When writing, it is important to know the perspective you are trying to portray. Perspective is how the narrator of the scene views what is happening and there before shapes how they portray what they have seen to the reader. Also known as point of view, perspective can be shaped by distance and relation to the actual event and / or the character or narrators own feelings towards the scene at hand or their state of mind leading up to the event. Ultimately, perspective can either help and / or hinder the telling of the story. For example, if the narrator's personal feelings overshadow the scene, it can take away from depicting what is really going on. At the same time, if the narrator is able to neatly combine the portrait of the scene with their own feelings about the issue, it can enhance and strengthen the scene, giving more than just the facts.

A couple types of perspective include objective, subjective, and a specific point of view. An objective perspective is when the narrator ports the scene without any personal bias. Subjective is when the narrator has personal feelings about the scene, and it shapes the way he / she ports it. A specific point of view can take the narrator completely out of the picture, and instead tells the story / scene through the eyes of a third party.

A good writing exercise is to practice writing a given topic / scene from multiple perspectives. The following is an example of this writing exercise using objective, subjective, and specific point of view perspectives. The place being described is a college classroom, and the scene is just before class is about to start.

The first example is of this classroom being told from an objective perspective:

The room is lit from the combination of eight overhead classroom-style lights and the white painted walls. The room, probably near 300 square feet, is absolutely used up to enhance learning. Tables are set in a U-shape with orange chairs facing the green "blackboard". 15 students sit facing the professor.

As you can see, when a scene is claimed objectively, the items in the room tend to be drawn out and told almost scientifically. Since the narrator has no bias, the narrator can only tell what he / she sees. Sometimes, an objective scene can serve to give the reader insight into what the scene looks like so that they can visualize it as the scene progresses.

The next example of this same classroom is told from a subjective perspective, depicting the narrator's anticipation:

As the lights turn on, the room is aglow with the bright combination of white walls and tabletops and a green chalkboard. The orange padded chairs are not being used to the full potential, as the students sit on the edge of their chairs. Constant movement stirs through the room, from shifting of body parts to the rattling of finders on the tables. The U-shaped tables create an atmosphere of one on one contact, with each student facing the professor.

Subjectively, the scene is less formal, as certain things are highlighted with the use of adjectives. However, these adjectives serve to further the narrator's feelings about the scene (in this case anticipation), and only certain things are heightened (those that further the narrators anticipation). For example, if the narrator was bored instead of anticipating, he / she might highlight those in the room with their arms crossed or looking at their cell phones, instead of focusing on the shifting body parts. A subjective narrator works especially well when the narrator is a character in the scene and not omniscient.

The final example of this classroom is seen from the point of view of an old man whose wife is in the hospital:

As the old man entered the room, he had a strange sense of homesickness. The flickering lights and mono-colored white walls remembered him so much of the hospital room he spent so much time in, that he will enter no longer. The hard, ugly colored orange chairs familiar and he did not seem bothered by them. The U-shaped table left him shaking, waiting for the next bit of news he knows can not be good.

A specific point of view takes you away from the narrator, and things in the scene are highlighted based upon the character's emotions. In this case, the old man is sad and nervous, and so the walls are described as "mono-colored" and the U-shaped table "left his shaking" because it brings back other emotions or memories when he sees the table.

The purpose of this writing exercise is two-fold. First, it's a practice on depicting different characters and their point of views. If that character is not actually you, it's a practice on learning how to keep your own emotions and bias out of the story, and instead pretending you are someone else. Secondly, this exercise is a practice of using different adjectives. Although the chairs can be described a hundred ways, there may only be one description that will portray the specific emotion you want the reader to see.

This writing exercise does not have to the done this exact same way either. Try changing the scene – instead of focusing on a specific place, focus on the interaction between two characters, or the changes that happened to a specific character. Try changing the point of view – pretend you are a rich married gentleman, or a teenager goth. How would they act, and therefore, how would you describe them?



Source by Kolin Kasten