Let’s talk about perspective. Perspective is one of the most powerful tools we have, both as writers and as people. Used correctly, perspective can be a powerful coping tool in times of need, and a fantastic way to draw readers in.
Perspective is one of the primary tools authors use to draw the reader in. Are we going to spend the entire book in one person’s head, seeing the world the way he sees it? Are we going to jump from person to person? Or are we going to see all the players on the stage at once? The choices the author makes in showing us his or her world will vastly change how we feel about the people the story revolves around and their actions.
Perspective in storytelling can also be used in a different way. One of the reasons why epic fantasy is so popular is because authors in this field give us a vast perspective. We can see events going on half a continent away from where the plot currently is. We can see the mountain where Frodo eventually needs to go. We can see the building of armies, and know that eventually they are going to clash. Perspective in epic fantasy allows us to visit an entire new world, if only for 500 or 600 pages. That’s something that draws readers in.
The other method is to zoom in as close as possible. A perfect example of this is The Room, where we spend most of the book inside one room with two people. It’s almost like looking at someone’s life under a microscope. We can see all the things we would skip over in epic fantasy, and notice how these small things add up over time. Done effectively, this more intimate sense of perspective can be just as, if not more thrilling that something with a world or even universe-wide perspective.
But perspective isn’t just a tool for authors – it’s something we can use in our every day life. A sense of perspective allows for us to be balanced when life is unbalanced. We can deal equally well with the highs and the lows, because we see the bigger picture. One thing I’ve noticed is that during times of stress, our perspective tends to shrink. And the smaller our perspective, the less able we are to deal with the stressors in our life. It’s why people commit suicide. The stressors in their life cause them to lose perspective, and for that perspective to grow ever smaller until they are the only thing they can see. It’s why it’s so important for people who are feeling suicidal to reach out to someone else – to regain some perspective.
This idea of perspective is why we see such a wide range of responses to the same stimuli. Being aware of what our perspective is can help us cope in stressful situations. And it can make us better writers.