Tag Archives: novel

Current State of Affairs 3/31/16

 

 Photo by: Hollie Barringer, Gulf of Mexico on the Carnival Magic
I’ve been listening the podcast Writing Excuses again and feeling somewhat guilty for lacking the focus to keep up with my writing. I’ve been able to make a few addendums to previously determined plot points in my novel. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve had this story idea for close to 8 or 9 years now and I have, admittedly, spent more time world building than actually writing scenes and dialogue to progress the overarching plot. It’s a problem. I really want to put my thoughts into words, but my focus is terrible. I’ve had much better luck with short form writing, but I definitely want to make progress on this novel idea.

One of my big excuses for awhile was that I didn’t have a laptop to work on because the hard drive crashed (don’t worry, I had my files backed up) and new computers can be pretty expensive. Writing by hand is exhausting for me because I have this ridiculous habit with a pen or pencil- I press down really hard on the paper and it literally hurts after awhile. Plus, my hand written notes tend to have an excruciating number of X’s, strikethroughs, margin annotations and revisions that make the legibility subpar. I can say, however, these are really poor excuses. The good news is that I finally ordered a new laptop and it arrived two weeks ago. I’ve got Word installed and I’m prepared to start organizing my timeline of events again because a lot has changed since I first conceived this story idea. My protagonist’s goals have changed drastically and her companion no longer plays the same role I first imagined for him. One major change that I’m quite proud of is that I realized I fell into the grasp of a common trope: the love triangle. I absolutely abhor love triangles as they never end satisfyingly. There are always hurt feelings or resentment and a sense of missing closure. I personally try to avoid these situations in literature, film, and in every day life. My solution isn’t clever, but it’s effective and necessary. I eliminated a useless character and introduced a much more interesting character and by changing the original role idea for one of my main characters I eliminated any conflicts with love rivalry and made a more realistic connection between my characters. Primarily, I wanted to avoid the dissonance of a love triangle from overshadowing the main plot. I felt that while character relations are essential to telling this story, any romantic drama is excessive. It’s a fantasy story, so the main plot is centered on a larger, world-changing scheme.

I also managed to solidify the main POV characters,  identify all secondary characters, and even eliminate a few other unnecessary roles to reduce issues with continuity, focus, and problem solving. Aside from tweaking my timeline, I need to settle on my paragon heriarchy and start writing some fleshed out scenes because I believe I’ve sufficiently pieced together enough world building material for a stand alone novel.

In other news, doctors have confirmed that the right side abdominal pains I’ve been getting since last year are because I have gallstones. I’ll be having a quick outpatient  surgery soon, and a week off of work following that, which might give me some much needed time to coordinate my thoughts regarding the direction of my story. I’m surprisingly not concerned about the procedure. I’m just ready to get back to my life because shortly thereafter my other half is coming to visit for a couple weeks. I am beyond excited! This will be his first time in Texas and I cannot wait to introduce him to my friends and family. I have plans to try and visit him again before the years end, assuming work is kind to me.

I hope everyone is doing alright and has enjoyed the start of the new year with spring in full swing and summer on the way. Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, or bug me. I’m always looking to make conversation 🙂

Advertisements

The Invisible Wall

Once again I find myself at that juncture where the path is insight and yet something unseen and unmoving also stands in my way; the invisible wall that we all run into, and have to work diligently to get around. No, this is not about writer’s block this time, it’s more of the opposite- believe it or not.

Between an implosion of exams and projects arising over the last three weeks, I have found myself surprisingly back in the swing of things when it comes to my writing which is somewhat of an issue because the timing conflicts with time spent studying. Even more surprising is that my usual influx of ideas, the ones that plague me while sitting under terrible florescent lighting in a giant lecture hall, are not accommodating to the long-term fantasy novel I have been piecing together for the last several years. Actually, ever since this writing contest began I have found myself wanting to wander outside of my general circle of interests. I’ve begun to develop ideas for a mystery thriller, my second favorite genre, and so far I really like the direction this one is going. It began with Prompt 2 from the writing contest and from there I changed a few things and twisted the concept to incorporate a more detailed plot with deeper character backgrounds.

