Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review of Deep Point of View and Emotion Thesaurus

Welcome to our ACFW-SC Chapter blog! Elva Martin here with the first blog. How many books on writing craft do you have in your library? Here are two I highly recommend for 2014 if you don't have them. Both are keepers for anyone serious about improving their writing craft.

I. Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Without reservation I can say this is one of the most important craft books I have devoured this past year. It is a slim volume for about five dollars but packed with easy to assimilate information on deep point of view. It has changed my writing craft forever. My first rejection for a fiction mss was for too much telling, not enough showing. Mastering deep point of view, I've learned, can turn a telling mss into a showing one!

Nelson says it like this: "Deep point of view helps writers draw readers into each point-of-view character's mind so thoroughly that they will feel as if they're living inside the character's skin.....DPOV puts basic POV on steroids."

Here are some of Nelson's main points but you'll need to get the book for clear examples of each.

1) Nothing in a scene can be presented outside the POVC's awareness.
3) DPOV is always IMMEDIATE.
4) DPOV is not a long string of internal monologue (Inner monologue must flow naturally with external
        conversation and action.)
5) DPOV is not italicized.
6) DPOV will eliminate most problems with show/don't tell.
7) DPOV will not allow for lazy characterization.
8) DPOV polishes the voice of the POV character.
9) The expert user of DPOV will know there are times to "tell."
10) Never say he thought/she thought, felt, knew, wondered, realized, decided, speculated, wished.
          This creates narrative distance. Simply write what is.
11) Don't name the feeling, describe it.
12) Ditch prepositional telling phrases (of, with, in)
13) Don't use he/she saw, tasted, smelled, heard, simply state what he saw, tasted, heard, etc.

II. The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

This second craft book is proving to be a great blessing to me and quite a few others, especially for Nelson's #11 above. How many times have you heard "Don't name the emotion, describe it?" This helpful book covers 162 of the most common emotions from Adoration to Worry. Each entry starts with a Definition, then lists Physical Signals, Internal Sensations, Mental Responses, Cues of Acute or Long-Term (whatever emotion), then May Escalate to, and Cues of Suppressed (whatever emotion). Lastly each entry is accompanied by a Writer's Tip.

Here's a partial example for FEAR:

Definition: to be afraid of; to expect threat or danger

Physical Signals:
Face turning ashen, white, pallid
Hair lifting on the nape and arms
Body odor, cold sweats
Trembling lips and chin
(plus about two dozen other physical signals)

Internal Sensations:
An inability to speak
Shakiness in the limbs
Holding back a scream or cry
Heartbeat racing
Dizziness, weakness in the legs and knees

Mental Reactions
Wanting to flee or hide
The sensation of things moving too quickly to process
Images of what-could-be flashing through the mind
Flawed reasoning

Cues of Acute or Long-Term Fear:
Panic attacks
Heart giving out

May Escalate to:
Anger (p. 22), Terror (p. 154), Paranoia (p.114)

Cues of Suppressed Fear:
Keeping silent
Denying fear through diversion or topic change
A watery smile that's forced into place
False bravado

Writer's Tip
Prime readers for an emotional experience by describing the mood of a scene as your character enters it.

I highly recommend these two books for 2014 if you truly desire to improve your craft!

Thanks for dropping by! Be sure and leave a comment. What craft book(s) do you recommend for the New Year?  Keep writing and honing your craft!       

 Elva Cobb Martin, President, ACFW-SC Chapter

Elva Martin has founded and led* writers groups since 2007. She is a former school teacher and semi-retired minister with hard-earned degrees from Anderson University and Erskine College. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have surprisingly published her articlesShe is currently sweating over her second inspirational novel. Happy to be a mother and finally promoted to grandmother, Elva lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund writing helper (Lucy) in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site, her blog at on Twitter @Elvacobbmartin and on Face book.     *some would question the accuracy of the word led


  1. The blog looks great. Thanks Edie Melson and Elva Cobb Martin for working so hard to us to this point. Up and onward in 2014!

    1. Thanks for leaving a good comment, Lillian. We appreciate you, lady.
      Elva Martin