Saturday, July 23, 2016

Deep Point of View

Kathrese McKee helped us all to dive into Deep Point of View at our July ACFW gathering. She began her presentation with two caveats:
  1. WARNING: this material may temporarily spoil your pleasure in the fiction you read. Sorry.
  2. This presentation will only give a beginning understanding about this topic. If you want more information download the booklet (written by Kathrese) entitled, “Mastering Deep POV,” please go to
Her engaging presentation continued with a brief review of Point of View followed by a demonstration of a shallow point of view passage from Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories From Wayside School

Kathrese then provided us with an extensive and detailed list of guidelines for achieving Deep POV such as: avoid phrases like: she thought, she wondered, she wished or she remembered. McKee encouraged writers to sink deeper and said this would create a more engaging story. 

A writer who is trying to utilize Deep POV should be careful to avoid naming emotions: love, hate, like, or fear, and concentrate on conveying emotions through action, physical reaction, thoughts, word choice and sensory details, setting and dialogue.

Kathrese finished our time together with an opportunity to apply what we had learned. She gave us a passage from Tara Ellis’ novel: Infected: The Shiners, and each of us had an opportunity to re-write the passage choosing first or third person and reworking the Point of View to be Deep POV. A number of writers bravely shared what they had written and it was fascinating to see the different directions each writer took the piece. 


Kathrese McKee is an author of YA fantasy, and she is the treasurer and official photographer of the WOTS chapter of ACFW. You can find her novels, Mardan's Mark and Healer's Curse on Amazon.


Special thanks to Anthea Kotlan for covering for me this past week. What would I do without my friends?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Does the Critique Have Merit?

Recently, on a LinkedIn thread I subscribed to, a woman posed a question to the rest of us pertaining to a critique she'd received from her group. Apparently everyone agreed she needed to deepen her character's POV. She said she followed their advice, but she wasn't happy with it.
This tells me one of two things: either she writes in a genre where the omniscient, or at least a more distant POV, is required (and yes, there are some genres that work best with a distant POV), or she doesn't quite know how to deepen it effectively.
She wanted to know what the rest of us thought, and I was surprised by the vehemence of the responses. "Don't let anybody tell you how to write your book!"
You're kiddin', right?
If you know me, you probably won't be surprised by this: I jumped in with an opposing view. Yeah, yeah, I know--someday I'll learn to keep my mouth shut. Anyway, I said that, in some genres, the deep third person POV has become expected by readers and publishers alike, and it wouldn't hurt to work with it some.
Apparently my response threatened to strip the veneer off the "We Are Perfect" award bestowed only upon those who write. I tell ya, they crawled all over me like fire ants on a hot dog. Eventually, I did everything but apologize for living and bowed out of the discussion. (I'm yellow that way, I guess. Though I don't mind presenting an opposing view, I hate fighting over it.)
Where on earth did authors get the idea that because they could string a few sentences together, they have obtained some sort of artistic nirvana and deserve to be worshiped? We're authors--not gods. We haven't been endowed with special wisdom. We're not better than anyone else. The idea that these folks wouldn't even consider a criticism bugged me.
Perhaps some of us need a lesson of humility.
The best way to approach any criticism of your work, either through a critique group/partner, contest judge, or an editor, is open-mindedly. Does it have merit? Is it worth experimenting with?
Critiques in general hurt. But once you've calmed down, study your work through the eyes of whoever offered something constructive. Do they have a point?
One of the editors looking at The Cat Lady's Secret suggested I pull a character out. After loosely skimming the manuscript, she wondered whether the cat lady's role in The Cat Lady's Secret was really necessary to the story. I'm not sure where she got that. Pulling the cat lady out would've done serious damage to my novel; it would've changed it entirely. That's major. I refused.
Deepening a POV isn't major.  Repairing structure, changing sentences, moving this paragraph from here to there--none of these are major. Cutting certain scenes may or may not be major--who knows? Try it and see if it makes the novel better. Keep in mind, many of the things suggested aren't intended to change the story, but to enhance it.
The lady who started the LinkedIn thread at least tried the suggestion. She approached it right. I wonder how many in that group would've pitched a fit. Their attitude, "the author is always right!" seems to answer that for me.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Achieving Deep POV

Kathleen Y'Barbo couldn't make the meeting this month, so our own Kathrese McKee will be filling in. She'll be teaching the secrets of writing in a deep POV.  If the concept of going deep confuses you, or if you're just looking for ways to improve your POV depth, you don't want to miss this.

Kathrese is the award-winning author of Mardan's Mark and Healer's Curse, The third in the Mardan's Mark series, Mardan's Annointed is coming soon.

About Kathrese:

As a Systems Engineer for EDS, I never guessed I would become a writer since my work was designing systems, coding, and testing. But in every assignment, I wound up supplying the writing muscle for the projects, too. I wrote design documents, technical specs, user documentation, change notes, and more.

Drawing nearer to my true interests, I taught middle school Reading and English as a Second Language for four years. Since I stopped teaching, I've devoted my time to blogging and writing Young Adult fiction. I'm an active member in the Writers on the Storm chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). My other interests are photography and music.

Kathrese is a fun speaker, so I hope everyone can make it to the meeting!

Saturday, July 16, 11:00 - 1:00, at Lupe Tortillas, on I-45 in The Woodlands!