Developing perspective as a creative writer

The creative mind is one which sees life from a different perspective to that of the average person.

Creative ideas are inspired by the things we see, hear and experience in our everyday lives, and go beyond the normal or standard way of thinking.

A creative mind sees beyond what is visible, to the hidden thoughts, intentions, ideas and actions leading up to the moment captured in the image before them. A creative writer takes all that information and weaves it into a seamlessly comprehensive story.

Here are a few ways to develop your perspective as a creative writer: 

1. See the story behind the scenes. 

There’s a back-story to every scene playing before you. The young woman driving by in the red and black ford, the little spotted dog that runs up to you with his ball every time he sees you, the gentleman taking out the trash… they all have a story.

There were many events leading up to the one you see playing out right now, and being able to narrate those events is key in telling their story.

The trick is not really in knowing what happened, it’s in being able to imagine what could’ve happened. Imagine who they are, where they are coming from and where they are headed.

Begin from the scene you’re on and trace the story back to the beginning, or as far back as you can go.

You may choose to do this for individual characters or multiple ones, or for even just the scene itself.

This will help in your ability to develop a plot and characters. 

2. Think outside the box. 

I think the only time you should take write what you know seriously is when it’s obvious that your story is lacking in logical and emotional sense. A story that lacks both is not just going to be unbelievable, it’d also be creativity working in reverse, and I don’t know what that could be called. Lunacy, maybe. 

I like to think of art as a venture with no rules. That’s why unlike science, you can begin a story with the end and end with the beginning. Art has no rules. It only needs to make sense. Harry Potter made sense to every reader and I assume J. K. Rowling didn’t need to become a witch to tell about witches and their school curriculum.

Write what makes sense, not necessarily what you know. As long as the reader can draw a logical link from the premise to the conclusion, you’re good to go. 

3. Pick a different viewpoint character. 

In my opinion, this is the most helpful, especially if your books/stories are written with only one viewpoint character. 

The purpose of a story informs the perspective from which it is told. Point of view simply asks, from whose eyes shall your readers witness the events that make up your story?

A story is not so much about an event or series of events as it is about the perspective from which it’s told. Story therefore, is about a character’s direct or indirect experience of an event, since the same event can mean different things to different characters at the same time. The implication here is that different stories can be generated from the same event depending on whose perspective drives the telling.

For example, in writing a story of a day in the jungle when a lion pounced on an antelope and made a meal of the flesh on her bones, this event would come across very differently depending on who was narrating it.

The story from the lion’s perspective, may showcase power and brute strength, and may draw empathy to the helpless and endangered from the viewpoint of the antelope. An indifferent viewpoint in the face of evil may be telling the story through the eyes of the monkey who did nothing while the lion violated the fundamental animal right of the antelope. 

So, pick a story you like and rewrite that story from another character’s perspective (this can be used to write retellings of popular/famous stories). 

For kicks and giggles, here is a flash-fiction story I wrote retelling a portion of the “Prodigal Son” bible story from a different character’s perspective: 

Till next time, keep writing!!

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