Chronicling The Craft: Draft #2 Revisions – 80% Complete

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Revising for Deep Point of View, Plus Another Excerpt from The Keeper’s Curse

“Chronicling The Craft” is an article series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, starting with the first draft and now into revisions. Each article contains a progress update as well as writing / revising tips and excerpts from the updated draft. Today’s installment celebrates 80% completion of Draft #2 of THE KEEPER’S CURSE.

Well, this Chronicle is a bit overdue. XD I had hoped to post this when I reached the 70% percent mark for Draft #2. But between the December holidays, my 2-week blogging hiatus, and delays in drafting this post, we’re celebrating not 70% or 75%, but 80%. That’s not such a bad thing, though… because you know what it means, right?

Yes... I think I see it, too, Jack... :D

Yes… I think I see it, too, Jack… 😀

Yes. I’m on the home stretch. I’ve reached the point where I can safely say, “I’M ALMOST DONE – AGAIN!!” (*fistpumps*) Honestly, the thought of closing in on the finish sends thrills up and down my spine… Yet it’s also overwhelming, because it means I’ll need to start thinking about Draft #3 soon.

Wow. I think I just deflated my own balloon of happiness. Anyways…

Considering how close I am to the end, I think this will be the second-to-last Chronicle for this go-round. So, the next time you see a Chronicling The Craft post, Draft #2 will be FINISHED. 😀  In the meantime, let’s get to the 80% progress report, followed by Today’s Tip and a new excerpt for your feedback.

The 80% Progress Report

On Sunday, I finished Page 314, which comes during Chapter 29. Here’s how the numbers look now:

Total Word Count:115,555 (2883 cut since the previous update, 16,158 since revisions began)

Total Page Count: 389 (3 cut since the last update, 52 since revisions began)

At this rate, Draft #2 will be well under 115K when it’s complete. That was my target, so I’m super-pleased that I’m almost there. That said, this baby is still too long. Some chapters will need serious trimming (as much as 500 to 1000 words) during Draft #3. But let’s leave that as food for thought. Right now, let’s CHARGE!

Hobbit Charge GIF


Speaking of the final charge, I’ve set a “deadline” of March 31st for finishing Draft #2. It seems doable with my current schedule and pace. But if I need an extra week or two, it won’t be the end of the world.

CTC 80 Percent Notes photo sm_3

Anyone want to try reading my handwriting? 😉

Also, remember the “Self-Edit Saver” Revision Checklist that debuted here last summer? I’ve continued using it during this revision cycle, and it’s been incredibly useful for keeping track of all the changes I want to make. I don’t know what I would have done without it! I’ve also been taking notes for upcoming scenes at the end of and between revising sessions. (See the above photo for an example.) This has helped me remember other revision ideas that come to me “on the fly” (ones that aren’t on my checklist, in other words) and improve my productivity. And I’m all for teaching myself how to write and revise smarter!

Today’s Tip: How to Revise Your Story to Achieve Deep Point of View

The Keeper’s Curse has gone through a few point of view changes in its lifetime. I started off with third-person, but grew dissatisfied with it because it kept my protagonist Eva at a distance. I felt like I was struggling to bring her to life. So, I switched to first-person, and the story has truly benefited from that change. Now, with Draft #2, I’m finishing the shift from third-person to first-person while working on a technique known as “deep point of view” (Deep POV).

What is Deep POV, you might ask? It’s a type of narration that relies on showing as opposed to telling, so the reader can experience the story with the protagonist(s). In other words, you become the character. You climb inside her head and write in such a way that readers live vicariously through her, feeling her emotions, understanding her worldview, seeing what she sees, smelling what she smells, etc. It can be intense and intimate, but it can also make the story more moving and exciting for your audience.

Deep POV isn’t limited to certain viewpoints or verb tenses. Published authors have successfully used it with first-person (I, me, my) and third-person (he / she, his / her, him / her) narration, and with past or present tense. That said, Deep POV isn’t for every writer. Perhaps it’s not right for a particular story, or you don’t feel comfortable writing from such a visceral perspective. That’s OK! However, if you’ve considered using Deep POV and you’re preparing to revise your manuscript, now is a good time to try it.

Of course, the clearest way of showing how to revise using Deep POV is through examples. So, with each of the following keys, I’ll feature brief samples from each draft of TKC. Draft #1 will represent “Distant POV” (a.k.a. not Deep POV), and Draft #2 will be “Deep POV.”

Key #1: Limit Dialogue Tags By Using Reaction Cues

In Deep POV, dialogue tags such as “he said,” “she shouted,” or “I whispered” are almost nonexistent. Do they help identify the speaker? Absolutely. Are they necessary? Not always. Instead, consider replacing dialogue tags with reaction cues such as body language, vocal quality, gestures, and other movements. These can clue readers in on a character’s personality or emotions while maintaining a genuine feel to the story.

