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Put it in perspective

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. ūüėČ

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?