Monday, September 7, 2015

The POV of a Tree (hey, it rhymes!)

As a writer, I've put myself in all sorts of perspectives--or points of view (POVs) over the years, male and female, white knights, villains, children, animals, and everything in-between. My agent, upon reading Nightkeepers, remarked that with all the POVs I used, she kept expecting to hear from the perspective of the big tree at the center of Skywatch.

(I was a little abashed I hadn't thought of that. Because, World Tree!)

The fabulous and mega-bestselling Suzanne Brockmann taught me very early in my career (I was fortunate to share a writing group with her, Lisa Gardner, Hannah Howell, Patricia Grasso, and Judith Arnold, to name a few) to keep my POV pure. In other words, not to use language or thoughts that wouldn't be organic to the character whose head I'm in at a given moment, even if it would make my life a whole lot easier when it comes to descriptions and such.

For example, my cowboy hero might stretch his long legs out in front of him as he leans back against a tree, he probably doesn't note the powerful muscles of his own thighs, or the way his worn jeans showcase his bulge. Unless he's a narcissist or something of a dick, that is, and I don't tend to write those kinds of heroes. My guys is far more likely to notice that his knees hurt or his socks don't match. Or, better yet, how the heroine looks coming toward him with fire in her eyes. 

POV applies to everyday life, too, as we're expected to put ourselves in other people's shoes, to better understand their take on things. And not just people, either. Back when I owned the farm, I spent way too much of my time thinking like a horse--i.e., trying to see the world through the eyes of a suicidal prey animal with long, spindly legs and hooves that could get stuck in the darnedest places. A gopher hole? Obvious death trap. The metal bars covering a window at eyeball height, protecting the glass? Less obvious, but I knew not one, but two horses who rolled around and got a foot stuck way up high, and spent the night hung up by one back hoof.

These days, as Wallaby goes increasingly mobile Arizona and I shift into baby-proofing mode, I'm learning a whole new perspective--that of a small human who sees the world from shin high, thinks everything at twice that height is solid enough to pull himself up on, and doesn't yet get that going face first off the edge of a precipice stops working the moment said cliff is higher than a couch cushion laid on the floor. 

Thus, I find myself going through the house, seeing things with new eyes. Me? I'd never think to pop a dishwasher pod in my mouth and give it a chew. But it's so pretty! And shiny! And it bounces! 


So wish me luck, dear ReaderFriends, and I try to anticipate all the ways Wallaby (in collusion with his kitten) might try to hurt himself, and no doubt fail to anticipate them all. But at the same time, enjoy with me the fun of picturing yourself a foot off the ground, with no fear and the pure and innocent belief that there will always be someone there to catch you when you fall. And have a wonderful Labor Day week :)

1 comment:

  1. Crawl around the house on your hands and knees. Will give you an interesting viewpoint, not to mention help you spot a few "uh-oh's" that you might not have seen before.