Here are some tricks for effectively limiting dialogue tags and/or replacing them with reaction cues:

  • Place a character’s dialogue in the same paragraph as their corresponding actions. You never want readers to be confused about which character is speaking at any given time. So, if Character A says something and Character B responds with both action and dialogue, make Character B’s content a new paragraph.
  • In some cases, refrain from using reaction cues if the same characters are exchanging dialogue. Adding cues to every paragraph can bulk up your word count significantly. See if you can avoid using cues for a short stretch of dialogue while maintaining each character’s distinct voice. That said, this trick works best with dialogue between two characters. If a scene requires more characters, reaction cues for each speaker will be necessary. (Remember, you don’t want to confuse readers as to who’s speaking.)
  • Be selective about the amount of reaction cues you use. Too many can have the same effect as “purple prose”: They can slow the story’s pace, make paragraphs longer than necessary, and increase the word count. Therefore, choose what you want to show with care. If a paragraph contains an overabundance of reaction cues, consider deleting one or two of them.

Distant POV, from Draft #1:

“But what’s a Bhadurak?” Willem’s voice stumbled over the last word as he pronounced it.

Vandar wore a look of amusement. He crouched down beside the Mountain Boy. “You’ve never heard the word in Commontongue before, have you?” Turning to me, he said, “What do the Mountain Folk call the Bhadurak in their language?”

“Vandar,” I warned.

“He asked us a question, Eva. It would be rude for us to not answer it.”

Deep POV, from Draft #2:

Willem grimaced. “But I don’t understand. What is a… Bhadurak?”

Shivers ran rampant as footsteps sounded closer behind me. When Vandar reached us, he crouched beside Willem, his expression emotionless. “You’ve never heard the word in Commontongue, have you? Perhaps Councilor Isonyeva can translate it for you.”

“Vandar – ”

“He asked us a question, Eva. It would be rude of us to not answer it.”

Key #2: Eliminate Sensing or Thinking Verbs

Sensing and thinking verbs are considered examples of “telling,” not “showing.” Thus, when revising for Deep POV, try to “show” what the character is thinking, smelling, seeing, etc. without actually using the verbs. This can often be achieved by using your word processor’s “Find” or “Search” function, selecting which instances of sensing or thinking verbs should go, and editing or rewriting as needed.

For clarity’s sake, sensing verbs are action words appealing to the five senses:

  • He / she / I smell(s)
  • He / she / I taste(s)
  • He / she / I see(s)
  • He / she / I hear(s)
  • He / she / I feel(s) (as in touching something tangible, or being touched)

Thinking verbs, on the other hand, are action words dealing with thought processes:

  • He / she / I think(s)
  • He / she / I wonder(s)
  • He / she / I know(s)
  • He / she / I realize(s), and so on

Remember that your goal with Deep POV is to be the protagonist. If she thinks she’s being followed, would “She thought someone was following her” or “Someone was following her” get a stronger reaction from readers? Even better, which one makes you tense up? By writing what the protagonist experiences as if you’re her, you’ll pull readers further into the story without building a filter between then and your character.

That said, be cautious with which instances of sensing or thinking verbs you eliminate. It’s easy to fall into a “trigger-happy” pattern with the “Delete” button. Instead, read over each instance and consciously decide whether it should stay or go. There’s nothing wrong with sensing or thinking verbs appearing in dialogue or excerpts of “written text” from the story world. However, when the protagonist describes her observations or shares her thoughts with readers, that’s when you should consider such revisions.

Distant POV, from Draft #1:

Aurek nodded thoughtfully, then picked up the large piece of parchment lying next to him and brought it under the candlelight. I saw then that it was indeed a map, but not one of any of the Great Isle’s realms. Instead, it showed a labyrinth of pathways within a confined space, like secret passages inside a castle.

Deep POV, from Draft #2:

I squinted through the candlelight. Indeed the map did not depict mountain ranges, forests, or rivers. Instead, it showed a labyrinth of pathways within a confined space, like secret passages inside a castle.

Key #3: Use Reaction Cues Instead of Naming Emotions 

This last technique has been the bane of my writing existence – because it’s so tempting, and so easy, to write phrases like “I was surprised,” “The wolf terrified her,” or “Anger boiled inside him.” However, by stating the character’s emotion, you’ve hopped into “telling” territory. How do you return to the “showing” side? By leaving out the emotion’s name completely, and relying on your character’s reaction.

Think about your own emotions. How do you react when you’re sad? Frightened? Ecstastic? What gestures or movements show those emotions outwardly? What kinds of thoughts occur in each instance? How does the feeling manifest itself internally (e.g., sensations in a particular body part, taut or relaxed muscles, taste in one’s mouth)? This last one (internal reaction) is especially important in Deep POV, because it draws readers deeper under the protagonist’s skin. We don’t merely know how she feels – we experience the feeling with her.

So, instead of “I was surprised,” you could write “I gasped” or “A sudden coldness struck my core.” Or, instead of “Anger boiled inside him,” you could say “He balled his hands into fists” or “Sickness seared through him”. A single phrase or sentence that describes the character’s immediate reaction gives readers another chance to connect with that character, and possibly feel those sensations and emotions as they occur.

If you want to try replacing stated emotions with external or internal reactions, start by asking yourself, “How does this character feel right now? How would she react? What internal sensation reflects her strongest emotion?” This can be challenging, so I highly recommend getting Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s Emotion Thesaurus. It can help you find fresh ways of expression character emotions, from physical movements to thought processes and physiological sensations.

