Think of your favorite character, the one that changed your life and made you look at people and the world differently. What did the author do in order to bring that character to life?
Some of you may remember Josh Hoyt and his amazing blog about using psychology to create characters. He went on an extended blogging break, but he came back with his book! Congratulations to Josh. Today he's talking about perspective and how that affects your characters. Thank you, Josh. Take it away!
By Josh Hoyt
Recently I had a discussion with my wife about support and how we both have a different perspective of how support looks. The support I'm talking about is how we help each other accomplish our goals. Her perspective of the perfect support is a more hands off approach while I enjoy a more hands on and direct approach. When we give support to each othe,r we do give that support in the way that we perceive to be the best way and as a result we really don't give the best support to the other person that we could give. In fact, when we feel that we are giving a lot of support often, the other one doesn't feel very supported at all. She feels like I'm pushy and expecting perfection, while I feel like she doesn't care when she supports me. This of course leads to confusion, and uhm, let's call it a discussion. :) After 13 years of marriage, you would think that we would understand each other perfectly, but alas we are still trying to learn each others perspective.
Perspective is the way we see things because of the experiences that we have had and the personality that we are born with, and because we all have had different experiences and we all have unique personalities, we each have a different perspective. As a result of this uniqueness, we have difficulty, at times, understanding those around us and regrettably this can lead to fights and even wars.
When we think about perspective, we also need to understand the different filters that we have in place as we receive input from the out-side world. When a person makes a decision on how to act they will take what they perceive from the out-side world and mix it up with what they have inside of them (feelings, thoughts, and past experiences). After they have mixed all this stuff up they make a decision on how to act. These “inside” things are the filters they have in place to deal with the world around them and affect how they perceive the world around them. For example if a person has an ex-wife who cheated on them they will be more suspicious of their new wife when that wife comes home later than expected or if a child is used to being hit when they make a mistake when they are moved out of that situation they will still flinch at an adult who raises their hand unexpectedly even if the adult had no intention of hitting the child.
Now back to the story of my wife and me. After discussing and learning about each others perspective on support, we are now able to support each other in the way that each other needs to be supported. More importantly, we can now understand each other a little bit more and this helps us grow closer and makes our relationship that much stronger. As we learn more and more about each others perspective, we grow closer together and are more invested in each other. Our willingness to support and understand each other increases and we want to learn more about each other. This can also be applied to the husband and wife and the child and adult mentioned above. As the two sides of the situations learn to understand each others perspectives, they will learn to be more sensitive to each other. The wife will call when she knows she is going to be late and the adult will be more sensitive to their hand gestures around the child.
When we create our characters, we need to understand their experiences, feelings, and thoughts so that when they receive input from the out-side world they respond appropriately to that information and according to their own personal perspective of “life, the universe, and everything.” In addition to our characters responding appropriately and according to their perspective, we will help our readers understand our character's perspective through the responses those characters make. This in turn helps our readers connect more intimately with our characters and want to learn more about our characters (which will increase book sells!!! :)
SO in truth to truly understand another's perspective, we must first walk in their shoes.
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HAPPY CANADA DAY TO ALL MY CANADIAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY!