As you know, I’ve been working on writing a novel for two years.

Having spent a lifetime reading non-fiction and writing briefs and other legal writing, I was not surprised when I discovered how very little I knew about writing fiction.

I want to give you an example and ask that you consider whether it applies to your legal writing.

I have read a couple of times a short book by Jill Elizabeth Nelson titled: Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View. Chapter 3 is Never Say He Thought/She Thought.

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The short book is worth reading, but if you want to get the points from Chapter 3, check out the blog: Never Say He Thought/She Thought.

As you will see, it’s more than never say he thought/she thought. In addition, there’s felt, knew, wondered, wished, realized, speculated, decided.

According to Nelson:

These phrases are death to Deep POV, because they create narrative distance. Readers are now at arm’s length from the character, not in the POVC’s head where they belong

I went through my 8th draft of my story and was surprised how many times I had used those words.

Do you think using those phrases weaken your legal arguments?