#MondayBlogs Writing Tips: Different Perspectives

8 Aug

I love writing from different perspectives. Both my YA series—The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods—are written in first POV but from two different speakers. I love using this technique for novel writing, because I enjoy first person, but I dislike how it restricts the storytelling to one character, especially when a scene would be better from a different perspective. So, I have two protagonists, and of course, there are complications that come along with this. What’s the most common question I am asked?

How do you make each voice unique?

I’ll provide a few aspects to keep in mind, but of course, this journey will be different for every writer and every novel. First, know that every character should have its own distinct voice. A reader should be able to open the novel and know who is speaking immediately. This is more difficult than it sounds, but it can get easier over time.

1. Perspective. 

The most obvious change between one voice to another is their unique perspective. What is their background? How do they feel? Where were they educated? Are they affecting the words, or are you? It’s important that characters have their own voice, and that voice will come out in combination with their personalities and backgrounds. For instance, your character who is a fashion designer would definitely use specific colors and fabrics to describe clothes, but your mechanic character might not.

2. Pay Attention to Diction and Syntax

Just like authors have their own “voice,” so do characters. Because of their backgrounds, characters will have different vocabularies. One character may use very flowery language, while another may have less of a need to elaborate. Consider their education, where they come from, and what they might know. The way they speak should differ, whether they are talking out loud or explaining the scene inwardly. Sometimes, syntax can be used to emphasize certain speech patterns, but be careful not to overuse syntax. Too many exclamations or repeated habits/phrases can become tedious and boring rather than unique and fun. Sometimes less is more. Little clues are normally enough.

3. Consider Rhythm

Honestly, I think rhythm is often overlooked, but paying attention to subtle changes in sound and length of sentences is important. One character’s thoughts may drag on, so their sentences are longer, while another might make short lists to contain their thoughts. Like everything making up your character, a person’s rhythm will depend on their personality, background, and goals. It could even change from scene to scene, but consistency is key.

All four of these women would tell a different story about this picture.

All four of these women would tell a different story about this picture.

One of my favorite exercises:

Write a chapter in which the two characters are talking. Write it from POV 1, and then, rewrite the exact same scene from POV 2. Check to make sure the dialogue and the physical actions are the exact same, but then, compare the thought process. How did the scene change? What does this change mean? Do they each bring a unique perspective? And out of those perspectives, which one is best to use?

As an example, two people can be talking and Person A could notice Person B is fidgeting. Person A may assume Person B is nervous, but when you tell it from Person B’s perspective, you learn that they are distracted, not nervous. These little bits can truly morph the way characters interact. I always encourage this exercise when starting out, even if the writer isn’t planning on telling from another’s perspective.

This exercise helps me understand the characters, and I feel more confident when I move onto a new scene. (Sometimes, it even helps me choose which scene to use…and worse case scenario, you have an extra scene to release as an extra for your readers.)

Have fun and good luck! 

Original posted March 31, 2013

~SAT

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE across all eBook platforms right now! (And I’m dutifully working on the next installment, too!) Happy reading. 😀

November Rain

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November Snow, 

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Bad Bloods Free Book

Bad Bloods Free Book

 

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10 Responses to “#MondayBlogs Writing Tips: Different Perspectives”

  1. Don Massenzio August 8, 2016 at 6:04 am #

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog.

  2. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books August 8, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    That is such a great advice, I’ll be sure to follow it from now onwards!

    • Shannon A Thompson August 8, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading and commenting. 😀
      ~SAT

  3. debyfredericks August 8, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    I like to play with POV on some scenes, having a character gain information that another character needs. So the reader can put things together that the characters, separately, can’t connect. Also, it builds suspense for the reader when a character makes a decision because they lack the information, and the reader knows it will cause complications.

    Also, I think it’s more interesting to surprise readers with a different perspective.

  4. Rosepoint Publishing August 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    Good post! I recently read a novel in which the POV came from both the protagonist and the antagonist. Weird to get into the head of the “bad” guy!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #MondayBlogs Writing Tips: Different Perspectives | ~Let Your Words Flow~ - August 8, 2016

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  2. #YouKnowYouAreAWriterWhen you can flip your own switches. #VotB | Write on the World - August 19, 2016

    […] #MondayBlogs Writing Tips: Different Perspectives […]

  3. August’s Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - August 31, 2016

    […] Writing Tips: Different Perspectives: I love telling stories from two perspectives, but more goes into than you think […]

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