Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Matter of Perspective

This fall I'll be teaching two short classes at our local university's continuing ed center. One is on characterization. The other is on point of view. So I'm mulling over some thoughts, generally while I walk. You'd think I would remember to take my phone or my voice recorder with me to capture all the fantastic thoughts I rehearse with myself as I'm trekking through the neighborhood. Okay, they're probably only fantastic at the moment I think them, sort of like the notes you write down in the middle of the night and throw out in the morning. What on earth was I thinking!?

Anyway I generally don't remember the recorder until I'm about a half mile from home. But I'm rambling.

So, point of view. I took an online class a few years back with the Writers Studio. I highly recommend their classes. They teach the concept of a persona narrator. Instead of saying point of view, they talk about who is telling this story. As the author, I'm not really the storyteller. I create a persona narrator who tells the story from his/her perspective. It really is about perspective. How close is the persona narrator to the story, to the main character.

I had a fun interaction with a couple of my kids this weekend that illustrated the idea of perspective. My son, who lives in Minnesota was down for a few days. It gets hot fast in the Deep South, although I think this year it has been faster than normal. So my son and his Minnesota frame of reference could barely stand to be outside, despite the fact that he was raised here.

I talked with my daughter on the phone later that day. She's in Portland, Oregon. She was freezing.

"We took Stephen to dinner on Sunday night. The bank themometer read 102 at 6:30 in the evening," I told her. "I can't believe it's this hot already and it's not even June yet."

There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone.

"It's 63 degrees in my house right now," she said. "And it's almost June."


When we got off the phone, I sent her this clip I had watched earlier in the day. I'm doing some research on Siberia.

It's all a matter of perspective.


  1. Love your perspective on point of view! Wish I could see the clip you had. My computer said the link was broken :-( If you have a minute, check out my post on Indie store love today.

  2. Thanks, Gail. I'm not sure what's wrong with the link. It works on mine, so I don't know what to do.