Another trend I’ve recently begun when I sit down to write is more of a bad habit. I used to wish beyond desperate measure that I could draw because I love art, but I never considered myself any good and as a result I avoided art classes and never gave it much effort. Well, I certainly cannot make claim to fame, but I have developed an interest in doodling nonsensical little things as well as a few simple sketches of the environment (trees, flowers, and things of the like). I was actually so impressed with my little sketches that I tried to reproduce them in larger scale- believe it or not I can admit to some satisfaction with my work. Unfortunately, my new found ability is another time-consuming project that interferes with class time, but I suppose I got my wish?

Lastly, I want to share a bit about my newest (by newest, I do mean this began yesterday) interest… I decided that I needed some shorter reading material to get my by until I can expend a more lengthy amount of time on my favorite 10-book (2000 + page per book) fantasy series. So while Malazan Book of the Fallen sits on the back burner, I’ve been pursuing new and emerging authors whose works are not only affordable for your average college kid (that’s me), but also quite good and full of potential. I am really impressed, and hope these authors continue to strive higher and excel because they really have some great ideas that the world needs to hear.

So, at least I have something fun to work on while I am stuck behind the invisible wall; I just hope I get around it to pick up the pieces before finals arrive and grades teeter over the edge. Best wishes to everyone with whatever may be standing in your way right now!

Question

I often question the direction of my story, the complexity of the world I’ve created, and the vast possibility I have yet to discover. It began as a simple idea- a development that I have now spent many years shaping- but I am far from finished because bits of inspiration continue to flow steady like the river and I am determined to see it through. Where will it all lead once I have pieced together the individual parts of the puzzle and will it eventually turn out as I imagined it to be? I am compelled to believe that we all ask that question at least once in our lives, if not about a novel idea, then perhaps some of us question the direction of the life we govern. Will our choices take us where we want to go, following the path with a vision in mind?

The beauty of a story, whether it be an autobiography, non-fiction or even fiction, is that there are choices made in a lifetime and for every action there are equal and opposite reactions that follow. That may sound familiar, and that is because it is an age-old law. Newton’s Third Law, a concept that we learn early in the education system and is generally applied to science, namely physics. Newton’s brilliant mind put into words a scientific concept that also applies to us as individuals in a world shaped, in-part, by predictable outcome; it is a reflection of choice and indecision, action and inaction. Consequence, whether favorable or undesired, is a road map for the journey we embark upon at an early age and the guiding push that returns us to the track once we stray. One misstep or poor choice and guilt, man-made law, or divine justice (whichever you may believe in) will point an accusing finger to remind us that no one is exempt from repercussion despite the feeling of invulnerability some rely on with unabashed faith. Regardless of the choice being right or wrong, it is an amazing realization when you consider that both help shape and promote character growth in more ways that one. The consequence or result of an individual’s choice is in direct correlation with their values and future decision. You can sum it up to this: Every path has its twists and turns, some might even have a fallen tree or another obstacle blocking the way, but you will most certainly reach the end of your path in due time. Whether you choose to remove the obstacle with effort, rely on faith that a detour will set you straight or hang onto patience with the knowledge that the tree will decay and the path will clear, the end of the road will appear in our scope, in due time.

The most daunting revelation about the road we walk is the uncertainty along the way, the trail and error of our experiences that follow the journey like a shadow as a constant reminder, throughout our course of life, that we all have history and not all of it is unblemished by scars. When uncertainty looms, there tends to be a drive to find the distinction between black and white amidst the chaos of gray. I suppose in a way, that is how we sort out the necessity from the extraneous- need versus want. Unfortunately, that process can consume a great deal of time and energy that might otherwise be better spent on immediate productivity and more feasible results. Then again, there is always a price to pay for results, the most costly -in my opinion- is time.

