A few weeks ago I was asked to expand on ‘telling’ emotions in prose, vs ‘showing’ emotion through Deep POV. Buckle up, buttercups. 
Telling emotion in prose: He was angry
Showing emotion in prose: An angry flush stained his cheeks and he balled his fists.In the first example, we name the emotion, but also show the reader what that emotion looks like. This is just one way to show vs tell when it comes to emotion, and it’s generally the first layer.
 
Telling emotion in prose: He was angry
Showing emotion in prose: He flexed his hands, balling them into fists as a crimson flush stormed up his neck.In the second example, we use angry/ready-for-battle language (stormed) instead of naming the emotion, but understand he’s angry. This is the second layer when showing emotion.
Both of the above examples are simple show vs tell. Show vs tell is a hot debate, and I get it. Trust me, there are places where you should absolutely tell instead of show–time skips, laundry lists of description that tell us every miniscule detail of what the character is doing. But when it comes to emotion, show is King. Writing is, however, art, and you should always write from your heart. But you can’t truly write from your heart if you don’t convey that emotion to the reader. Show is how you do this.
So, it can take years to master show vs tell (DAMN IT, MARIA), or months (PHEW!). That all depends on you, and the work you put in. But then there’s yet another layer to tackle.
That next layer is Deep POV. Deep POV is where, regardless of first or third person, the reader is firmly inside the MC’s head–who the MC is, their personality, their wounds, trauma, their evolution as a person, their wants, desires, and feelings.
I’ve seen so many arguments about Deep POV. ‘Oh, it’s a YA thing *eyeroll*’. Untrue. It’s as present in modern Adult genre fiction (AND EVEN LITERARY) as it is in any other market. When you understand it, you can recognize it anywhere. So, why is it used?
In today’s publishing climate, with so many books available through e-book, self-pub, Indie, and Traditional publishing, it’s VITAL to hook that reader and suck them in from page one. We’ve become a society used to ‘want it NOW’ & a short attention span. I’m aware this isn’t true for all consumers, or readers. I grew up on classics, 19th century gothic, and even King. I still enjoy most of those books. But because of the shift in consumerism, publishing shifted, and now 30 pages of setting a scene means alienating the majority of readers.

I’ve gone on about what Deep POV is. Now, how to execute. *cracks knuckles* I see this question a LOT:

“In Deep POV, do I italicize or NOT italicize thoughts?”

The answer is, if you’re executing in Deep POV, there ARE no thoughts to italicize, because those thoughts are already part of the prose. (Don’t tear your hair out. Bear with me).

‘Like hell I will,’ she thought. “Sure, Jim.”1st person: Like hell I will. This guy’s got some balls. “Sure Jim…”

3rd Person: Hell would freeze over before Trace did this guy’s work. “Sure, Jim.” (11

That’s a start. Here’s a good resource: Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point of View, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.

Now, back to the original question.

We’ve discussed showing emotions. Now on to showing emotion through Deep POV. First, a how-to, then examples.

1: Learn who your character really is. Pretend you’re a therapist. Who are they? What makes them tick? What are their circumstances? On the surface, what’s their trauma?

By trauma here, I mean the thing that haunts them. An incident, a lost loved one, etc.

2. Now that you have your initial profile, it’s time to dig deeper. WHY does that trauma haunt them? This brings us into the realm of the Emotional Wound. Pick up ‘The Emotional Wound Thesaurus’ by @AngelaAckerman and @beccapuglisi if you haven’t already.

3. After you’ve read all about the Emotional Wound, and used the worksheets, then identified your character’s wound from the wound profiles in that amazing book, you will now have an in-depth idea of who your character is.

Next. Become the character. Get inside their head.

4. Now it’s time to get real. How aware are you of balling your fists? That a flush storms up your neck? I don’t know about you, but I’m not always conscious until it makes me uncomfortable. And what makes us so uncomfortable? That physical reaction triggers a memory/feeling.
Armed with your complete character profile, and now attempting to be a ‘method writer’ (like a method actor, where you become your character), You’re ready to REALLY connect your reader to your MC. Which means it’s time to revamp my early examples.
1. Ted flexed his hands, balling them into fists as a crimson flush stormed up his neck. Breathe in for Jen. Out for his baby girl. But he was the one who held them, who waited, who watched the life drain from their eyes an hour before the ambulance arrived.
2. Ted flexed his hands, balling them into fists as a crimson flush stormed up his neck. Nobody said that shit to him. Not since he’d made Billy Braiden regret his damn mouth in 8th Grade. This guy, he didn’t know who the hell Ted was. But he was about to find out.
Those were two different examples, both Deep POV, both with the same physical (visceral) show, but with two different triggers that completely changed the scene. To summarize, you need:
1. A character profile
2. Dig DEEP into your character’s wound…the thing that contributes to their trauma/prevents them from dealing w/h trauma
3. Develop character Voice
4. Connect emotion to not only the character, bt what’s happening in the scene.
5. Get in MC’s head
If you need more help with Deep POV, or any element of craft, I offer affordable one-on-one coaching sessions, and I have August availability. Just visit my homepage for details.
Signing off,
Maria.

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