7:49 a.m. — Atlanta
listening to Best of You sung by Foo Fighters
Hello there! Brrr! The weather looks like it has decided to get serious. Pour yourself something hot (If your time zone is at the other end of the day, consider hot apple cider and brandy), pull up your computer and start the grey cells going. NaNoWriMo is on the downward slope. Keep your eyes on the barn door. You’re heading home now.
Let us consider perspective. Artists know it’s all about perspective. When describing a locale, people, and events, we need to keep in mind [more so in fiction than poetry], that in writing about a scene, based solely on distance and angle, we can’t apply the same degree of detail to everything. Our characters, especially whoever is narrating, can’t know many things.
Consider a character, or a person you know. The two of you are sitting side by side in a car. What do you see of the other person? The two of you get out and continue a conversation, over the bonnet (front part) of the car. How has your perspective changed? The other person crosses the street to talk to someone else. How do things alter as the person recedes? How does the scene change if, as you watch, traffic passes between you?
How much detail do you include? If you are describing a range of mountains you see in the distance, out your window, how much can you tell your reader. If you are getting out of your car in a parking lot near the foot of one of the mountains, how much more do you see? If you have begun the ascent, what will you focus on now. How much detail do you want?
You are watching reports of a protest, on your television. You jot notes. What do you see? You are in the crowd watching the protest. Now what? You are part of the protest. How has your angle and knowledge changed?
Perspective is an important consideration. We need to be able to give our readers a sense of placement and of distance (whether near or far), a sense of what our narrators do, or do not, know because of their perspectives.
The exercise: At different heights, degree of detail is different… the kinds of things
one can see are different… the sounds one can hear are different… the angle of vision is different… things don’t always seem to be what they are … depending on the proximity, smell might come into play. Time of day can join the crowd.
I have a lengthier, more complicated version that we did in 2012 which you can look at and even do if it piques your interest. This shorter, kinder version is specifically so poets can play.
Choose an event, or a setting. I want your narrator to consider the chosen item from a specific place. You need to let us know, without shoving it in our faces, where the place is in terms of its relationship to what the narrator is going to talk about, or describe.
Change the narrator’s view. Alter the angle or the distance and have your narrator discover something they hadn’t seen or known before about what it is they are describing.
Is there a significance, or an epiphany, with the new perspective? (There does not have to be)
That’s it. Nice and easy… or you can do the original exercise. Heh Heh.
I will see you Thursday for some talk on the different modes of writing prose, which might be interesting to consider in a longer poem; Friday for the roundup; and next Tuesday for our monthly image prompt.
Happy writing, everyone.