Okay admittedly I am not a tech guru, but I don't see a place to ask a new question,
In comments are fine-- we read them! Just ask in a current topic, because we won't be reading old posts.
so here it is:
Back to the discussion of deep POV...
There is a difference between saying, "He realized he wanted to stay" and "He wanted to stay." I get the feeling the preference is for the latter because it is closer/deeper POV. But what if I want to put the emphasis on the fact that he realized it? Would you, as an editor, get that, or would you think I made a POV misstep?
Jennifer, You are right. They ("the rulemakers") are wrong. :)
I am not one who thinks "she thought" or "she realized" or any "head word" is a break in POV. That's one of those supposed rules that baffle me-- that "rule" seems to say that humans are not thinking creatures, that we don't consider or muse, that these thoughts just happen to us, that we have nothing to say or do with it, that mental processes or intentionality don't count. It feels to me like writing "his foot moved" rather than "he stepped".
As you point out, the problem is that "he wanted to stay" does not allow for any suggestion of how he came to know that. "He wanted to stay" is just a statement of fact, a statement of what he wanted. It does not indicate that he "realized" he wanted to stay, that there was a process of realization, that it wasn't immediately knowable. As you said, "he realized" is subtly different as it says there was a realization involved.
In fact, I'll go so far as to say that those who say that "he thought" is a deep POV break haven't thought as much as you have about how minds actually work. You just can't do deep POV by following bogus "rules" about deep POV-- you can only do it by getting into the mind of the character and narrating the way that mind works. Yes, some minds don't have much in the way of thought or realization, but those that do will, in deep POV, show the process that led to that. (And that will contrast interestingly with the more impulsive character's sudden appearance of a thought. I visualize Character A's thought process as a Rube Goldberg contraption, while Character B's mental process is more like a lightbulb going off.)
These statements below all suggest something more than just "he wanted to stay":
He decided he wanted to stay.
He thought he wanted to stay.
He realized he wanted to stay.
He imagined he wanted to stay.
He believed he wanted to stay.
He reflected he wanted to stay. (Why do I want to put a "that" in there-- He reflected THAT he wanted to stay?)
He sensed he wanted to stay.
He judged he wanted to stay.
He reasoned he wanted to stay.
He knew he wanted to stay.
Choosing the right "head word" adds a layer of subtlety and often intentionality that to me is REALLY deep, even subtextual, and I'd hate to give up that facility because someone might (mistakenly) say that's not deep POV. (I will say one more time, btw, and I know everyone's tired of it, that deep POV is not the only or even necessarily the best POV approach.) For example, look at that last one: He KNEW he wanted to stay. Don't you just hear a "but" after that? He knew he wanted to stay, but he could hardly resist a competing desire to run for the hills. And "realizing" that he wants to stay results from a very different process than "deciding" that he wants to stay.
I don't know how to say it any better than this (and you know it anyway, so this is aimed at those others), but you cannot create deep POV by following a list of rules like "Never use the POV character's name" or "never have the narrator report that she saw something; just say what she saw." You can only do a good job with deep POV if you know your character so well you know how she thinks, and she will not think the same way another character does, and she might not think the same way in every situation! You can just about bet that Albert Einstein thought differently (not just better :) than I do. But I suspect (you know, I had "I think" there, and edited it to "I suspect", because I intuited that HOW I think made some difference) that Albert Einstein when he was thinking through a quantum mechanics issue thought differently than he thought when he looked up from his musing and realized he was about to walk off a cliff. The author has to get into the character in each situation, and narrate with that knowledge in mind. That's the only rule that really counts-- give your reader the deep experience of what it's like to be in this person (in a coherent way, I hope, but I'm not even going to "rule" that). How would this character think in this situation?
A better example-- consider that pilot who yesterday calmly brought his crippled plane down on the river rather than in a populous area. His mental processes-- not just WHAT he thought but HOW he thought-- would be fascinating, don't you think? I just don't think it would be enough to report his thoughts ("Oh, shit. Damned geese. Must save plane. Where are we? Oh, yeah, New York City. OMG, we're going to crash!"). We also want to know that "he took a deep breath and spent just a single moment considering his options: Try to limp into Teterboro Airport. Ditch right here in the Bronx. Aim for the river. He glanced at the altimeter and saw they were up just three hundred feet. Hmm. He calculated this quickly-- air speed and height and how long they could stay aloft. He decided to aim for the river. What the hell. They were all going to die anyway. Might as well try hard not to destroy a couple city blocks on the way. He tightened his hands on the wheel and made his voice calm as he explained all this-- in terse half-sentences-- to his first officer." Someone trained as he was will simply think differently at moments like this, will calculate and consider and decide. He'll think quick, but thoughts won't just appear. (The thoughts that would just appear would probably be in the "Oh, shit" category.)
The reader will feel the difference between deep POV you "invent" using some set of rules, and deep POV you channel because you know the character well. The readers don't know the "rules" (neither do I :), but do know when a character feels real to them, feels different and distinct and unique. Any "rule" that applies to every or most characters will not help create a unique character.
So, Jennifer, shorter answer: You are right. The fact of realization matters! HOW matters as much or more than WHAT.