So then, how are we to better sort through the mess of our own indecision or the muddy ruin of possibilities that could exist without expending too much of our short lives circling riddles? Should it be left to fate? Will answers present themselves in due time, or is it folly to expect a yield if no efforts are made? A hard-working man or woman would probably speak for the latter, justifying their success based upon their own self-sufficiency and commitment to their goals. A religious soul might rest assured under the notion that faith will serve reward. I see through the looking glass, not one color, but many; a glimmer of multifaceted light refracting across my vision. There is always more than one answer, a second option, another choice, but I can attest to the difficulty in sorting the pieces a part. I admire those who have the patience to endure the frustration of not knowing or the nagging irritation when a task or goal is left incomplete, because I certainly struggle with both of these stressing issues in both my writing and outside of my fictional realm.

We all perceive the world through different eyes, opposing visions of what is perfect, and conflicting views of truth versus lies. The concept of perception alone creates a beautiful dynamic in which our interaction with others becomes complex and colorful. Every individual has something to bring to the table, an experience unique to themselves because only two eyes in the whole world saw exactly what they saw and only one soul felt exactly what they felt. Ignoring the obvious notion that connection between two people is developed upon similar feelings and relational experience, I implore you to ask yourself if the person closest to you, in your life, views the world in an identical light to match your own? I am not saying your life goals might not agree with one another, or that your life partner does not reciprocate the same feelings, those things probably align smoothly. However, no single person is exactly alike another, and the difference may be as material as color, movie, food preference or perhaps the defining trait is immaterial, a difference found on a philosophical level. I see beauty in the world through many facets, but I know that any number of mankind, my neighbors near and far, could teach me a thing or two about beauty in places I never imagined to look.

The question remains… What do we do with this knowledge?

Writing Contest Idea

I took a bit of suggestion and decided to join my brother in a writing contest group. I wanted to share the beginnings of my experience as well as give the basic rules for anyone wishing to start an easy and friendly contest of their own.

The rules are simple. It is a contest among a group of friends or even extended friends if you want a more diverse group of individuals. The first writing prompt is selected by compiling ideas from each participant and choosing one at random. The rules for each prompt are decided by the person whose prompt idea was chosen. Prompt rules include freedoms and constraints to deadline, setting, time period, point of view- first, second and third- as well as maximum/minimum word or page length. Other possible limitations to enhance creativity for writing topics could include the following:

  1. A list of vocabulary that must be used
  2. Use of only words that begin with certain letters of the alphabet (I.E. Write this prompt only using words that begin with letters C-S of the alphabet)
  3. Story must contain the phrase… “<insert phrase of choice here>”

After a prompt is selected at random, each participant writes according to prompt rules and submits their story before the given deadline. Our contests begin at midnight, the night of the topic selection, and generally lasts one week. All submissions are emailed to my brother- the host of our writing contest- where each story is compiled into one email and sent back to each contestant for review. In the review process, every individual grades each submission based on five categories.

  1. Entertainment value
  2. Originality
  3. Writing Quality
  4. Appeal to prompt
  5. Plausibility

On a scale of 1-10, how was the piece as far as entertainment goes?

On a scale of 1-10, was the piece original?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the writing quality?

On a scale of 1-10, did the story appeal to the prompt?

On a scale of 1-10, how plausible is the piece?

After each category is scored on a scale of 1-10, they are added together. If done correctly, each submission will have a grade anywhere from 5-50. When you have reviewed and graded all submissions, they are sent to the host address to be added with the rest of the groups scores. The highest score is declared the winner of that prompt. If you cannot afford prizes and just enjoy the friendly competition and writing aspects, you will probably enjoy the novelty reward of bragging rights and future prompt selection. However, if your group wants to offer real prizes for the winning contestant and can afford to, that would be a great incentive to keep participants interested in giving it their best. In our group, all future prompts and rules are selected by the winner of the previous contest.

In a group of strangers some of these guidelines might prove problematic, so instead of having a host to collect and deliver submissions and also record scores, you could also send your submissions and scores via forum or any program that will allow all contestants to view each submission as well as tally scores in a table or counter.

