I promised you all some examples of how an article on Deep Character Point of View changed my writing. Here is Part 1 and Part 2 of the article, if you care to read it.
Incorporating Deep Character Point of View into my writing means, in a nutshell, that I no longer take the liberty of being the narrator of the story and jumping around from character to character. Instead, the events of the story are written from the main character’s point of view (not necessarily in first person), so that even the non-dialogue parts of the story are like a view of that character’s thoughts. This writing style is much more effective at keeping the reader’s attention and helping him or her relate to the story better.
If that’s a little hard to understand (I know, I don’t always explain myself well), here are a couple examples from Cheeper, my current work in progress.
Before: Cheeper still practiced flying and improved with every attempt, but he still could only glide down to the ground. So Sarah decided to let him get some height to his flight. She took him out on the lawn, and before he could figure out what was going on, she had tossed him high into the air and let him flutter to the ground.
After: Cheeper still practiced flying and improved with every attempt, but he still could only glide down to the ground. If only he could start from higher up, he probably would be able to do a little better. The dresser in the house was the highest up he had been, though. That is, until one day not long after when Sarah took him on a mysterious trip outdoors when it wasn’t even his mealtime. Before he could figure out what was going on, she had tossed him high into the air and let him flutter to the ground.
See how, in this example, I changed the story to read from Cheeper’s perspective only, instead of having Sarah’s perspective thrown in there. When you think about it, this actually makes much better sense. This is Cheeper’s story, and needs to be written “through his eyes,” so to speak, instead of from my “omniscient” point of view. How would he have known what Sarah decided to do? He wouldn’t; her actions would have caught him by surprise. This style of writing just takes a little more thought to know how Cheeper would have processed certain events; how he would have viewed them. So, in essence, I don’t have to just edit my story, I really have to rethink it!
Ok, here’s another example, one that majorly changed from before to after!
Before: The sun hadn’t even risen yet the next morning when Sarah and Mom came out in their bathrobes to check on Cheeper. They located him by calling and listening for his answering cheep-er. Sarah was thankful to find that he was within reach and soon had him cuddled in her hands. After that she was careful to not toss him into the air near any trees.
After: “Cheeperrrr…. Cheeeeeeperrrrr….”
Cheeper opened his eyes and blinked slowly. Where in creation was he? He took a deep breath of cold, fresh air and shook his head to clear the foggy dream that still blocked his vision. Tree branches and leaves slowly came into focus, sparkling as low rays of sunlight hit the droplets of water covering them. He shivered. Apparently the droplets of water covered him as well. He shook his feathers out and fluffed them up over his body. There, now he was awake!
The loud call startled Cheeper. He recognized that voice—it was Sarah. Peering through the leaves, Cheeper saw Sarah and Mom coming his way, each clothed in a fuzzy robe, their disheveled hair framing their worried faces. Suddenly the recollection of the night before flooded back, and Cheeper quickly gave an answering call to his family.
“I heard him, Mom, I heard him!” Sarah grabbed her mom’s arm and pulled her in the direction of the call.
Moving across the branch until he was out in the open, Cheeper continued to answer Mom and Sarah’s calls until they finally spotted him. He was glad to see them, and fluttered willingly down to Sarah’s outstretched hand. Soon he was cuddled in her hands. After that he noticed that she was careful to not toss him into the air near any trees.
Wow, what a difference! Doesn’t this style of writing add so much more depth and interest to a story? I’d love your feedback on the edits I’m making!