Distant POV, from Draft #1:

I let my sights drift to the map again. Somehow I couldn’t shake the feeling that, despite everything he had said, Aurek was still withholding the entire truth from me. Why would he dance around it now and not when we played our daily game? Maybe he had been all along, without me realizing it. Discouraged, I sighed and rested my chin on my knuckles. Was I wrong to trust him if earning his was a game he forced me to play?

Deep POV, from Draft #2:

Foreboding crept along my skin. Everything about Aurek’s demeanor – his reluctance to look me in the eye, the uneasy stretch in his words, the way he clutched his pipe by its bowl – screamed secrecy. What was he withholding from me and Gidion? Why would he dance around the truth now if he was willing to share it with me during Temiro Ganoli?

Most Importantly, Make Sure You Know Your Protagonist Well

The better you understand your protagonist, the more genuine your writing from Deep POV will be. Her history, goals, and motivations as just as crucial as her personality, unique voice, and worldview. So, whether you’re preparing to write a first draft or undergo heavy revisions, take time to interview your protagonist and discover the details that will help you “become” her when you write.

For example, how does your character speak? How does she carry herself when she walks? Do these habits change with her emotions? Also, what kinds of biases does she have regarding her world and different cultures, belief systems, etc.? What does she think about herself? Does she care about how other people view her? Rhay Christou’s post about Deep POV at Writers In The Storm or Sky and Cait’s Beautiful People archives have other great questions you can use.

One last thing about Deep POV: It’s challenging to pull off, but it can be rewarding when you nail itit’s done right. Sometimes I get stuck on my revisions, or I forget to employ the above tips. Adopting new writing habits is like reminding yourself to stop biting your fingernails. (Oh, do I know what that’s like!) You’re teaching yourself to write in a new, hyper-vulnerable way. If you do try Deep POV, be patient with yourself. It may take more than one draft to catch all the necessary changes. That’s one of the reasons why TKC will need a third draft before it’s ready for beta-readers. However, when I look back on the instances where I did employ those tricks, I’m pleased with how they turned out.

The three keys above are only a handful of tips for achieving Deep POV. For more details, check out these great articles from She’s Novel, Jeni Chappelle, and Writers In The Storm.

Excerpts To Compare: A Scene from Chapter 21 of The Keeper’s Curse

Do today’s excerpts look familiar? They’re actually the complete scenes that use the examples from Key #3 above. See what kinds of changes you notice when you compare them, and let me know the following:

  1. What general comments do you have on the Draft #2 excerpt?
  2. Do you think Draft #2’s excerpt is an improvement over Draft #1’s? Why or why not?
  3. If you were reading the full manuscript, would the end of the Draft #2 version compel you to keep reading?

Flourish 1


I found Aurek and Drasten on the cobblestone path leading to Benolav’s courtyard, their backs toward me as they talked. Drasten heard my booted footsteps on the stones first. The calm expression on his face turned to fire when he turned and saw me. “What do you want?” he barked. “Can’t you see we’re having a private conversation?”

I suppressed a groan. Drasten’s loathing was the last thing I wanted to endure that day. “Then I’ll wait until you’ve finished. I need to speak to Aurek.”

“No, you won’t. You’ll be a good Councilor for once and get back inside that castle.” Drasten started toward me. “I warned you not to go near my brother – ”

“And I told her not to listen to you, you oaf.” Aurek grabbed his brother by the shoulder and whirled him around to face him. “She’s doing us a massive favor. And unless you think you can find us another translator, you keep your mountain-mouth shut and your hands and weapons off of her. Understood?”

“Understood.” Drasten shook off Aurek’s grip, looking more annoyed than intimidated. He stomped back to the castle, glowering at me as he passed by.

Aurek shook his head. “He’ll never learn. And they say every family has its mule.” He brightened as his eyes met mine. “You said you needed to speak with me?”

I steadied myself with a deep breath. “Gidion said you want to leave tomorrow.”

Aurek’s hands went to his hips. “And you’re here to tell me that we shouldn’t.”

“Because I need more time. We found nothing when we researched the rune books yesterday. Gidion must have told you that. We’ll look through another row of shelves today, but I can’t guarantee – ”

“Then why aren’t you in the library now so we can find the runes before tonight’s banquet so we can leave at dawn?”

The deliberateness in Aurek’s answer struck me cold. He had been prepared for my rebuttal, and he wasn’t about to budge. I ran a hand through my autumn-streaked hair. “Aurek, we might not find the runes today. I’m not even certain we’ll find a book on ancient Fae here. But I need more than one day to determine that.”

“I don’t have another day to give you, Eva.” Impatience dripped from Aurek’s voice as he stepped closer. “Every day we’re here, we waste time that we could have spent on the road. Any more delays, and we might not get there until winter.”

“But we’re just seven days away from the Cavern!” I thrust a finger in the direction of the Raziurs. “We’ll be there before autumn starts in two weeks. Why are you even thinking about winter?”

Aurek’s throat rumbled with a half-sigh, half-growl. He turned away, his body rigid as he massaged his forehead. Confusion and frustration rendered me speechless as I watched him. Why was he being so stubborn? It wasn’t the first time he had stonewalled my suggestions, but this was uncalled for. And what was the urgency? Questions spun in my head until one turned itself over in time with my heartbeat. Was Aurek hiding something from me? If he was, how could he trust me with translating his map but not with the truth?

