In this latest edition of BOOTCAMP, we will explore the concept of Perspective. Hopefully this exercise will be able to demonstrate how it affects storytelling and how it can be applied to your work.
Always depends on how you look at it!
Lesson 6: Perspective
As I mentioned in my post about Perspectives, its purpose in storytelling is to be the point of view from which the story is being told. By changing the angle or the voice from which the narrator presents the story to the readers, they can change the influence on the reader’s perception of the story. A good real life example of this would be witness reports. I learned this while working as a security guard; if five different witnesses saw the same crime, they will give five different stories. Granted those stories may be similar, but they will differ in some aspect. Why? because each witness had their own perspective.
As authors, we have all occasionally been struck with writer’s block. Coming up with ways to write a scene is not always easy, but sometimes playing with perspective can help rectify this situation. Using a different perspective means information will be given to the reader in a different fashion, in turn affecting other story elements such as style and tone. Trying to change how the story is told may also help breath new life in a scene, just remember it is important to be consistent, or else risk confusing the reader.
But enough babbling, now for the exercise!
- Below you will find a generic scene to work with.
- Within that scene, you will see four characters.
- Rewrite the scene using the following perspectives:
- Told in a first person perspective from the point of view of the victim.
- Told in a third person perspective from the point of view of the vendor.
- Told in an omniscient perspective from the point of view of the police officer.
- Told in a limited omniscient perspective from the point of view of the villain.
“It is nighttime in a small town. The victim is running down the street at a frantic pace, desperately trying to stay ahead of their pursuer. In their haste, the victim runs past a street vendor, who is talking to a police officer while putting away his merchandise. The officer and vendor look at the running person, then at each other questioningly. A few seconds later, a brute runs by, knocking down the vendor's merchandise without even slowing, too intent on catching up to the victim.”
Hope you have fun giving this exercise a try. For those who aren’t afraid to share their entries, feel free to submit your stories as a reply to this post. Remember, this is a game, so no posting bad comments about other people's entries.
Until next time!