After my writing contest group has gone through a handful or more prompts I will share some of the ideas we came up with as a new prompt suggestion post.

Word Appreciation

I just wanted to share a list of words with their definitions, words that you might not read or see very often.

Succor– help, relief, or assistance

Stupefy– to stun; to put into a state of low sensibility; numb state

Pusillanimous– cowardly

Bereaved– synonymous with robbed; to extend condolences to the bereaved

Felicity– joy; happiness

Ululate– to howl; to how as a dog or wold, hoot as an owl

Ardency– having or expressing fervor, passion; vehement, fierce; intensely devoted or enthusiastic

Abraded– to wear down or rub away with friction

Aberrant– unusual; straying from a defined path

All definitions were either derived from memory or recollected using http://www.dictionary.com. I hope some of these help kindle the motivation to write with greater interest for vocabulary. Incorporating words you have never used or seen before, in your writing, will help commit them to memory and can make you a stronger writer.

Starting Anew

One of my favorites from Greek mythology is the legend of the phoenix primarily because the life of the phoenix recurs generation after generation by “rising from the ashes”. For me, the cycle of the phoenix is symbolic in more ways than one, but I draw much of my interest in the idea of starting anew. All things must come to an end, good or otherwise, and I find that there is a great deal of opportunity in the end of a tale, despite the measure of closure. Where one door closes, another three could be opened, or so they say.

Direction is a curious thing, it’s precarious nature can be troubling or rewarding- sometimes both- depending on a myriad of variables; however, I am trumped by the knotted mess that occurs when ideas collide. I never did like the sound of “back to the drawing board” because I associate failure with those words, but I find myself mentally revisiting my first line of thought when I cannot get past a certain point. It is helpful to revert your attention back to the original idea, before the added emphasis and detail blurs the main point. Perhaps something from your original line of thought can help keep you focused and/or give you a sense of direction that would help conflicting ideas mesh into something plausible or coherent.

Writing Prompt Suggestions

If any of you are interested in some writing prompts- whether you are a teacher looking for ideas for a class, writing contest themes or simply looking for some free-writing story ideas – I follow a blogger on tumblr who shares some really great prompts that vary across a wide range of topics and genres for primarily educational purposes. Though I do not use them for educating anyone, I love some of the suggestions for personal writing development and enjoyment.

You can find the user here: http://writingprompts.tumblr.com/

My personal favorites include the prompt to “write about what you would do with minions for a week”, “tattooed-disney heroine turned villian”, and the “mysterious $5 island”. I feel like there is a lot of potential there and I hope you might find something inspiring as you look through the myriad of ideas.

Inspiration

Inspiration is a driving force that keeps the pen moving or the fingers typing. For some, it might be hard to come by but others find it easily. I find the most troubling aspect of inspiration is its fleeting nature.

You might be sitting on an idea, but you have no sense of direction for it. You are stuck. We have all been there at some point. I have to admit I draw blanks quite often in mid sentence and with no idea how to continue, I might leave it open ended to finish another time or trash the idea altogether. Maybe it’s not meant to be or maybe a little inspiration would help.

Regardless of what potential there is, there is still the matter of figuring it out. Inspiration comes in many forms and tends to appear suddenly with an equally swift disappearance. Inspiration, or rather a lack thereof, is a major cause for some writers to go long periods without writing and that becomes frustrating.

So how do we fuel inspiration? There is no single answer, many possibilities exist, but not all of them will work for every individual.

Music is powerful and might help stir some emotions to get you thinking about the complexities of life, or vice versa- simplicity is important too.

Nature. Go outside and breathe in the fresh air. Look at the trees, the rivers and creeks, the woodland creatures and stretches of cultivated farm land.

You love the city? The flood of people walking down broadway? Think about their story, where they might be headed or how they got there that day. What do you see in dank and quiet alley next to your apartment complex? I suggest thinking about what you love whether it be the outdoors, city life, a movie or song or another author’s story.

