Monday, October 8, 2012

All a Matter of Perspective

It's amazing how perspective can differ amongst people and even with myself.

On the way home from Wisconsin near Wausau
I got back from our North Woods vacation yesterday. Almost every day, the weather was my ideal - 60s and 70s. I know some people  would say that's not warm enough. They prefer at least 80s or 90s. That's them. I was happy.

So was the DH, who set out in his fishing boat almost every day to catch "The Big One." He tried, but never caught that elusive dream. Still he did pretty well, hauling in some keeper walleyes, bass and a nice-sized crappy. On the days he couldn't catch fish, he'd say, "I guess you can't have good weather and good fishing at the same time."

In past years, when we had no cable and no Internet in our cottage, the DH was fit to be tied if the fish weren't on a feeding frenzy. Now, he takes it in stride, and occupies himself in other ways.

Morgan's dog. Rascal
In the old days, without other entertainment except for eating binges at local restaurants, I went through many books, also lay out in the sun, weather permitting. I walked the dog, did crossword puzzles, and went to Bingo when I could. I worked full time then, and my vacations were relaxing. At times, I'd even go fishing with the DH.

Nowadays, on vacation I can watch TV, read on my Kindle, surf the net, and after walking the dog, I prefer sitting in the shade, while my dog lays in the sun.

I have no day job anymore, except writing. A bit of relaxation is fine and dandy, but I much prefer excitement and variety. Bingo is no longer enough, when the thrills of the casino beckon to me. I haven't fished in two years, and don't miss it.

I bet you're wondering what this has to do with writing. Well, I'll tell you.

To make your book characters come alive, perspective is important. Each character needs to be and see differently, even those who share some basic views or values. Notice that I and the DH both loved the weather and modern conveniences, but still differed in some ways as to our entertainment. Even minor distinctions between characters is important.

Readers should be able to distinguish each character, even without the author continually pointing out which one it is.

Be sure to include clues, even if they're physical mannerisms, such as lifted or furrowed eyebrows, smiles or frowns, or maybe trembling or firm hands. Age can also be a factor in a character's perspective, although you can have fun with that in a mystery by having a senior be spunky and a teenager timid.

When there's a murder involved, which is often the case in mysteries, you can have more fun by showing atypical reactions. A reader might expect an innocent party to exhibit sadness at the death of a family member, but that might not always be the case. Wrongs, either perceived or real, could hinder what seems an appropriate reaction.

You can also allow your characters' perceptions to change. Maybe after more evidence is revealed, the very person who despised the dead party, now feels saddened and guilty for prior feelings.

Lots of possibilities to play around with perspective. Have fun!

Morgan Mandel -
Morgan writes mysteries, thrillers and romances
Her latest thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse
Her current romantic suspense: Her Handyman
Her Amazon Author Page:


Lynn Cahoon said...

What a great post. I love how your perspective of 'vacation' has changed over time.

My hubby likes to fish and he doesn't understand that I'm just as happy sitting and reading as he is watching for the next nibble.

Mona Risk said...

Yes it's all about perspective. Vacation for me means reading and writing, and having Internet to socialize.

Morgan Mandel said...

I can't imagine a vacation without Internet or TV anymore!

Morgan Mandel

susan furlong-bolliger said...

Great post on character perspective, Morgan. It's good to be reminded on how important it is to pay attention to personality nuances. Glad you had a good vacation—bet the foliage was pretty this time of year.

Morgan Mandel said...

It was beautiful. Then the last few days the wind came and many of the leaves fell. Still saw a lot on the way home, though.

Morgan Mandel

Hywela Lyn said...

Interesting post on character perspective - and a lovely picture of the autumn leaves. I have to say if we get temperatures of 70 degrees and a bit of sun over the summer here in the UK, we're very happy. Doesn't happen too often!

Morgan Mandel said...

We had a bit too much sun here in Illinois, USA, over the summer!!
90s, 100s, no fun!

Morgan Mandel

Cheryl said...

Great article, Morgan. This is an area I really need to consider as I write. Different perspectives are important.