Steadying myself with a deep breath, I walked over to Aurek, stopping just shy of his shoulder. “Aurek,” I said in a softened tone, “we all want to finish this mission sooner rather than later. But we’re not bound to be there by a given day, and you must have known we’d run into delays. This map is another one. If you truly need those ciphers on your map translated before we enter the Cavern, you have to give me the time I need to do that. I can help you only if you let me. Please.”

Aurek was silent. His gaze was fixed on the cobblestones, his arms crossed over his chest so tightly that I thought his powerful, stone-like figure would crack. I wet my lips, knowing how I wanted – and needed – to end my appeal yet afraid of his reaction. “Aurek, please. Why do you want to leave so soon? Maybe if you told me, I’d understand – ”

“How many days?”

My resolve melted. Any hope I’d had that he’d open up to me dissipated. “Two? Maybe three?”

In a heartbeat I saw my mistake of giving him options. So did Aurek. “Two days,” he said before I could elaborate further. “Two days, and then we leave for the Cavern.” He spun on his heel then and strode toward the castle, leaving me too dumbstruck to follow him inside.

Flourish 1


No longer hungry, I headed for the keep’s front entrance and hurried down the steps. The western sunrise behind us had begun to cast veils of rose-lavender light over the Hearthstone’s exterior. Aurek and Drasten stood on the cobblestone driveway that ringed the courtyard’s lone willow tree, their backs facing me as they spoke in low voices. Drasten heard my footsteps first. He turned, and his calm expression turned into a snarl. “What do you want?”

I staked my hands on my hips. That oaf was not going to intimidate me anymore. “I need to speak to Lord Kolsteg.”

“Go back inside. You’ll have to wait – ”

“Drasten.” Aurek’s frigid tone turned the name into a warning. “She’s a Councilor of Selanaan. You’ll address her properly no matter how much it displeases you.” He looked my way, then Drasten’s. “Go.”

Drasten’s nostrils flared. He shoved past me and stomped into the keep.

Aurek shook his head. “And Ondrus claims I don’t have a child to take care of.” He approached me then, his eyes soft and bright. “I’m sorry we didn’t see each other much yesterday. I didn’t expect King Benolav to be so… conversing, and time ran away from us.”

I rubbed my arm where Drasten had pushed me. “It’s all right. I was occupied as well.”

“So I was told. Will you go back to the library today?”

“Yes. That’s why I wanted to speak with you.” Heart thundering, I steadied myself with a breath. “Gidion said you want to leave tomorrow.”

The warmth Aurek had emanated fled with his hardened expression. “And?”

Sweet dielen above, he had expected me to question him. I tried not to clench my teeth. “I need more time. If Gidion told you I’d gone to the library, then he must have told you I had no luck finding anything about ancient Fei.”

“Eva, we may be welcome here, but we cannot overstay that welcome. Every day we’re here, we waste another day’s ride to the Cavern.”

“But we’re only one week away! It won’t kill us to spend a few days researching.”

Aurek reached into his trouser pocket – most likely for his pipe – but came up empty-handed. “Do you know what my men and I have gone through for this mission? Our Suderese friends and other Mountain Folk told us we were possessed to seek the relics. We barely earned enough financial support. Now we’ve grown impatient from all the delays.”

A fist of emotion twisted in my chest. “You call this a delay? Did you think I could translate the ciphers overnight? That I’m well versed in every Great Isle language in existence?”

“That’s not… ” He looked away, massaging his forehead. “What I meant was that we’d hoped to have reached the Cavern by now.”

His admission knocked the breath out of me. I stared at him, numb until the words spilled from my lips. “Aurek, what’s wrong? You’ve shown me kindness and friendship. You’ve helped me change my mind about your people. But ever since I convinced you to come here – no, ever since you gave me the map – you’ve changed. You act as though we’re late to the Cavern, as though you’re hiding something. Why?”

Aurek turned his back, a growl rumbling in his throat. Any hope that he would open up to me fluttered away like ash in the wind. Yet my resolve held firm. I had come for an explanation; I would not leave without one.

I crept toward Aurek until I stood by his shoulder, close enough to smell the pine and smoke scents still clinging to him. “I trusted you with my truth – an awful truth – and you forgave me. Now it’s your turn to trust me with yours. Tell me, please.”

Aurek fixed his gaze on the cobblestones, his arms crossed over his chest so tightly that I swore his powerful figure would crack. “How many days?”

The tension within me slackened. Had I convinced him? “Two? Perhaps three?”

In a wing-flick I saw my mistake. So did Aurek. “Two days. Then we leave for the Cavern.” He spun around and strode toward the keep, leaving me too dumbstruck to follow him.

What do you think of the excerpts above? Do you think the Draft #2 excerpt is an improvement over the Draft #1 excerpt?

Also, which kind of viewpoint are you using for your current WIP? How did you decide this? Do you find it easier to write in first person or third person? 

