A Little Experiment

Yesterday in class, we talked about point of view and how it can change the story depending on who’s telling it. One of the things our teacher suggested doing was to make a list of character names (I added a third person omniscient view too) and then write down the things the story would gain if said character told the story and also what the story would lose if they were telling it.

For example:

  • Jennings-Gain thoughts of a stalker, lose credibility and a large amount of plot
  • Adair-Gain immigrant perspective, perspective of a privileged boy, lose relatability since his situation is pretty unique
  • Bastian-Gain villain insight, student council perspective and the other side of the Kyrce/Bastian conflict, lose insight into supernatural world

And so on and so forth.

Maybe you’re like me and you’re pretty confident that the person telling your story is the right one. That’s fine, but there’s something else you can do too.

Is there a scene with a confrontation? There should be, since stories are all about conflict.

Why not write that scene from the perspective of the other side, the one that isn’t being shown to the reader? Even if it never makes it into the piece, it can still give you some major insight into a different character.

I tried it with a scene at the end of Chapter 2 where Kyrce, the main character, is confronted by his ex-friend Bastian, who reveals that the student council is trying to get him to leave the university. I wrote from Bastian’s perspective, and I was shocked to learn how angry he was and how much the student council was splitting, something Kyrce couldn’t see from an outsider’s point of view.

While Bastian isn’t going to become a viewpoint character, he revealed a new element to the plot that I wasn’t previously aware of, something that could lead to big blowups later on. The same thing could happen to you too, or at least you’ll be able to understand that character a little better.

It doesn’t have to be one person either. It could be a whole society or an animal or whatever. As long as there’s a conflicting ideology to the current viewpoint.

Did you try it? What happened? Did you learn anything new?

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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