On a second line of thought, you can take that advice twist it around. Picture the things you love and now imagine them in ruin, shattered remnants of a distant memory. What were to happen should a fire, natural or otherwise, raze a town? Life is never going to always be perfect, so take something beautiful and distort it. By destroying something cherished you can open the story up in a whole new way and introduce heroism, vengeance, justice, mercy, sacrifice and mourning, which in turn will open another set of opportunities.

Though I usually experience a continuous flow of inspiration throughout the day (most inconveniently while I am sitting through an important lecture) I do go through dry spells too. I favor imagery because I process best, visually. I also follow a cause-effect guideline in all that I do. If cause A (events, actions, etc…) happens, effect B (consequences, benefits, or both) will undoubtedly occur. It is a simple thing that you might not consider but it helps move a story along.

If you have trouble picturing something that has not yet been decided, try making an outline. Start with what you know and expand upon those ideas with the ripples of cause and effect in mind. If your story demands a more complicated approach then make sure you clearly define the laws of the world you have created. Write them out. For example, if physics does not exist in your universe then cause and effect may not apply in the same manner but there are still boundaries.

If anyone ever needs someone to bounce ideas off of, feel free to ask me! Best wishes in finding your inspiration!

Perspective- Part 2

Being my favorite subject, I wanted to share a little bit more about my experience with perspective and hopefully that might help stimulate some inspiring ideas in your writing.

I explained how this subject is a powerful tool for enhancing the mystery of a story due to lack of or limited perspective. The short story example may not have been to your liking, but the point of the matter is still relevant to all works. In everyday life assumptions are a common place occurrence that can lead to trouble or misunderstandings, and ultimately a learning experience. Non-fiction and biography authors know this well. It is easy to measure worth and make judgements based solely on what you see, and if you are writing fantasy or fiction you might consider how very frequently a character might misinterpret or jump to conclusions in a given situation no matter how skilled, powerful or knowledgeable they are. There is something invigorating about  reading a story with trial and tribulation, accompanied by success after realizing an old wisdom in a new light.

What I also wanted you to know is that perspective is always changing because the one who tells their story will continually learn and grow from their experiences. The birth of wisdom is realizing where you or another has erred and amending or addressing the problem in whichever manner you are able. Every soul caught in the conflict of morality will look into the pitch black and see something frightening, as if they never realized what they might be capable of. For every individual that image will be different because no one person views things in exactly the same light. They will hesitate, their resolve will waver, and then a decision will be made that might change their life forever.

I like to think that we use our pasts as references for the future, to guide us through the unknown. With that being said, if you could look into the hearts and minds of the stranger walking down the street, what would you see? How are they feeling? Is something bothering them or are they joyous? Perhaps your boss yelled at you today, not because of your competence or skill, but because they are going through a nasty divorce and have no one to help them, no way to cope with the misery. Too late though because the whole office saw the ordeal and now you look the fool. OR Maybe the single mom in line at the grocery store is not the “rude bitch” you just called her. The woman could very well be having a terrible time trying to manage the little child, full of energy, that she has had to raise alone, while also considering her financial stability and her baby’s health on top of the fact that she has no family to babysit while she looks for a decent a job to get off well-fare. You probably made her day two words worse.

We all come from somewhere, our histories dramatically different in many ways and each day is partially governed by our ability to cope and manage the chaotic flux of struggle. If you knew what that boss or mother had been through, would it justify their sour mood? Probably not. How is it fair for you to be the brunt of someones bad day when you weren’t the cause? It’s not, but maybe it would open your eyes to know that every person faces struggles that you are not apart of, that you may never imagine. The poor choices and the good are both a product of experiences, family, friends and faith or lack thereof, and even small acts can go a long way to changing someones mind about something if you can touch their hearts.

You cannot know what you cannot see, but how you choose to act or respond- independent of what you witnessed or how you were treated- is what defines you. A little perspective goes a long way, so put yourself in someone else’s shoes and ask yourself: “What’s next?”

