No writer does this intentionally, but if you're not already writing in deep point of view you are distancing yourself from your reader and should heed these helpful hints to improve your writing.
In a Romance Writers of America National Conference Workshop on
Going Deep With Point of View, Suzanne Brockmann said:
"Point of view is the camera the writer uses to tell the story to the reader. With deep POV the reader goes deep inside the character's head, eliminating the need to write
Oh, my, she thought, there's that killer dimple!
No, the writer is distancing us from the heroine.
Oh, my, there's that killer dimple! Her heart skipped a beat.
Now we are in the heroine's head. I studied photography in college, and it might be easier to explain deep point of view the way my instructor explained the use of various lenses to our class.
With a 120 mm lens for Distance:
"It was a dark and stormy night. Trees bent double from the force of the wind."
The camera is sitting on a lamp post, and the reader can see to the last the bend in the road through the author's 120mm lens, which is what an author distancing herself from the reader means.
With a Normal lens:
"It was a dark and stormy night. Wind tossed gravel against the windows. Shrubs scraped the siding of the house."
The camera is hanging around your neck, and the reader is viewing the scene through the author's 50 mm lens. Better, but the reader is still too far away.
With a Close Up lens:
Jenny jumped. "I hate storms."
Somewhere a door slammed.
"Did you feel that?"
Sam looked unconcerned. "What?"
"The house rocked."
That's deep POV. The reader is seeing everything through Jenny's eyes. Jenny's eyes are acting as a camera, and the reader sees and hears what Jenny sees and hears. There's no need for she thought, or she said. The reader is right there in the scene, feeling every emotion, hearing every sound.
If Jenny turns around, the reader turns with her, seeing the trees bending double, the rain pounding the window panes, noting the absence of traffic on the street.
Skip the Jenny thoughts, and felts, and simply describe Jenny's feelings. She sipped the hot chocolate, letting the sweet liquid warm her throat, hoping it would warm the rest of her.
Deep POV draws the reader right into the story and right inside the character's head.
Her heart raced.
There is no way a camera hanging around the heroine's neck would know that. Only the camera in her head would.
Writers are taught the use of the five senses brings intimacy to the reader. The mere mention of paste in a manuscript once brought the taste of paste to the mouth of a critique partner, so yes, it works.
Describing what a character sees without telling what he sees is more difficult, but by using deep POV you can not only see through the character's eyes, but help define the character. Would my architect hero notice the worn desk chair? Or a Herman Miller black leather desk chair that had seen better days?
With properly written deep POV you can substitute first person pronouns and not need to change much of the writing, turning the written words into internal thoughts. There is no narrator, so there is no author intrusion, and no telling. Thought, felt and wondered are unnecessary.
Give it a try. Put yourself in your heroine's skin as she enters her mother's kitchen. Describe her sensory reactions to what's in the oven. Is she reminded of another time and place?
He was angry, she was certain.
No, write: His eyes flashed, and a muscle twitched in his jaw, and the reader knows he was angry without being told.
Use deep POV for scenes where emotions run rampant, or where tension is high. It can be tiring to the reader when constantly used, buy for love scenes, fight scenes, any scene where emotions run high, go into the POV character's head and let us see what he/she sees, and feel what he/she feels.
In deep POV the telling words are eliminated, words like understood, decided, knew, remembered, saw and smelled. If the author is writing from within the character's head the reader sees and smells what that character smells, if the writer has done his/her job well.
It's all right to use deep POV for more than one character, just be sure to stay in one person's POV long enough for the reader to care about your character. Deep POV can also help the writer differentiate between characters, thus helping the reader keep them straight.
In Butterfly Swords, a Harlequin Historical written by Jeannie Lin, the hero has won a bet and Ai Li, the heroine, must kiss him. Here's what the author wrote:
It was the first time she'd kissed a man and her mind raced with it. She hardly had a sense of his mouth at all, though the shock of the single touch rushed like liquid fire to her toes.
No she saw, or she felt, but we know exactly what she's thinking and feeling. That's deep point of view at its best.
I recommend you read books by Suzanne Brockman, Virginia Kantra, JR Ward and Jennifer Cruise, a few of the writers who employ deep emersion POV. Then, if you still have questions, sign up for the excellent workshop Virginia's Kantra teaches for WritersU:
I've Got You Under My Skin: Writing Deep POV.