“Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty.
I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be.” ― George Carlin
Perspective is a word which keeps finding its way into my dialogues of recent. And for me if it keeps showing up means it must be important to focus on, at least for a while. The topic fits well with counseling but looks somewhat different in the world of authorship.
Perspective in writing could mean how the character looks at the situation and the experience the author creates for them. Or it could mean the point of view. Or what the reader’s perspective is. Each is important to keep in mind.
The more I read, and reflect on the various stories, the more obvious it becomes that there is always a transition from one perspective to another moving the plot forward. Maybe it’s an aha moment or maybe a slow coming of age transition. The core though is that the character from the beginning is not the same in the end.
We all love the stories where the person becomes better at something, or learns a skill to save the world, or gets the girl.
In the eyes of the reader the villain may become easier to relate to, even root for, because of a perspective change. The evil doctor creating sewn together abominations barely resembling the living can play on our sympathies when we find out she is trying to bring her toddler son back to life.
But not all changes in perspective are positive and for me these can be even more interesting. A hero becomes a villain because they view the world differently than when their story started. Maybe a once generous man becomes a miser after he loses out on love.
To give the reader a new perspective on life is the great challenge authors aspire to. The truest test of a classic novel is that when finished reading, the reader has changed as much as the characters. So, what recent read has changed you?
For me the answer is O Pioneers. Something about the perseverance and pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior created a shift in my view about risk and following one’s own course, with or without the support of others. Basically a reiteration of the “to thine own self be true” idea. Reading this book helped to bolster my confidence to move forward despite how others may view my choice, and that’s my new perspective.