Perspective- Part 1

My favorite subject, above all else, is perspective. I love the complex reality that sometimes there is no right answer and action as well as inaction both have very grave consequences or favorable outcomes, depending on where you stand.

Every controversial topic ever discussed has two or more sides that stand at odds in a fight to prove their point of view is the “right” one. What makes you so sure that you know what is best for another individual? I have heard and read thousands of comments and concerns expressed about varying ideas for society, politics and government, foreign affairs, personal freedom debates and more. Moral conviction tends to be the primary reason behind a persons choices and the motivation to pursue their passions with persistence. I could talk endlessly on controversy because there is no single right answer, life is far more complex than that but I want to talk mostly about writing with perspective.

Why did you do what you did? Well, there is undoubtedly a reason, but is the answer as simple as revenge or more convoluted than that. For any action your characters make, you have to ask yourself what factors are involved in their decision, and if there are extenuating circumstances that cause them to deviate from their normal behaviors or personalities. Writing with perspective means not only considering different point of views as a reference, but picture yourself in their shoes with their histories and moral conviction guiding your choices. For instance, you might not know how to explain the traumatic experience from the victims points of view, because maybe you have never experienced it, but as an author you have to get the emotions and details as realistic as the world you have created. Make it realistic and write it from their perspective. That is not to say you should accept or practice a criminal lifestyle to write thrillers or mystery novels, obviously. Do not become your characters, just personify them in writing. As writers we have a unique disposition to tell both sides of the story without being personally involved or acquainted with them and the research required for experiences we have never had is a whole other topic I will get to another time.

Let me paint you a picture about perspective…

|—Start of Script—| You are kneeling- tears streaking your cheeks and the taste of salt on your lips- over the body of a woman whose features are soft and still. She was important to you and her body is lifeless, the soul ripped away by the cruel hands of death. You were too late to stop it, but you managed to catch the killer before they had time to flee. He’s tied and bound to a sturdy pipe at the far corner of the crime scene but his stone-cold eyes have not left the bloody scene where you are leaning over her mutilated corpse. You glance back in a furious rage and catch those steely eyes and your first thought is the bastard is reveling in this. Your thoughts so muddled by the shock of loss that you rush over and bring a knife to his throat with the intent to kill. Instantly your mind registers the severity of the threat you just made. Murder. Is it in you? Of course you’re not like him, you value life and have spent yours serving to protect those who cannot defend themselves from merciless killers like the scum before you. But… he killed her, he deserves it. You stumble backwards with your hand gripping your forehead, the knife clatters on the concrete flooring and you find yourself trembling with the stains of blood smeared across your clothes and hands. She’s lying cold somewhere behind you but you dare not look back, instead you look up and he’s staring above you, past you. The damned monster is staring at her. Was that a smile you saw? Enraged anew- your thoughts of honor and duty aside- you get to your feet. Suddenly there is a loud crash, splinters fly from the doorway and shouts can be heard storming the stairwell, hallway and finally the armed unit reaches you. Luckily, backup has arrived. They have removed your opportunity to try something foolish but that miserable guilt has yet to diminish. An hour later, you have been returned to headquarters and your partner is going to oversee the interrogation of the suspect. You, being so close to the situation, are forced to remain out of the way. Since you went against protocol in waiting before calling it in, on top of going in without backup, you’ll likely face questioning at some point. One of your other buddies that you work closely with just came out of the viewing room, they wanted you to know the suspect hasn’t said much, but they are insisting that they were not responsible for the girls death. “If he thinks he can get away with lying, he better think again.” you grate angrily. |— Pause in script—|

I am going to finish this in three different ways. The order you choose to read them in is up to you. On a personal note, I do not prefer to write or read in second-person but I really want you to imagine yourself witnessing this firsthand.

