Using Depth to Make Your Scenes Vivid

I came across this item: 8 Ways to Add Layers of Depth to Your Scenes from The Kill Zone. One of the best compliments I ever received about my writing was that my world was so real. I pay a lot of attention to the scenes I create and have used some of the techniques mentioned in this post so I wanted to share it.

There was one tip that I do disagree with. Number 3 – using deep POV. Not the technique mind you but the mechanic employed. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not like the over use of italics. If you have a word that you need to emphasize then italics are a good way to clue in the reader that this word means something more to the story. In the case of Deep POV the italics are used to relay what the character is thinking. My view is, in writing, if the character is not speaking it he or she is thinking it. Slapping italics on the font is just a cop out. Go ahead let your type setter convey your story if you must but as a reader I will just wish you had tried a little harder. For example look at these excerpts.

“Damn it Heather, what do you want from me.” Lucas paused waiting for a reply. I said I was sorry isn’t that enough? No reply came. “I don’t know what else I can do.”

“Damn it Heather, what do you want from me.” Lucas paused waiting for a reply. He stood like a willow tree in a breeze, hands at his sides and eyes pleading. His mind wrestled with her silence, he had already said he was sorry. The bitterness of that still clung to his tongue and yet still no reply came from Heather. “I don’t know what else I can do.”

As a reader, I get more out of the latter than the former. Yet I do read a lot and I see italics a lot, so apparently this is the norm in writing. As I said above I still think the tip is valid, just don’t over do the italics. Don’t take my word for it. Head over to the link and see what adding layers to your scenes can do for your writing.

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About Vincent A. Alascia

Vincent is the author of, "In the Presence of Gods," "Xristos: Chosen of God," and coming soon, "Undead Heart," available on Kindle and paperback, as well as works that have appeared in anthologies and online. Originally an East Coast native, he makes his home in the Phoenix area of Arizona with his wife and three attention grabbing felines. Vincent is an active member of the West Valley Writers' Workshop and an Adult Services librarian at the Maricopa County Library District Northwest Regional Library in Surprise, Arizona.
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One Response to Using Depth to Make Your Scenes Vivid

  1. Matt says:

    Interesting post! I think italics are another element that helps to define a writing style. Coming out of the “Stan Lee” school, I think internal monologue is sometimes critical to a scene, and sometimes making the character a bit more inscrutable is desirable. Both techniques bring character development in their own way.

    As with all things, go with what works for you. ^_^

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