Wonder Wednesday: Perspective

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

On today’s installment, I am wondering about perspective.

The photo is of Lake Louise in April. Lake Louise is absolutely gorgeous in the warmer months. It’s still stunning in winter though a little dismal.

Perspective as an artform is “the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point”. But that impression will depend on the place the artist is drawing from, how tall they are, and how their eyes function, just to name a few variables.

Perspective is also, “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view”.

In writing, we attempt to show the perspective of another human being, but it often has a piece of ourselves in it. We also use point of view like a camera capturing the character’s life. We are inside their head and one with them in first person. With third person we may still follow them closely to keep that intimacy of first person, but have a little more flexibility to see what else may be coming towards them. We can also choose to be less limited in full third person and follow a few characters, or we can be omniscient and tell the story as if we are god-like and can see and know all. We can also use second person, but it commonly pulls the reader out of a story if not executed well. The Choose Your Own Adventure series employs second person in a good way.

But we have even more tools in writing because we get to play with time. We can choose to tell the tale in the past, thus the reader’s impression is that someone at least lived to tell the tale. If it’s in the present, tension is created and the reader’s impression is filled with unknowns. We can also mix tenses. Maybe the bulk of the story has happened and now we’re in the present and who knows what will happen.

In “reality” it’s fascinating how two people can be in the same place at the same time and their experience is vastly different. Maybe one hears just a little better than the other, so the message stays truer to what was said. Maybe one has difficulty comprehending because their brain doesn’t focus the same or because they have internal biases that alter the message. Maybe the person delivering the message didn’t realize how it could be interpreted in more than one way. Clear as mud is one of those idioms that describes this. Ever play the game Telephone?

People often want something, but can’t accurately convey what it is they need to someone else. Anyone who has gathered requirements for a project knows this problem well.

Everyone’s reality is different. The child living in a refugee camp may have some things in common with the starving child in Africa, but their lives are vastly different in other ways. A person may act as if they don’t like you, but it could be that they are hard of hearing and are trying to understand what you’re saying.

Perspective has a dark side though. People often fall into arguing that their perspective is the only reality. Problems arise when they take extreme measures like making up statistics and presenting them as facts in order to control another person. Before long, their little lie becomes “truth” and they recruit others then it balloons into a war against those who think differently.

Some people prefer to stick to their own view of the world. Others embrace diversity. I love that moment when I’m presented with new information that brings about clarity on an old problem. If I haven’t experienced something remotely similar though, it’s hard to understand where another person may be coming from. That’s when I see an opportunity for personal growth.

I’m late on posting this, but I was waiting to see if any other thoughts about it popped into my mind.

I remember an incident that happened on a high school field trip. We were supposed to be seeing a play, but the director skipped town with the money and the cast refused to perform. Plan B was a movie. Half went to Mulan, which started earlier. My half were waiting to see Liar Liar. Our school chaperone left for a short time and the Eaton Centre staff made us go outside to wait. An inebriated male started talking to us and he was the happy kind of drunk. Everything was fine. Until his brother showed up and was convinced we were trying to harm brother 1. Brother 2 pulled a knife out and began threatening our group of theatre kids. Despite Brother 1 adamantly stating he was fine, brother 2 wouldn’t back down. One of our group was poised to take him down using karate if necessary. Thankfully our chaperone returned and the brothers went on their way. At least that’s how I remember the ending, but maybe my friend talked brother 2 down. It was nearly two decades ago, so pardon the fuzziness. Also, we may have been a little inebriated ourselves being naughty teens…

So that incident, as I remember it, could be full of holes partially due to my emotions. Adrenaline pumped through me. My heart raced. I knew my friend was a skilled martial artist, but a knife was serious. I worried someone would end up in the hospital. In my head I was yelling, “Where is our teacher?!” And, “Why did the mall have to kick us out?!” Luckily no one died and not a drop of blood spilled.

The movie was hilarious.

Ciao,
R~

On the Brink: CAN-CON Celebrates New SF Writers

I went to a CAN-CON event celebrating newly published science fiction writers last night.

When I arrived, I didn’t know anyone but the hostess, Marie Bilodeau. I wasn’t worried about it as events with Marie are fun.

A published author sat at the table next to me and placed a stack of his books on my table. For a brief moment, one of the other authors in the room thought they were mine! “Someday, I hope,” I said. Marie helped clarify and called me a ‘rising star’ and while I’m not sure that’s accurate yet, it made me feel awesome! I informed the lady that I follow her blog. Someday I’ll read her Grigori Legacy books also. We had a funny chat about gardening where I admitted I enjoy gardening, but the squiggly bugs often cause me to jump out of the flower bed and take a breather. Not efficient gardening, I know.