Ending 1) Several long hours pass and the interrogation has led to a new lead. Your agency is on it and checking viability of the suspects claims. It takes some time, but the pieces of the puzzle come together and your partner reports that the suspect found at the crime scene was framed. You have mixed feelings about this revelation because you saw him there, complacent to watch her bleed out. If he was framed he would have called 911, or fled, but he was crouched next to the body just waiting. As more information is uncovered, it turns out that the framed suspect was an agent from another agency working undercover on a lead for a connected case and he was in pursuit of a foreign operative when he came upon the crime scene. He was apparently studying the scene when you came in, gun poised to kill. There was no way to confirm the agents identity on the scene, but your anger almost led to undue murder and now his operation is even further behind. You assumed wrongly and imagined an enemy that you had yet to lay eyes on. Your actions may cost other innocent people their lives, but your boss and your partner does not blame you. You lost someone dear to you and what is done is done.

Ending 2) Your partner did it, the suspect broke on an immunity agreement and revealed the true intentions of his crimes as a small part of a bigger picture. According to the suspect, he had no choice but to cooperate because of a blackmail threat against his family if he failed to comply. There is a lot more at stake than just one life, but it does not change the misery you’ve had to tame for the sake of remaining collected. He killed her, and he will walk free. It is an unfair reality. You were right, if he was blackmailed and did not want part of this in the first place then how do you explain the smile you saw when he looked at her?  You know deep down that this man has no right to walk after what he has done. Yet, no one is going to do a thing about it because that was the deal. All charges cleared to get information on the bigger picture.

Ending 3) You storm into the interrogation room, assaulting one of the other agents in the process. Raw fury drives you to grab the suspect by the collar and drive him against the wall with a force you did not know you were capable of. He looks you in the eye, almost accepting the fact that you want him dead. You reach for your gun and shove it hard into his side. “I saw what you did.” the suspect grunts and seconds later a loud shot rings out. You pulled the trigger. That son of a bitch won’t be able to weasel his way out now. It does not take long, your actions have turned even your partner against you. You are pinned down, handcuffs clink, the reading of your rights is barely audible over the cacophony inside your head. You can’t think clearly and you vaguely recall this happening at the crime scene. A fuzzy blur steals your vision and that’s it. After you’ve awakened from your blackout you find yourself strapped to a medical bed with a monitor set up. It is hard to take in, but the doctor explains that you have a severe medical issue. The Doctor said the condition has been causing blackouts and memory loss and your lawyer rises from a chair across the room. Your lawyer says that due to the nature of the condition, you might not be held responsible for your actions while in a black period. Confused and frightened by the implication you ask if you did something that you can’t recall. The doctor frowned and said nothing and your lawyer is trying to find the words but the struggle is plain on their face. Is everything you know a lie?

After reading that little short script, and each alternate ending, I hope you can see how easy it is to misconstrue a situation without all of the facts. This is also a good lesson on circumstance because the way in which a few small details played out, determined the final outcome for the main character. My main purpose with this demonstration was to show you how important perspective is in writing. If you can come up with three differing alternative endings for this one perspective, Imagine how reading this from the suspects perspective would shed a different light on the outcome of the story. In the first ending, the character imagined the other agent smiling and reveling in a bloody slaughter, but it turned out that the real criminal got away before either of the agents arrived on scene. In the second ending, the character was right in his instinct. The suspect was responsible, but there was more to it than what is seen at first glance. Perhaps the suspect did enjoy his assigned task, or maybe he was truthful in that he had to choose between a stranger and his family. In a situation like coerced murder, how can you blame the man for choosing his family over someone he will never see again? In the third ending, we see a complete 360 of the character because based on the little information we have in his perspective, it was difficult to piece together that he was the killer.

There are two things you can do with perspective to enhance a story. You can broaden it and reduce it and both are effective depending on the circumstances. If you want to create surprise, you can limit perspective by keeping it to a single and biased point of view. For a similar result, you can also broaden the range of perspectives to share limited chunks of information from each one. If you are wanting to tease your readers with useful hints of information throughout the story, you need to consider how point of view will limit or contribute to the amount of knowledge the reader discovers as time goes on. Perspective can be a strategic thing used to manipulate the direction of the story and conceal the truth until the very last minute and a writer is never limited to one method.

This concludes the first part of Perspective.