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Thread: What perspective do you take?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I think the author cannot control the reader's perspective.
    Of course they can. We do it all the time. If you fail to adapt the POV the piece is written from, that has more to do with your reading comprehension than the author's skill, or intent. The piece you quoted is clearly 1st/present, if you see it from a third person POV that's just wrong.

    We can try. Maybe we should think more about how to do that.
    Sure, open the POV can of worms again, but no one is going to say anything new. It will just be a rehash (as has already begun) of which POV everyone likes best. They can all work and they all have their place in our tool kits. All we need to do is find the POV that works best for the story we are writing and use it. Readers, at least not reasonably intelligent ones, will envision the story in the POV the writer chooses. It really is that simple.



    I don't know what the author intended, but that's first person present tense and yet I take a camera view. Perhaps because the author is providing a description from a distance. (The main character is a fetus, that wasn't clear to me on first reading.)
    The author's intent is clear. And the nature of the narrator (a fetus) is quite clear after the first eight words. I think it's a pretty damned good job of making that point.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  2. #12
    You're making a very common error. There's the POV you can determine just by looking at the book. For example, first person present. Then there's the perspective the reader takes, which is really difficult to know. It's so difficult one might want to give up on reader perspective -- but it's all that really matters; the words in the book are just tools to influence the reader's perspective.

    If you don't distinguish the two, then the conversation isn't that useful. I think terms like "Third person limited" actually confuses the two together.

    For example, we can ask if describing a scene from the author's perspective (the foetus is upside down) influences what perspective the reader takes. Camera perspective for me. A character perspective for others? And that's a really interesting and important question with implications for third past.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    You're making a very common error. There's the POV you can determine just by looking at the book. For example, first person present. Then there's the perspective the reader takes, which is really difficult to know. It's so difficult one might want to give up on reader perspective -- but it's all that really matters; the words in the book are just tools to influence the reader's perspective.

    If you don't distinguish the two, then the conversation isn't that useful. I think terms like "Third person limited" actually confuses the two together.

    For example, we can ask if describing a scene from the author's perspective (the foetus is upside down) influences what perspective the reader takes. Camera perspective for me. A character perspective for others? And that's a really interesting and important question with implications for third past.
    Do you realize how much potential damage you do to new writers? Your constant habit of trying to make the basics of writing into a confusing morass of jargon is ridiculous and confusing. There is no perspective chosen by the reader. The POV written is the POV of the story.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






  4. #14
    It seems to me that if two people are walking single file, I as reader could see them from a slight distance. Or, if the second person is the focal character, I might see it more like someone walking in front of me. Or if I identify strongly with the lead character, I might see the scene as someone is walking behind me. Or, fourth possibility, that I am sniper and they are walking towards me. Or I have been left behind and they walking away from me.

    That doesn't exist?

    You seem to acknowledge that I might see the mother upright with the fetus upside down. And you say that I should instead take the first-person perspective, implying two perspectives.

    A quick look at websites supports your position -- there maybe no value talking about the reader perspective, perhaps because it doesn't exist, although again I must say it seems to exist for me.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    It seems to me that if two people are walking single file, I as reader could see them from a slight distance. Or, if the second person is the focal character, I might see it more like someone walking in front of me. Or if I identify strongly with the lead character, I might see the scene as someone is walking behind me. Or, fourth possibility, that I am sniper and they are walking towards me. Or I have been left behind and they walking away from me.

    That doesn't exist?

    You seem to acknowledge that I might see the mother upright with the fetus upside down. And you say that I should instead take the first-person perspective, implying two perspectives.

    A quick look at websites supports your position -- there maybe no value talking about the reader perspective, perhaps because it doesn't exist, although again I must say it seems to exist for me.
    Hey Emma,


    Isn't what you are speaking of kind of the same concept as the old saw of 'is the cup half empty or half full?', whereby depending on whether you see it as one or the other suggests a certain bias in perspective? Perhaps even suggestive of a mental state - seeing the cup always as half empty could be symptomatic of depression, etc?

    If so, isn't this an individual thing? Outside, for the most part, the control (and therefore the interest) of the author?

