One of the first things I learned about writing was perspectives, well that and dialogue, but it doesn’t sound as good for this post. While perspectives may seem odd to learn when first writing it is an essential piece of the creative process. A story written in the first-person can sound completely different if taken from the perspective an outside observer (third-person). So from my perspective the first and most important decision you can make about your next piece is what perspective it should be written in.
I would recommend for beginning writers that they attempt writing in either the first- or third-person perspectives when starting. There is a certain ease that results when starting from a familiar place, and in school I noticed that writing essays were from a third perspective, and my teachers always told me to remove myself from the piece. You’ve probably heard the familiar never refer to “I” in an essay, and it’s true you should never refer to yourself when you trying to make an objective argument about something. The same I noticed happens when you write from a third-person perspective, which involves removing the writer from the story, but only so much as to draw more attention to a wider group of the characters to get a bird’s eye view of the scene. So when I liken essay writing to the beginnings of writing short fiction you’ll understand the nature of the argument even while you may still disagree.
On the topic of perspectives you must remember that there are three, and this can be separated even further, but I figure for the sake of this post I will start with the basics.
First-person - The scenario of the individual
Second-person - The nature of the “You”
Third-person - The view of the gods
Find Your Voice
Each perspective has its own unique quirks. If you want to center the story on a particular character, and draw on all the emotions of that one individual in the midst of crisis, then I would recommend the first-person perspective. However, if you want to be more subdued and draw on the menagerie emotions of all the characters in your story, then you might want to take a step back and see it from the “bird’s eye view”. The second person perspective I have always found a little perplexing, and difficult to write in.
The most widely used perspectives when writing a story would have to be first- and third-person. There is actually a perspective, know as the “you” perspective, or second-person, but that is more of rarity for people to write in. The rarity comes in mainly for the difficulty in actually writing in a consistent second-person. it’s usually easier to write in first and third, than it is for us to communicate in a “you” mindset. Not saying impossible, but it’s difficult. Plus it can be hard for a reader to escape their lives into another world when the “you” is staring them in the face.
What is your favorite perspective to write in?
Find the Direction
Write a story initially from the first-person perspective, then rewrite the story in the third-person perspective. See where the differences take you, and notice the uniqueness in each perspective.
You can use your pieces from the first two assignments to start you off, but if you’re feeling creative then I would suggest going with a whole new story from scratch.
Write for about 20 minutes using each perspective.