47 thoughts on “Chronicling The Craft: Draft #2 Revisions – 80% Complete

  1. Draft #2 was definitely an improvement, in my opinion. The description of the setting at the beginning was a plus, which helped in the visualization of the scene. Aurek and Eva’s secrets are hinted at, which builds enough suspense to make me want to know all about them. Drasten’s behaviour seems more acceptable in draft #2 as well.
    I’m yet to start working on my novel, but I’ve chosen 3rd person Deep POV for it. It wasn’t much of a choice because I’m uncomfortable with 1st person.
    Congratulations on reaching the home stretch! 🙂 Also, you seem to be adept at using appropriate GIFs from almost everything that I like. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the feedback, Nandini! It’s weird, I was reading Draft #2’s version again this morning, and I still see areas I want to tweak. (I guess that’s the editor in me…?) But I’m glad you think it’s an improvement over the original.

      And yes, there are plenty of secrets flitting around in this story. 😉

      It sounds like you made the right decision for your choice of POV. Not every writer feels comfortable writing in 1st person, unless they want the challenge. Are you in the plotting / planning stages of your WIP?

      Thank you! *lol* I had actually found the Dwarves charge gif on someone else’s blog post recently – and I just KNEW I’d want to use it at the first chance I had.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s definitely the editor in you. When I read my own work, I always feel it could be better and I get caught up in trying to fix it. That’s why I took to blogging. It’s taught me not to agonize over every word. That doesn’t mean I don’t do 2 revisions, but I’ve learnt to let go a little. However, I’m sure I’ll fuss over every little detail of my book till I’m satisfied with it. Perhaps draft #3 is required, but that’s left to you. I can tell you for sure that this is a story I’d want to read.
        I suppose you could say that. I have this idea in my head that has a protagonist and a good premise. I’m working on world-building and creating more characters. It’s a fantasy story, so it needs a little bit of planning before jumping in.
        Thank you for the advice, both in this post and others (especially about characterization). I’m still young and learning, so I appreciate all the help I can get.
        Oh, I’m a HUGE Middle-Earth and Disney fan! I’m itching to do a post where I get to use LoTR GIFs. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m the same way with blog posts, actually. Once I finish them, I’ll allow myself only one glance-through before I call it “done.” Otherwise, I’ll tinker with it forever.

        My biggest problem with editing is that I have a (really bad) habit of going back to previous chapters I’ve worked on and finding more things to tweak, when I know I should be focusing on finishing the current chapter instead. I’m trying to teach myself to NOT do this… but it’s like an itch. Sometimes I can’t help but scratch it. :S

        Oh yes, a third draft will be necessary before anyone looks at this crazy story. *lol* But thank you for your comments, Nandini. They’re reassuring. 🙂 And I’m glad you found this and the other posts helpful, too.

        Oooooh, nice! That’s a fun place to be, exploring the story’s world and characters and all their possibilities. What’s the general premise, if you don’t mind sharing?

        Yes!! Middle-Earth and Disney! 😀 What other franchises / series are you a fan of?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love Harry Potter! I also enjoy animated movies. 🙂
        I’m still vacillating between two options for my story. I think I need more characters to decide. I’ll share once I’m through with it. I somehow feel it’s not good enough yet. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent article, Sara:). I really enjoy reading your thorough step-by-step approach to your editing and congratulations on reaching this current milestone. Yes… the second version is far sharper, punchier and the character intent much less woolly – you’ve done a great job. I have recently been writing in first person pov, but there are a couple of books in the planning stage that will require third person viewpoint in due course. It often depends on the story structure, as much as personal inclination – I do think successfully writing in first person takes a lot more technical adroitness, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your feedback, Sarah! 🙂

      Actually, I got nervous when I saw the word count for this post. So I deleted another Deep POV Key (there were originally four, not three) and chose shorter excerpts for Key #3 to shorten it a little bit. Emphasis on “a little bit”! :S

      I agree, different stories we’ll work will require different POV styles. The novella I’m planning to write this fall will be in 3rd person, since there will be two protagonists. I’ve read dual POV stories before where both characters narrated from 1st person, and sometimes I got confused as to who was “speaking”…. (*blushes*)

      So, based on what you’ve said here, do you find 1st person more difficult to write in than 3rd person?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on 80% Sara! Woohoo!!! (Writer high-five)
    I actually went the opposite way. I wrote my first several drafts of Waist in first person multiple, then decided to re-write everything in third person close. It was hard to do the re-write, but I think it was the right choice. I’m glad I had the experience of writing “deep,” as you say, when I was working in first person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Leanne! 😀

      Funny how things changes with point of view, isn’t it? But I think it’s a good thing to try different POV styles – not only for an individual story’s sake, but to challenge ourselves as writers. I’m glad you’ve given both 1st and 3rd person a try, and that you’ve found the “style” that fit Waist best.

      Did you have any comments or thoughts on the excerpts at the end?


  4. Oh, great tips! I’m not totally sure how “deep” I need or want my PoV to be, but I like these tips anyhow. I already have fun playing around with dialogue tags—trying to decide when I need a dialogue tag (and then when I want an “invisible” tag like “she said” or something a little more noticeable like “she whined”), when I can get away with blocking (I believe that’s what you were referring to, about using actions to make it clear who’s talking), and then when I can get away with no dialogue tag at all, and just let the reader know who’s talking simply by what’s being said. (Those are fun to do, if more difficult.)

