What do you see out the window you look out of most often?
The prompt this week was to write from an alternative perspective. The quote to get us started was:
The man is a success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The prompt is to use the above to write from the perspective of a dog.
Independence Day is fast approaching. We look at freedom in very different ways. Looking at freedom at different ages is also a unique perspective.
The prompt this week is to pick an age, five, ten, fifteen, twenty, forty, sixty, and describe what freedom felt like to you (or a character) at each age. Pick at least one and make it into a story, or use all of them to describe your experience of freedom.
The prompt this week explores the subject of memory, eg, how differently my siblings remember incidents that we all witnessed in our family. Or how difficult it is to collate the different perceptions of witness to a crime or an accident.
How can we fully believe anyone’s story when we know what has colored his or her perception in the first place?
Will our own story ever be told? By whom? To what use?
Why telling the truth to the best of our ability is important, even knowing it is not The Truth.
Your character is afraid of their own shadow. They creep through life trying to never disturb the dust of living, yet life still happens to them.
Write a scene like that with your character.
Then, throw the whole scene into reverse.
Write the same scene with your a brave, fearless personality at play, loving life, embracing anything thrown their way.
Which is the true definition of the character you want in your story? Is it one of these extremes or a compromise between the two.
Use this technique to not only learn more about your character, especially to identify strengths and weakness, but also to mix things up. Sometimes a brave and tough character has moments of fear, when they feel helpless and out of control. What would it take to make them feel that way? Might be an interesting part of your story.
A novel is a collection of scenes, held together by chapters. During NaNoWriMo, you will write dozens of scenes, each one adding to the plot, taking the reader, and your characters, on a journey.
Think about a single scene. How many ways can you write it?
Let’s set the stage. A woman is sitting in her car in rush hour traffic, going nowhere. The man in the car next to her turns his head and looks at her.
How many ways can we tell this story?
- From the perspective of the woman?
- From the perspective of the man?
- From onlookers watching the two from their cars?
- What if it is hot out and their windows are open?
- What if it is cold and they have to wipe the condensation from the window to even see each other?
- What if one of their cars has smoke or steam coming out from under the hood?
- What if one has a coffee cup or a lunch bag on the roof of their vehicle?
- What if one vehicle has a low tire?
- What if one of the car is an expensive luxury car and the other isn’t?
- What if one of them is poor and just evicted from their home and their car is their only safe place?
- What if they know each other?
- What if they knew each other as teenagers?
- What if they are married?
- What if they were married and just drove away from the lawyers office after signing the divorce papers, and each are the last person they want to see?
- What if there is a dog in one car?
- What if one of them is depressed?
- What if one of them just got a raise and is overexcited?
- What if one really likes the look of the other?
We could go on and on with all of the perspectives, points of view, and what ifs.
What if the scene is critical to the story, and you don’t want to go off on a bunch of wild “what if” theories. How could you tell the story differently and keep the story line the same?
- What is the emotional state of the characters? Can you change one or both of them?
- What is around them that they have to or might interact with? A gear shift? Squeaking brakes? The steering wheel? How would they handle it?
- Use your senses. What do they smell, feel, temperature, body pains, body positions, hear, see? Which details add or subtract from the scene?
- What if you threw another character into the mix? A person pops up in the backseat or someone honks behind them? How will each character respond?
- Can you show the scene from the perspective of a memory?
- What if they are anticipating seeing each other in traffic and it hasn’t happened?
Other than changing the location, time, and weather, brainstorm all the different ways you could write the scene and then pick from these when it is time to edit – in December.