want to write.” Perhaps that’s because I’m not a writer from the Victorian Era, and because I was born in an age where readers demand richer experiences from their books.
But it works.
And because of that, I think it’ll work for you, too.
So go get it.