    Congratulations on the 80% mark! That’s got to be awfully exciting.

    Just out of curiosity, do you have a preference between first person and third? I’m always curious how other people feel, because when I first started writing, I started with first-person without really thinking about it, but now I feel more confident in my abilities with writing third.
    Of course, certain projects need one over the other, so I do still try to write both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely tricky to determine how we want to explore a character’s POV. Some of the tips above will work for some writers, but not everyone.

      I actually didn’t know that the “trick” of using actions to identify the speaker had a name (blocking). You just taught me something new. 🙂 And I agree, it’s more difficult to block than use dialogue tags. It means imagining what the character is doing while they’re speaking – and sometimes that’s hard to picture.

      Thank you!! I shouldn’t say that I’m looking forward to reaching the end, because it sounds like I’m not enjoying the process when in fact I really am… But it’s so exciting to be closing in on the end, and going back to some of (what I think are) the most exciting scenes in the WIP.

      I don’t know if I have a preference between 1st or 3rd person… I’ve written in both before, and I don’t mind reading either type. My only hangup with 1st person is how often authors resort to starting their sentences with pronouns (I, me, my). The narrative can sound a bit “self-absorbed” when this happens, if you know what I mean…? I’ve been trying to avoid this problem in my story, and Key #2 (eliminating the sensing and thinking verbs) has helped a lot with that.

      “Of course, certain projects need one over the other, so I do still try to write both.”

      Very true. The story often dictates what kind of POV will work best. Our intuition will always tell us which one to use.

      Thanks again for stopping by, Shim! Did you have any comments on the excerpts from TKC’s drafts, btw?


  5. Congratulations on making so much progress! And thank you for sharing some seriously awesome writing tips, I never thought of a lot of these things. I liked Draft #1 but once I read the comparison with Draft #2 I definitely prefer it, it reads like a book I would really love. One of the reasons I love the Lunar Chronicles series is that the author focuses on all the little details and I definitely saw that in Draft #2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww, thank you, Alise! Especially for your input on the excerpts. I agree that details are important and can help turn a good story into a better one, but writers should also be careful with how many details they include. (That’s something I’m still trying to teach myself as this draft goes along…. )


  6. What a helpful post! I’ll need to come back to this often. Thank you for these insightful, in-depth tips! And so many congratulations on making it to 80%!! *tosses confetti* Don’t let that balloon pop anytime soon. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The new draft is a vast improvement from the old. Good job! It’s much more deep and I feel like I know Eva much more. I write in third person limited for most of my stories. First just doesn’t come easily for me. I’ve always had trouble with it. XD So exciting that you’re nearly finished! Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tori! 🙂

      Hmmm. I’ve had conversations with people here and on Twitter lately about 1st person vs 3rd person, and a lot of them have said the same thing. It guess it really comes down to comfort level with certain POVs and what the story / series specifically calls for. What do you think?

      Ahhhhhhh I can’t wait to get the end!!! But patience, Sara. Patience. *lol*


      • I agree. I have a novel that I’d like to write in first person, but for most of mine I believe third is best. Though I am working on a flash fic in first person, then again I may change it to third. I’m unsure at this point. XD

        Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s so exciting that you’ve hit the 80% mark–you’re almost there!

    Great explanation & tips for writing deep POV! 🙂 I love deep POV and try to use it in my own writing. I feel like it makes the writing more subtle and mature if that makes sense. And I love how it brings the reader closer to the character.

    You’re doing such a great job with the improvements on these drafts! Draft #2 sounded so much better with the deep POV, and reads much smoother. I definitely felt closer to Eva and the writing had more personality. Also, I liked how Draft #2 was less cluttered and you had lines of dialogue without speech tags or character actions.

    Keep up the awesome work, lady! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kaitlin! 🙂

      You’re using Deep POV in your writing too? Nice! It definitely requires more thought that limited / more distant POV styles, but I’m growing to like it more and more for the same reasons you listed.

      And thank you for your comments on the excerpts! I really wanted to show a scene or page that showed the Deep POV revisions at work. So I’m glad you noticed it, and that you think it’s working better as a result of those changes.


  9. What general comments do you have on the Draft #2 excerpt?

    Generally, I can definitely say that Draft 2 is an improvement. Although I think some of the dialogue itself (the actual words and content) was slightly weaker, I can tell that you’re continuing to flesh out your characters and their inner-workings, so I don’t think it’s too big of a deal and you can strengthen them further when you’re not concentrating so much on the shift to deep POV.

    My biggest suggestion, though: perhaps keep a line about the mistake being giving Aurek options? Because if I’d read Draft 2 first, I might have been confused as to what the “mistake” actually was. Then again, given that it’s just an excerpt, it might be understood more with more context. So basically while I think you’re doing an excellent job to your shift to deep POV (at least, in this bit), you want to be careful that you don’t go so deep that the character knows things that the reader doesn’t. (That was the number one thing I learned from my last fiction professor, funnily enough; if you’re deep, then the character can’t very well keep secrets from the reader, right?)

