Make Your Manuscript Sparkle

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By Anne Greene

When I wrote my book, Masquerade Marriage, I discovered the secret to making each manuscript I write come alive to my readers. In the second book of my Scottish Marriage Series, Marriage By Arrangement, I honed that secret to a fine art.

Marriage by Arrangement

I’m a great proponent of improving each manuscript I write. So, I’ve worked diligently to create a better book so readers will love, keep, and reread my books. My highest hope is for my readers to enter new worlds, meet fictional friends for life, and find a spiritual message to encourage and help them along through this life journey.

So I was excited when I discovered this secret.

During the writing of Masquerade Marriage, I thought I knew what being in deep point of view meant. I thought I wrote deep point of view. I knew I had to stay inside the character’s head. I lived inside the character’s skin. I showed nothing that the POV character couldn’t have seen. I showed only what the character saw, thought, and experienced in the moment.

Yes, I did that. But that was not enough.

While writing Marriage By Arrangement, I dove even further into deep point of view, dipping both feet into that other important realm in writing-show, don’t tell.

I discovered that in Very Deep POV, no thought or action is told. Everything is shown. So I couldn’t use words like wished, hoped, thought, felt, caused, watched, knew, wondered, realized, speculated, decided.

I couldn’t use wonderful verb phrases like happiness flashed through her, despair tugged at her, jealousy flattened her, love took her breath away.

I couldn’t write that she smiled with satisfaction, her skin prickled with fear, the explosion made her jump, the pollution caused her nose to itch, her heart beat fast with excitement.

No. Emotion by emotion, each has to be shown, not told. I’ll give just a few simple examples.

Which is better?

A – Happiness exploded inside her heart. Or…
B – She couldn’t keep a grin, almost the size of Texas, from her face. If her sneakers trod on the polished gym floor, she didn’t know it. Life couldn’t get any better.

A – Despair ground into her heart. Or…
B – She wilted at her desk, then dropped her forehead to her folded arms. There just wasn’t any point.

A – Hot jealousy burned a hole in her heart. Or…
B – Her face burned all the way to her ears. She hid her head inside her Journalism book. If he could date someone else, maybe she needed to show him that she could too.

A – Fury hit him like a locomotive at full speed. Or…
B – He slammed the door to her classroom behind him, tramped to where she sat, his shoes slapping the floor like bullets, and smacked a hand on her desk. This time, she wouldn’t get away with it.

All the As are telling. All the Bs are showing deep POV.

So, if you prefer the Bs to the As, never name the emotion. Let actions show the emotions. And add the thought inside the character’s head.

This type of Very Deep Point of View brings the book and characters to life. Do you already write Very Deep Point of View in your books? I’d love for you to comment.

Anne Greene

Award winning author Anne Greene writes action-packed, historical fiction filled with heart-warming romance. You’ll fall in love with her wounded heros and identify with her spunky heroines. Visit with her at

Comments 0

  1. Great post, Anne. I strive for the B’s, for sure. 🙂

    I will say, to keep my fingers flying across the keyboard getting closer to the THE END, I will write the A version first sometimes. Then go back turn them into B’s.

    Katy Lee

  2. Wonderful examples! This is what i still struggle with myself–using words such as “she looked”, “she knew”. But I’m also learning that there is a time and place to tell instead of show. Figuring out where that is in an MS is equally challenging. Bless you!

  3. Great tips, Anne. I teach a memoir-writing class with a section on show-rather-than-tell. May I have your permission to reproduce and handout your four examples? I will include credit to you and ACFW. Thanks a million.

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