Saturday, August 16, 2008

Other Perspectives Pro and Con

This is my s.o. Bruce, with a different perspective.

This subject seems to be in the blogging air. And it occurred to me while my niece, Katey, was visiting. Now Katey is a intelligent, engaged with life and engaging, passionate young woman of 22. And as such, she has her own unique perspectives, different from my own, on many things.

Then Beth of Beth's Adventures mentioned in her post about a piece of artwork painted on the wall of her new home. Very personal to the people living there before--and no doubt delightful to them. And Kathy of Well Placed Words in her post about Ambidextrous Writers discussed switching genres. When a writer does that, another perspective is created.

What are the pros and cons of different perspectives?

The pros are strong and an excellent reminder to keep the mind open. How many times have you've been brought to an epiphany by a different perspective: "Whoa, I never thought of it that way before?" Or "hey, that would work." Often, new vistas, new ideas, new paths open up with a different perspective: "Wow, I never saw it that way--that'd work."

The cons: well, a different perspective can be too personal. See Beth's Adventures above. It can be confusing and even dangerous to get too many or too diverse of different perspectives. For an example: a writer friend of mine always listens to other's opinions of her work. But open-minded willingness can go too far--as a consequence she never finishes anything, continually re-writing the same w.i.p.

So, what are some new perspectives you've noticed lately? And where have they led?


The Muse said...

Hi Conda!

For the longest time I just kept my blinders on and never saw the light. Lately, about the last 5 years, I've been seeing things differently. The Internet in general has given me this new insightful view on things, all things good and bad.

I've opened myself up to so many different thoughts since. I believe allowing that flow makes things a little more interesting.

I could go on, but I'll save it for a post.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Conda Douglas said...

Yes, muse, flow is much to be desired. And a new way of looking at things is one way to achieve it.

You too, have a great weekend.

Swubird said...


I have addressed this issue of perspective before, and I think it's an important topic.

Here's a little experiment. Imagine how sound feels to a person who can't hear. Describe it. Imagine how a tree appears to a bird, or an ant. Describe it. Imagine how the world appears to a blind person. For instance, imagine that all of your characters are blind soldiers. Describe the battle. I know these examples sound obvious, but sometimes I think we forget to see things from a different perspective, so we miss the chance to transform a good story into a great story. Because, as writers, changing perspective is a valuable tool that helps us to create exciting new people, places and things.

Happy trails.

Conda Douglas said...

Wow, great ideas, Swu! Blind soldiers? Not obvious. And very useful for my w.i.p. because my main characters are only six inches boy, do they have a different perspective!

Dave King said...

Yes, this is an important subject, but a highly individual one. I am a great believer in a change of perspective, and can't say I have ever found it to be confusing or dangerous, but I suppose you find these things either librating or restricting... another exampe of having to work out your own salvation in fear and tremmbling?

Anonymous said...

An excellent point. There's a fine line between being flexible and being wishy-washy. It can be hard, too. If you're writing one thing and another though begs to be written, do you stop your current project in favor of the new one? If so, you may never finish a project. If not, you may be passing up a chance to work on something even better than what you're currently on. As for listening to everyone else's critiques, one suggestion I've heard is to only take into account those suggestions that ring true for you and those that more than one person bring up. Otherwise, it's all just opinions. Hope your friend is able to get to that point. :-)

Conda Douglas said...

Good point, Dave. And I suspect it is also a matter of confidence/belief in your own writing. I think that is the problem with my friend, she lacks the filter of "that's an opinion and one I don't agree with." To this day, I'm not sure if she's ever finished the first chapter.

Conda Douglas said...

Too true, Caryn, especially the part about being flexible. I've seen both sides of the problem--forcing myself to stay in a work when taking a break might fix where I was stuck, but also having so many sticks in the creative fire I burned everything down!

And yes, I hope so for my friend too, her first chapter is gonzo, no matter which of the 40+ versions you read!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the plug, Conda. I hope no one thinks I'm criticizing the artist or her work - it's just not something I want to live with for the next three years. I wish I could remove it in one piece and give it to someone else to enjoy, but it's painted on the wall. So I'll acknowledge the joy it gave the family who lived here before, and sadly cover it with something more appropriate for OUR family.

Good points, everyone!

And Conda, congrats on your recent successes!!

Conda Douglas said...

Oh, I don't believe anyone would think that about your post--that you're criticizing--no only that tastes and opinions can be very personal and even unique--so paint a painting that you can take with you when you move!

Kathy McIntosh said...

Good post, Conda.
Different personalities have different receptivity to different perspectives. I'm a 7 on the Enneagram chart (you can find out what it is by Googling!), open to everything to the point of exhaustion. And in danger of accepting too many other opinions as Gospel.
So heeding that inner compass is mighty important to some, dangerous to others.

Conda Douglas said...

Too true, Kathy--it does depend on your personality as well. Some people go way too far the opposite direction and every word they write is pure--well maybe not gold--but at least sterling silver that will never tarnish!