One Writer’s Journey

February 12, 2014

POV and Description

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:25 am
Tags: , ,

description and povLast week, I read a really good post on the Muffin about writing description.  In this post, Margo Dill wrote about always keeping your POV character in mind when you are writing description.  In her example, someone’s roses are first described as beautiful.  Seen through the eyes of the POV character, they are something to be avoided, a fact he learned when he fell into them the previous summer.

Writing description from the perspective of a point of view character means understanding how that character thinks.  Here are some things to consider.

  • Senses.  What is your character’s dominant sense?  A fantasy written from the point of view of a dog, might emphasize smell.  An owl would be visually oriented, at least at night, and also focus on sound.  Even people use some senses more than others.  I’m constantly trying to track down the source of some smell or another.  My son is famous for noticing strange sounds.
  • Hobbies.  Does your character have any hobbies?  A gamer is likely to use game terms or compare things to his favorite game.  A soccer player might pepper her observations with sports terms.
  • Background.  What your character thinks of another character’s home may be influenced by where and how she lives.  A modest bungalow may look like a shake to a girl who lives in a penthouse apartment while looking like heaven to a character who lives in grandma’s basement with her parents and siblings.
  • Historic.  Historic fiction can be especially difficult.  While we would notice the stench of a medieval city, the residents wouldn’t.  What would they notice?  The height of a manor house?  The colors of a knight’s garments?
  • Circumstances.  What your character notices may also depend on what is going on in the story.  A wide lake may look peaceful one day but be a barrier to freedom on another.

Fine tune your description to suit your point of view character to give your reader a spectacular view of your setting.



1 Comment »

  1. I especially like how you connected senses to POV. I’m reading Ackerman’s A Natural History of the Senses and I feel awakened to the world around me. Now to pass that on to my characters…

    Comment by aneducationinbooks — February 12, 2014 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

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