Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for Perspective

Perspective. Each of us has one. And none of us has the quite same perspective as anyone else. Even if you and I think alike, and share the same ethics and morals, I might hate the winter and you might love it. This single different is going to make a huge difference in how we handle being stranded together in a blizzard.

One of my daughters has a perspective that's always been a bit different from that of anyone else I know, and in a really good way. She sees humor in places I might not and the way she phrases her observations makes me laugh like crazy. Because of perspective.

When writing fiction, it's important for us to communication the unique perspective of our characters. That's what makes the sociopaths in Lisa Gardner novels so chilling. Or what draws me to Ed McBain's writing: each of his characters has a vivid perspective.

Some writers give each character a physical trait that helps readers focus on their individual perspectives; others use an event from their characters' pasts.

What tricks of the trade are YOU willing to share about perspective?


  1. Sometimes I give my characters an agenda that the other character doesn't know about. Then stand back and watch the fireworks.

  2. Whoa! From my perspective (LOL) I think you've chosen one of the most difficult aspects of writing. I suppose, to achieve character perspective you have to really get into a character's head. We want to know what their goals are, their conflicts. They may be outwardly awful people but we like them (as you say). A bit like Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs. Since I don't know much about this myself - I'll be interested in what others have to say.

  3. @ Michael: Not a bad idea. Fireworks are always good in fiction!

    @ Lauracea: Personally, I find it easier to get into a character's head, and understand their perspective, by writing in first person.