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Thursday, August 31, 2017

An Alternate Point of View

I learned a fun life skill a few decades ago, and it can also be a lot of fun when writing as well. My mother-in-law didn't call it "an alternate point of view," it was just something she would do to pass the time, lighten a tense situation, or entertain the rest of us. A great example would be the musical Wicked (which I was privileged to see with my mother today). We all grew up knowing the story of The Wizard of Oz with Dorothy, ToTo, Ms. Gulch, the Munchkins, and Glinda. Or did we? The truth is, we don't ever really know the entire story. Do we?

Using an alternate point of view regarding The Wizard of Oz is the entire premise of Wicked. Have you considered taking a familiar story and changing the point of view as a way to inspire your own new works? Have you considered using alternating points of view in your writing? Switching viewpoints takes quite a bit of planning, but when done well it is very enjoyable for the reader. Do you have a favorite book written with an alternating point of view? One I read quite recently was Fractured by Catherine McKenzie and I feel the alternating was done quite well.

Now - for those of you who don't enjoy reading alternating point of view stories, I'll share a few fun stories from my mother in law. You'll see why I feel it is a life skill.

The neighbor comes and goes at unusual times and every time her vehicle backs out of the driveway, the dog barks and you wake up. Frustrating, right? Hmmm...since you can't sleep anyway, you look at the situation from a different point of view. Maybe she's a nurse and she is on the keratoplasty team. She gets called out anytime there's a death at the local hospital and she has limited time to remove the decedents cornea so it can be used to restore vision in the transplant recipient. She's a hero and from there your imagination goes wild - How did the donor die? How did the family of the recipient feel when they got that call? What made her decide to became specialized in this particular procedure? Why aren't more nurses able to do this procedure? Before you know it, you're back to sleep dreaming about heroes in capes saving the world - one eyeball at a time!

A simpler example might be the minivan that pulled out in front of you causing you to lock up your brakes and mutter curse words under your breath. Take a deep breath and come up with a quick story from that person's point of view. Maybe it's a young couple expecting their first child. Mom is panting through her contractions and Dad is frantically trying to get to the hospital before he has to deliver this baby on the side of the road. If I do this quick point of view change, I find myself thinking, I hope they make it on time, instead of who gave this jerk a driver's license?

This may be difficult, but writers will have no problem creating all sorts of fun short tales to explain away frustrating situations in every day life. Give it a try sometime and let us know your thoughts!


Crystal is a council secretary and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 10, Andre 9, Breccan 3, Delphine 2, and baby Eudora due this fall), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE looking at plots and problems through a different POV. You did a great job explaining how conflict can come from two perspectives of the same incident, and how that can change the story.


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