    I mean, we all know the cup is neither half empty nor half full, it is merely half. We all know that there's scientifically no such thing as being 'upside down', there is only one object's position relative to another's, that these are all issues that are fundamentally not about 'existence' but about 'persistence' (what's deemed correct is simply what prevails to the greatest number of people) and that, in terms of writing, the only meaningful exercise is to have a sense of what will work for most readers, not each reader as a biased individual?
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  6. #16
    I watch Ahmed and Sergio walk away single file. With my broken foot, I'm not going anywhere.

    I fall in behind Ahmed. I had leaving Ricardo behind, but we have a mission.

    Those change my perspective; I try to experience first person present as something like me being the character. But some people hate first person present, so maybe they haves a different perspective.

    I think I could get the same effects with third person. But those were written from a particular character's perspective. What about when the scene isn't written that way?

    My eyebrows jump up in surprise.

    That throws me outside the character -- I'm looking at raising eyebrows, even though it's first person present. Or Stein talks about first person present having immediate intimacy, but if the character is talking to me as reader, I am in a chair looking at the character and there's no intimacy.

    There's things we can do to affect how a reader sees a scene. It's hard to say how well they work, because it's so hard to get information on reader's actual perspective.
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  7. #17
    A floozy? I love that
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    No, I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    I watch Ahmed and Sergio walk away single file. With my broken foot, I'm not going anywhere.

    I fall in behind Ahmed. I had leaving Ricardo behind, but we have a mission.

    Those change my perspective; I try to experience first person present as something like me being the character. But some people hate first person present, so maybe they haves a different perspective.

    I think I could get the same effects with third person. But those were written from a particular character's perspective. What about when the scene isn't written that way?

    My eyebrows jump up in surprise.

    That throws me outside the character -- I'm looking at raising eyebrows, even though it's first person present. Or Stein talks about first person present having immediate intimacy, but if the character is talking to me as reader, I am in a chair looking at the character and there's no intimacy.

    There's things we can do to affect how a reader sees a scene. It's hard to say how well they work, because it's so hard to get information on reader's actual perspective.
    So this isn't really a question of perspective so much as context, right?

    I think that's why you got the harsh reaction from Terry, because perspective in writing usually refers to P.O.V and this isn't about P.O.V. This is about the way a reader interprets what is being described.

    My point stands: It's not really something you can control. You can only speak for your own perspective as the writer, how you would see it in the place of a reader.

    I really don't personally think it's worth worrying about, although if its an interest of yours, go for it. I feel like the moment a writer starts worrying about the intricacies of what a reader might see and understand, the moment they doom themselves into a rabbit hole of self-doubt.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  9. #19
    Isn't the reader's perspective the thing that really distinguishes it from film? On TV you see what you are shown. In a book, you have more licence. In my opinion this freedom makes books the more engaging medium: the story i read isn't entirely what the author intended, nor is it whatever i fancy imagining, but some meeting between the two that will be unique for every reader.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by epimetheus View Post
    Isn't the reader's perspective the thing that really distinguishes it from film? On TV you see what you are shown. In a book, you have more licence. In my opinion this freedom makes books the more engaging medium: the story i read isn't entirely what the author intended, nor is it whatever i fancy imagining, but some meeting between the two that will be unique for every reader.
    I'd say it depends on the type of book and the type of TV and the competency of writing. The reader's perspective in a book is governed by the choice of words and if the words are very specific there's not necessarily a whole lot of freedom of perspective, unless you want to cite really trivial things like what's going on in the background of of the scene that isn't clearly stated or stated at all, in which case yeah I guess that's a plus point for books: We can all decide for ourselves what a Dickensian London street scene looks and sounds and smells like, for instance. Because Dickens doesn't specify all of it where a clip from a movie adaption would.

    But if we are talking about the narrative and the story, I feel that a good writer doesn't allow the reader boundless freedom of interpretation there. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the more control the writer maintains over the reader's perspective usually results in a better book. Which is why we use terms like 'gripping', 'immersive', etc to describe good writing and words like 'vague' to describe poor writing.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

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