    Overall, I’m intrigued. Seriously, there’s tension and conflict enough in this scene that I can bet the rest of your novel’s riddled with it as well. It’s not overbearing, either, but just subtle enough to get my heart beating a little faster. I’d love to read more (and I’d love to read whatever happened before this!), so if you get to your beta stage and find yourself short, count me in (although I bet you’ve got people lining up to be a part of you group!).

    Like I said, this draft is definitely stronger than the first. I can’t wait to see what the third draft looks like, seeing the kind of careful work you’re putting into it. A million times better, and definitely far less stiff. The flow is fantastic!

    For your other questions:

    My current WIP (a brand-new idea I got last week; totally taking yet another break from my long-term WIP), I’m using third person. The reasoning is: my writing has always felt more natural in third. Strangely, my CPs have always told me that they feel so much more distant from my characters when I attempt first than third, so third is a bit of a default. I’d love to give first another try, though; yet it would have to be for a novel that demands it. Besides it being a default, though, normally I’ll just start writing and see what happens; in my free write of a new idea (which I do to get a feel for the tone/voice), I just use whatever’s natural. I’ve had quite a few WIPs where I simply start writing in the first person (or even second) without noticing, and it’s not until I’m finished that I realize what I’ve done.

    But yes, third person. I definitely feel that one should attempt to go deep whenever they can when writing, though it’s not necessary (currently I’m reading THE SNOW CHILD by Eowyn Ivey, and I’ve noticed quite a number of times how much distant there is. Definitely feels intentional, and it feels natural to the story). One of my fiction professors actually beat into his students (figuratively, promise!) some of your tips; most notably, the one about not using sensing verbs. In his words: “I don’t need to be told that he/she saw something if it’s in their point of view. What they say is law. Who else would be feeling/seeing/smelling/sensing those things, if the story’s supposed to be in their perspective, anyway?”

    So it’s wonderful to see those tips and tricks again!

    Anyway, I hope I helped? I’m normally more effective at providing feedback when I have a larger piece of work. Let me know if you have any questions I haven’t addressed, or if you want to talk about it, or anything of the sort! Congrats on making it so far into your draft, Sara, and good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oops, and I just noticed that one or two of your questions made it into my response. Sorry! I copy/pasted them while I answered so I didn’t have to keep scrolling…my bad XD

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, Rae, this is an amazing response! Thank you for spending so much time on this. I would say it wasn’t necessary, but I also don’t want you to think I don’t appreciate it, because I do. 🙂

      I see your point about the “giving Aurek options” line. That’s exactly what Eva meant by making a mistake; it was just a matter of me deleting those words as I was working on Draft #2. So I’ll definitely consider adding them back in. I’ll see what I can do about strengthening the dialogue, too.

      I’d love to have you as a beta-reader! Especially after reading your comment here. Of course, it’s all a matter of finally reaching that stage, but I will keep you posted. 😉

      It’s been really interesting to talk to other writers about 1st and 3rd person lately. So far, most everyone has said that they prefer 3rd person, and find it harder to write in 1st person – which seems like the complete opposite of my experience with TKC! But I can see it from the other perspective, too. 1st person has a more vulnerable, intense feel to it, and the right kind of story has to call for it. And I already know I’ll be switching back and forth depending on the story. The novella I want to start working on when TKC is with beta-readers is already sending me 3rd person vibes.

      Again, thank you so much for such an in-depth response, Rae! Yes, it was very helpful, so please don’t worry about that.


      • I’m so glad I could help! It wasn’t a problem, I couldn’t imagine not providing feedback that has some weight to it. If you ever need/want feedback on any other excerpts, just let me know!

        Good luck with the edits (and remember that my suggestions and comments were my own opinion; take or leave them, and if you try to change them and it doesn’t sit right, follow your gut!). And hooray on beta-ing! Can’t wait to find out when it’s an option ^_^

        I definitely agree that first person has a much more vulnerable feel to it. It’s a much more raw way to tell a story, and it’s so powerful if it’s done right. It pains me when I see someone using it just because it’s common in a genre or something; the POV shouldn’t be decided based on trend, but rather what the novel itself requires.

        Good luck, sweetie! xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • Feel free to browse around the past couple Chronicles, if you’d like to look over a few more excerpts. Any CTCs pertaining to Draft #2 will have them. 😉

        Regarding beta-readers… Right now, my current thinking is it might not happen until the beginning of next year. Maybe the end of this year, depending on how Draft #3 goes… But I don’t want to ask people read it over the November / December holidays. So, it’ll still be a while, but I’ll definitely keep you posted.

        You know one “upcoming trend” in YA fantasy that boggles my mind? First-person present tense, instead of 1st person past tense. It… just… doesn’t fit the fantasy genre at all, IMO. I always think back to The Hunger Games or Divergent when I see that style. It fits those books because of the futuristic feel and the fact that each is based on a real-world setting. But… I don’t know, I’ve seen that same style in three YA fantasy books over the past year or so, and it threw me off every time. Have you noticed this, too?

