Tricks to Enhance a Deep POV – Part 2
Deep POV… Part 2
Deepen POV by creating fresh comparisons
One of my favorite ways to deepen POV is to create fresh comparisons that are unique to my POV character's personality and background. Similes, metaphors, analogies—all can be given a fresh spin that enhance your character's voice.
This is another aspect of craft that keeps you from getting lazy. Clichés are nearly always the first comparisons to come to mind when we write. Don't accept that easy road. Work to make your analogies unique to your POV character. In doing so, you will deepen the POV and create memorable moments for your reader.
Match your analogies to the personality and experience of your POV character
If your hero is a western cowboy, the comparisons that mean something to him will be far different from those of a British nobleman.
Just as men and women view the world through different lenses, so do your hero and heroine. Even if they have many things in common, they still have unique personalities and perspectives. Their experiences are different. Reflect that difference in the comparisons you use in their narrative POV.
Here are two analogies from my latest book, No Other Will Do. The first is from the heroine's POV. The second from the hero's. Both involve food, but they are each unique to the character's experience.
Ever since she'd made up her mind to ask him to come, anticipation had been swelling inside her like yeasty bread dough rising on a warm windowsill. She was in desperate need of someone to punch her down and knead her back into shape.
This comparison shows her giddiness over Malachi's arrival as well as her desire to get her feelings under control. It captures her personality and experience in a much more unique way than the clichéd butterflies in the stomach.
And when she didn't need his help anymore? Malachi tried to ignore the insidious thought as he basked in the light of Emma's grateful smile, but the prospect lingered in the air between them, tainting the sweetness of the moment like rotted beef in a savory stew.
Notice how this comparison is much more raw. More male. Also, it speaks to Malachi's past. He grew up on the streets, never knowing where his next meal would come from. He often ate food that had been thrown out and therefore would have experience with the taste of rotted beef. It also shows his insecurity in believing he's not good enough for Emma, mixing the rotten with the savory.
Take the time to create something fresh
Coming up with fresh analogies can be hard work, but the payoff is huge in drawing your reader into the story and deepening their relationships with your characters. In one of my older novels, Stealing the Preacher, I have three POV characters: the hero, the heroine, and the heroine's father. In one scene, the heroine is racing on horseback to reach her father who is out with the cattle. We are in the father's POV, and as he notes her racing in, he makes a comparison.
Now, as I wrote this scene, the first comparison that came to mind was that she rode as if a pack of wild dogs were on her tail. This, of course, is a cliché. I searched and searched for a better simile. I came up blank. Finally, I dug deeper into who my POV character was. He is an ex-outlaw who's eluded the law for two decades. He's gone straight, but that outlaw blood still runs through his veins. As I pondered this character trait, the perfect comparison finally came to mind.
He twisted his neck to the side to work out a kink, and caught sight of his daughter riding down upon them as if a hangin' posse were in pursuit.
Not only does this analogy capture the POV character's personality, but it deepens the POV because that isn't something I as the author would say in narration. But it is exactly what an ex-outlaw would use as a descriptor were he relating the story.
Take a clichéd comparison and rework it with your own character in mind. Here are some to choose from:
Light as a feather
Strong as an ox
Melted like butter
Stubborn as a mule
Leave a comment with a short description of your character and your reworked cliché.
I can't wait to see what you come up with!
Christy Award finalist and winner of the ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, and Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.
Karen is kindly giving away an autographed copy of Stealing the Preacher (one of my favorites) . Be sure to leave a comment below!