Posted On September 29, 2014 by Print This Post

Show and Tell Deep POV with Amy Ruttan

Please welcome author Amy Ruttan to the RU campus! Amy’s going to talk about Deep POV and how it keeps your reader turning the pages. 

Great to have you with us, Amy! 

When I was a new writer the difference between showing and telling as well as Deep POV made me scratch my head. Now years later, I get it and I’ll try to eloquently share what I know about it.

Showing a reader something over telling them is a skill that if you master, will just intensify your fiction writing.

I’m not saying telling is wrong, because it has its place.

It’s hard. Trust me. We’ve all been there, but to really immerse your reader in your characters world they have to be able to experience the story and not just have it told to them.

Think about your most recent read? Was it one you loved? Was it the kind you couldn’t put down? Was it a world you just couldn’t get enough? Amy Ruttan

When I read a book I want to taste, smell, experience the story and I also want it told.

Here are some examples of show vs. tell:

The apple in his hand was green. It tasted tart. 

When he took a bit of the apple’s green flesh he was surprised by the sour, but still enjoyed the tartness which flooded his senses.


She was a doctor with blonde hair, blue eyes. She was wearing blue scrubs. He thought she was beautiful.

Her lab coat was pristine and against the blue scrubs, it was a brilliant white. She tucked a long strand of blonde hair behind her head as she concentrated on the chart in her slender hands. When their gaze met, he was stunned by the intensity of her eyes. They took his breath away and his pulse beat faster. He couldn’t help but imagine running his fingers through her silky locks, kissing those moist lips until those icy blue eyes were glazed over in passion. 

Showing often ends up longer than telling, but it’s about evoking a feeling for the reader. Telling has its place too in narration and the trick is to find the balance.

The whole rule of show doesn’t tell is a rule that can be bent, because writing doesn’t have hard fast rules.

Telling comes in to play when you’re narrating for example:

They gathered all their materials together.

The key to showing and telling is to strike the balance and evoke as much emotion as you can out of your story, because that will help solidify and help your reader care and connect with your writing.

Showing & Telling goes hand in hand with Deep POV, these very similar tools a writer can use to engage a reader further into the story.

One easy way to sometimes punch up some drab tags is to add a little bit more kick to them.

For example:

“Let’s go this way,” she said. 

“No, I want to go this way,” he said.

“Why?” She asked. 

“Because I said so.”


It’s kind of a bland bit of dialogue. So let’s snap it up with some Deep POV.

“Let’s go this way.” The words came out in a pant as she tried to catch her breath. 

“No, I want to go this way.” 

“Why?” She asked, finally regaining her composure. She didn’t understand his need to go left instead of right and couldn’t understand why they were arguing about it at this moment. The longer they lingered, the more danger they were in. 

“Because I said so.” There was finality to his tone, one which brooked no argument.


Deep POV doesn’t always work this way. We sometimes need the he said, she said and dialogue tags aren’t needed after every piece of dialogue. It’s a bit of a balancing act. You want the reader to be able to follow along, but readers can get annoyed when you over do it.

“I like ice cream,” Jane said. 

“Do you?” Adam asked. 

“Of course,” Jane said. 

“I do to,” Adam said. 

“Really?” Jane asked.

Fresh eyes of a critique partner or a good Beta reader come in handy. They can help cull things for you. I have a habit of repeating words or choosing similar names.

Once I wrote a first draft and everyone had a first name that started with the letter “B” and I have other weird quirks in the first draft.

There are not any hard and fast rules when it comes to writing. The only real sound advice I can give all you aspiring writers is always learn and grow as a writer. Never stop learning, that’s the key to a successful career.

So, for all you aspiring writers out there what was the best piece of advice you’ve been given so far? What are some your quirks when writing the first draft?


Maggie Bolitho joins us on Wednesday, October 1st. 


Dare She Date AgainDARE SHE DATE AGAIN? (Harlequin Medical Romance – Releases October 1, 2014)

To love again…? 

Single mom and paramedic Samantha Doxtator has been living with a broken heart after losing her husband years ago. Now she’s finally back on track and following her dream to become an air ambulance pilot…after training one last student—George Atavik!

Since nearly losing his life in a plane crash, George will not waste the second chance he’s been given, and he won’t deny the sparks flying between him and his new mentor. Does Samantha dare risk her own carefully guarded heart for another opportunity at happiness?
Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win signed copies!


Bio: Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. When she’s not furiously typing away at her computer, she’s a mom to three children. Life got in the way, and after the birth of her second child, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a romance author. To learn more about her, visit her website or connect with her via Twitter or Facebook.


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10 Responses to “Show and Tell Deep POV with Amy Ruttan”

  1. As much as I know I should show and not tell in my writing, I seem to need frequent reminders and an occasional knock on the head to make it sink in.

    Deep POV is one of those things that I know when I see or read it, but I find it hard to explain.

    Thanks for the examples!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | September 29, 2014, 1:43 pm
    • Sorry for my late response. I had some surgery and I’m finally getting my feet back under me.

      It’s a hard balancing act, Becke. I still struggle with it. It would be SO much easier to tell. Don’t give up!

      Posted by Amy Ruttan | October 1, 2014, 7:30 pm
  2. Hi Amy,

    I’m with Becke, We can always use a refresher course on deep POV!

    It’s kind of a multi-tasking tool. POV allows the reader a glimpse into the character’s world and it’s a great way to weave in backstory.

    Thanks so much for blogging with us today.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | September 29, 2014, 4:39 pm
  3. Evening Amy!

    Love the examples, those always help greatly when I’m trying to wrap my head around an idea. =)

    Best of luck with your book!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 29, 2014, 6:31 pm
  4. Very nice examples of telling vs showing, and when both are appropriate. I’ve also really come to love using deep third person.

    Posted by Reese Ryan | October 1, 2014, 6:37 am
  5. With all due respect the green, tart apple edit-fix is also a tell. To show, the character must have a physical reaction, like puckering his lips, gagging, or spitting out the thing. Saying “flooded the senses” is a tell. And this is the key: we must describe what the senses are doing, how the character perceives and experiences the apple. Technically, this too is a tell, but a more engaging one that writing teachers have termed “show.”

    Posted by Eduardo Suastegui | October 2, 2014, 7:27 pm


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