An interesting thing, perspective. Let me clarify by giving you one of the free online dictionary’s definitions:
1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
2. a picture employing this technique.
3. a visible scene, esp. one extending to a distance; vista.
4. the manner in which objects appear to the eye in respect to their relative positions and distance.
5. one’s mental view of facts, ideas, etc., and their interrelationships: to have a clear perspective of a situation.
6. the ability to see all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship.
7. a mental view or prospect.
8. of perspective, or represented according to its laws.
in perspective, in a true or meaningful proportion or relationship: Instead of overreacting, keep things in perspective.
[Middle English < Medieval Latin perspectīva (ars) optical (science), perspectīvus optical = Latin perspect-, past participles. of perspicere to look at closely
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
Now that we have a definition, let’s look closer at what it is we wish to apply our perspective eyes on. We wish to use the concept that what one person perceives in a situation may not be what another sees. What someone witnesses are based upon their perspective.
Among police detectives or anyone who investigates for a living, the idea of a solid witness is often a loosely defined objective. What these people understand is if they take down one person’s witnessing of an event, then compare it to another who also witnessed the event, the two witnesses have often seen things entirely different based upon their perspective of the situation.
The more witnesses, the more differences. In fact, if there is more than one witness and each witness tells the exact same story then investigators know they are being lied to. No one witnesses an event the same way. Often witnesses get the hair colors mixed up, the eye colors wrong, the height and weight as well as skin tone and the sounds that were made.
In reality, too many witnesses often screw up what it is the investigators need to look for.
Now why am I so interested in perspective? Simple really, telling stories is all about perspective. Most authors, whether they realize it or not, tell their stories from their own perspectives. How they view a situation or idea, or concept makes a great deal of difference in how a story is told. In fact, the perspective they choose to use can change a story in its entirety without changing the plot line at all.
Point of view is simply perspective simplified. If you write a story in the first person, you will tell the story form how the character perceives what is happening to them. You will see the story through their eyes.
The truth is, no matter which point of view a person chooses to compose their story, whether it be 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th and their variations; there is always a narrator and this narrator’s perspective of what is happening is what creates the story itself.
When you understand this, you will find yourself willing to play with the character’s perspectives more. To open their minds or close them, to view an event differently than what you originally planned based upon the way your character has been developed.
I like perspective. I like it so much we at The Pyrateheart Press keep it as the author intended. We don’t censor their works.
When I mention censorship, most think pornography. Porn has its place in this world, but it is not what we are talking about. What we are talking about is if a character is a racist then they think and speak in certain manners. Their perspective of life around them is far different than an old school hippie’s.
The way a woman looks at something is far different than a man. Not every man thinks the same and neither do women. Then there are the cultural aspects. A person from the Deep South does not think like a New Yorker. Each perceives the world in a different manner.
Often, I use the idea that a liberal Democrat from Idaho is far more conservative than a staunch Republican from Virginia. In fact, when the House and Senate had its influx of brand-new Republicans a couple of decades back, it was a dismal failure. The ones who were new to Congress and the Senate came with a different perspective than the reality. They came to change the way the government did business only to discover it was only a dream. A dream none of them achieved and thus most left as soon as they were able and their perspective of how the government works and their attitudes towards it changed drastically.
Then there are experiences which changes a person’s perspective about life entirely. Boot camp certainly does to all those seventeen-year-olds experiencing it. When they are done, they are not the same person who entered thirteen weeks earlier. Their viewpoint, their perspective on life is now completely different.
Take a look at your writing. A hard look at the way your characters act, think, speak. Does their outlook, their perspective match them? Is it congruent with the way they would perceive an event? Or act?
I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.