Eventually, people came to sit with me. I was the stranger in the room, I supposed that was why most sat elsewhere. I enjoyed the conversations at my table. One of the writers, Eric Guindon,  and I were talking about indie publishing versus traditional publishing. He asked if I knew which way I was going. I mentioned that I learned recently a lot of authors are starting out with indie and going to a large publisher later. He made a great point about whether or not the work is commercial enough is what can help determine it for him. He said his most successful series was not something a larger publisher would be interested in, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t sell enough for him to make a profit, which it has. He also asked things like if I knew how much more I had to write. I said that I really didn’t know, but I’m working on Part II of my first novel, and who knows there might be a Part III. He figured out since I don’t know exactly where it will end yet, that I’m writing a series. His wife was fun too. We talked about writing and knitting and how it’s unfortunate that one cannot do both of those activities at one time. She’s an aspiring author as well.

I keep hearing that the romance writers make the most money in the independent scene. I do have an idea for a romance in my head for some point in the future… It’s not all about making money though. It’s a little about money, but it’s more about sharing something I’ve created with the world and hopefully entertaining them while making them think about something. That’s what it’s about for me, anyway.

What’s neat to me about the indie scene is that people write whatever they feel like writing. The same writer will have books of different genres. No one tells them what can or can’t be in their story. The freedom allows pure creativity to happen.

I’m thinking for my series, I do want to go traditional, but for other works, likely not.

I bought 3 books that sound wonderful, though I’m not sure when I’ll squeeze them in as I have my own writing to do on top of work, roller derby, and martial arts. Luckily, two of them are compilations of short fiction, so I can read them casually. The authors are Geoff Gander, Mary Pletsch, and Hayden Trenholm.

My book is part of a sub-genre that hasn’t had a lot of well-known work published in it. I’m also writing it in first person, which isn’t a common thing to do. Only one, of about 15 readings last night, was in first person, and that was by Matt Moore. I tried writing my novel in third person, but it didn’t feel right. I want it active and happening right now. I want the reader to be a fly-on-the-wall as the events of the story unfold. It starts from the point of view of a different character and eventually the protagonist becomes the main view point, except when events are happening on another planet. Perhaps my point of view element needs work? I think I’ve been  careful to ensure the reader knows the ball has changed hands. Someday I hope to have a “writers group” I can share with and they with me, to help each other with constructive criticism. This blog post talks about view points and makes me feel better about my decision to write in first person. This article called, “You’re Doing It Wrong: How Not to Write a Novel” has a plethora of seemingly good information. I say seemingly because I’m a newbie writer and can only go by what makes logical sense to me. Another article called, “3rd Person vs. 1st Person – Which Is Best?” leans towards third person. The omniscient point of view sounds interesting, but I can see how that can become quickly overdone and annoy the readers. It might be fun to write something from that view point someday (ie. once I’m more experienced as a novelist). If used in a well-balanced manner, it could be awesome and I enjoy making old things fresh. I suppose it could be possible to tell my story as third person in the present tense. I’m going to stick with first person multiple view points. While there is some danger in that as an inexperienced author, if I do it properly, it won’t matter. There are many notable works that have been written in first person perspective, such as “The Catcher in the Rye”, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”,”The Hunger Games Trilogy”, “Twilight”, “To Kill A Mocking Bird”, “The Vampire Academy Series”, “The Great Gatsby”, “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” , “The House of Night Series”, “The Vampire Chronicles”, “Life of Pi”, “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, “The Host”, “Great Expectations”, etc.

I have a lot of writing to go as I’m only 29,500 words into it, but I’m working on it a little every day.

I’m doing things that I never thought possible like playing roller derby. I’m single, but that’s no biggie. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time and I know it’s because I’m steadily working on making my dreams a reality. It’s scary at times, sure, but it’s the most rewarding and fulfilling feeling. It’s as if a love deep in my soul has been realized by the rest of me and I feel an inner peace combined with a budding excitement. I feel the most alive I have ever been.

Ciao
R~

Progress!

I have made great strides in the last while. Today alone has been full of progress. I realized a large issue was that I was writing from no point of view. It was difficult because the story is about a particular character, but currently he is a baby and unlikely to know or understand what is happening around him. So I decided to pass the puck and whoever has the puck gets the point of view.

It’s National Novel Writing Month, so I hope to get as much written as possible.

In order for it to be considered a novel, it must have at least 50,000 words. I am at 9,242/50,000, so only about 18 percent complete to hit the minimum. I know I shouldn’t focus on that, but it can be helpful to have a target.

I stumbled onto a blog post by author Justine Larbelestier about how to write a novel and well much of it I am going my own way for, the spreadsheet tip and discussion around balance between action and inaction, was very helpful. If not for this I probably would have continued not knowing what exactly was giving me issues.

http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2006/09/06/how-to-write-a-novel/

Since I am a project manager in my day job, my spreadsheet looks a little different, but it was a value-add for sure. Yes I could use something crazy like MS Project, but that’s a little extreme when Excel does the trick and I already have the license…

I haven’t read one of her novels, but I will try to squeeze it in 😉

Lots of excitement lately with buying a new car, assisting in teaching karate, and working. Still have to get that certification to keep the money coming in while I dream about and work on getting this novel out.

Ciao
R~