Gwen Hernandez

Author of romantic suspense. Scrivener expert.

Put it in perspective

8 Comments

I was commenting on Larry Brooks’ upcoming deconstruction of Avatar over at storyfix.com, when I realized something about characterization: it’s all about perspective.

Yeah, I know this is nothing new, but for some reason it clicked. You see, I didn’t expect to like Avatar. I’d heard that there was no plot, just pretty special effects. Well, I went anyway, and really, really liked it. And because I’d heard there was no plot, I found myself analyzing it on the way home.

I believe the naysayers were wrong. There was a pretty strong plot, complete with character GMC, turning points, black moment, climax, everything.

Okay, that’s another post, or just check out storyfix.com this week…

Back to perspectives. I made a comment that I had been analyzing the plot, “much to my husband’s dismay”. And then it made me think about how he points out engineering stuff all the time. Like why a certain structure works, or why a ship in space wouldn’t “fall” after it’s been blown up, etc… And I tend to turn over plastic containers so I can see if they’re injection blow molded or extrusion blow molded. If you want I can show you the ejection pin mark on your toothbrush, too. ;-)

Yes, I taught the plastics lab during grad school.

So, what’s my point? It’s that our backgrounds and interests color how we look at the world, and if our characters are rich they’ll be the same way. The things they’ll notice about the world around them are determined by their background, personality, and experiences.

Not that I’ve necessarily done this with my MCs yet. Give me a break, I just thought of it!

So, how do you find opportunities to show your character’s perspective?

Author: Gwen Hernandez

Author of SCRIVENER FOR DUMMIES & BLIND FURY. Manufacturing engineer turned romantic suspense writer. 2011 Golden Heart® finalist. Scrivener instructor, runner, reader, explorer, Kung Fu sifu, AF spouse, mom, vegan. www.gwenhernandez.com

8 thoughts on “Put it in perspective

  1. I can go to a movie and enjoy it, but I do find myself deconstructing the plots from a commercial fiction point of view. Drives my family batty. But I love it when I see the elements work so well and come together so fluidly. AVATAR exceeded my expectations. It was a strong movie with great romantic elements. And I loved looking at Sam Worthington blue or not.

  2. You know, you have to keep this in mind when looking at a crit partners comments on your ms too. Everyone perceives things differently. You have to pick and choose which to listen to, and which to hold your ground on.

    Great topic, Gwen.

  3. LOL..Avatar was pretty to watch. I am going to be the burr in the saddle. I thought they did very well, and the plot was clear. I just don’t think it was as awesome of a movie that everyone is saying it is. For me, Lord of the Rings (all three) was much stronger and far more compelling. But that’s just my opinion. :-P

    As for showing my character’s perspective…I try and show it by action, dialogue or POV. I am currently writing a character that is very, very difficult. Getting into the head of a character and figuring out how and why they react can be fun…and frustrating.

    • I’m sure part of the reason I enjoyed it so much was that I had low expectations. After hearing how it had no plot, I was pleasantly surprised. But, yeah, it’s hard to compete with an epic like LOTR.

      It definitely takes work to get into a character that doesn’t think like you. My current MCs are a clothing store owner (from so not fashionable me, go figure), and a DEA agent. Again, not me. I’m trying to go back and layer in thoughts, dialogue, and things they notice that are peculiar to who they are. Hard work, but yes, fun!

  4. So, do you have moments of cursing when you are trying to write POV you are not used to? Or worse you write what you want them to say, and you realize this is so not it?

    Ah the joys….

    • Definitely. I’m still learning to hear my characters’ voices and get into their heads, but they’re thoughts are all filtered through me, so it’s hard sometimes.

      But that’s the fun…

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