        Anyways… thank you so much again, Rae. I really appreciate your feedback here. 🙂


  10. Pingback: Time Flies!: January 2016 | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  11. Draft 2 is definitely an improvement- it’s sharper and I prefer the use of deep POV. For my WIP I’m using third person limited, with an omniscient narrator (and no that is not a contradiction :p ). When I use third person limited I use deep POV and it works well. great tips by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

      • It’s not really that unusual- it’s basically what every author did it before stream of consciousness and modernism came into fashion. As for authors that merge omniscient and limited 3rd person, some examples are: Austen, Dickens, Hardy, Eliot, Collins, Dumas, Hugo, Dostoevsky etc. All have a similar technique of delving into their characters minds, but also maintaining an omniscient distance. I’m “classically” trained I guess, so it’s a natural fit for me. But it always surprises me that some people are completely unaware of this technique and even rail against it- it seems daft to me given its prominence in literature (sorry mini-rant over- I’ve just seen uneducated editors complaining about it online and it really irks me)

        Liked by 1 person

      • And you know what? If that’s the style you’d like to write in, then go for it. 😉 Omniscient-limited 3rd person isn’t commonly used anymore, but if it’s the style you think your WIP calls for, I won’t argue against it.

        Now that you mention those authors’ names and I’m jogging my own reading memory… Have you read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke? It’s a more recently published novel (within the past decade, I mean), but that was written in omniscient-limited 3rd person.

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha sure. No I’ve not read it, but I have read other works that were written later that use the same technique. As I said, it’s not that uncommon-some fantasy like Shadow of What was Lost (if I remember correctly) does it to a lesser degree- but thanks for the tip.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Awesome! Keep it up!
    I will have to re-check out your editing worksheets here soon. I remember they were helpful, but not until you were actually editing! As always, I admire your focus and dedication with this.

    I really enjoyed reading the excerpts, and I tried to shut off my internal plot/story questions so I could just experience the difference between each draft. Sure, I want to know what is going on, but it wasn’t important for the point! Draft 1 is definitely rougher, though as Rae pointed out, there were a few details that might be important for clarity (really, this seems to be one of the hardest points of Deep First Person). Draft 2 just felt more crisp, and it grabbed me at once. I felt immersed in the scene, as opposed to just observing. The tension levels were palpable, so bravo. I would definitely like to know more about what’s going on in the scene.
    I think I was the most surprised by how different the excerpts were. The same things happened, but you wrote them in two completely different ways. Draft 1 wasn’t bad or anything, but it did look a lot weaker next to Draft 2. You seemed more in command of the story, and the characters. I had a harder time focusing on critical, line by line reading, and was more interested in the action.

    I think I’m a little too in love with omniscience to commit to first person – unless it really fits my story! I usually start in third person, unless a character’s voice screams first person at me. If I am using first person, I tend to gravitate toward multiple narrators, to show every side of a story.

    Good luck on that last 20%! You can do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I can’t tell you how excited I am to get back to it tomorrow / this weekend. The palms of my hands are practically itching!

      I’ll definitely check Draft #2’s version for clarity, like you and Rae had recommended. And I’m really glad that everyone agrees that Draft #2 is much stronger. Command / focus was one of the issues I had with Draft #1 (not just this particular scene, but in general), so I went into revisions knowing that I needed to improve on that. This part of your comment, though:

      “Draft 2 just felt more crisp, and it grabbed me at once. I felt immersed in the scene, as opposed to just observing. The tension levels were palpable, so bravo.”

      Thank you. This just feels like validation that I’m making the right choices to get this story into Deep POV, and improving it in general. 😀

      The type of narration really does seem to depend on what the story calls for. I already know the novella I want to write (the one featuring Nomaro and Eva winks*) will be in 3rd person, and most likely Deep over Limited. It just seems like a more natural fit, and probably the best way for me to manage dual POVs without confusing myself about whose perspective each chapter is from. :S


  13. I don’t know how I missed reading this post until now, but I’m glad I found it! I’m usually more diligent than that, haha. 🙂
    Okay, so yes, I’d definitely say that draft 2 is an improvement to the 1st, and the ending makes me curious to read more. It held my attention more than the 1st, as well. So cheers and well done! ^_^ Also, great advice and examples on Deep POV!
    My WIP is third-person Deep POV, because that’s what I grew up reading and find I’m more comfortable with. Although I have been liking the first-person books I read last year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* No worries. There are no expiration dates on commenting on blog posts, IMO. 😉

      Thank you! That seems to be the general consensus with Draft #2’s excerpt, so I’m really glad that things are heading in the right direction. And I’m glad you liked the POV tips as well.

      That makes sense to write in the method you’re more comfortable with and more familiar with seeing / reading. As long as it works for you, that’s what counts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, thanks. 🙂 I find it interesting how we all have different styles we’re more comfortable with. I’m glad, since it means a wide variety of books to read. 😀 Last year was my first time reading first-person books, and I’m glad I branched out.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Chronicling The Craft: Draft #2 Is DONE! | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  15. I’ve never heard the term “deep POV”, but I like it! I think this is what I already prefer and try to write. Now that I have a name for it, and I understand it better, I can use it more thoroughly. 😉

    Great post! 😀 (*she says as she sloooowly catches up on Sara’s blog xD)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  17. Pingback: Chronicling The Craft: On Beta-Readings, New Writing Projects, and the Future of This Series | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

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