For the moment, try something with me. Normally I would tell a story or the story I want to tell from a somewhat fixed perspective (POV). Even though I may not be consciously aware of it my biases are in play. You know, those assumptions we all make about life whether they’re objectively true or not. This is about freeing ourselves from that and writing more consistently “in character.”
So here’s the one minute (or so) exercise I dare you to try in expanding your story scope. First, jot down how you perceive a situation and from whose POV. This can be reality or fiction. Walk or speed through a scene as it plays out from this character’s POV. Hint: The first is probably you.
Then take a step back and try to view the same set of circumstances from another’s POV. Play it out as far as it feels comfortable. Do you notice how that person’s life experience and personal biases differ from the first? How are they different? Mood? Intelligence? Intuition?
Now switch POVs for a third time. Hopefully this time you’re using your imagination to go outside your direct memory or experience. Really allow your creative mind to step into the scene. What observations or plot changes naturally occur in the same set of circumstances? Take notes and document all three perspectives.
This is such an enlightening exercise regarding the influence of a character’s filter. Understanding character filters is especially important in writing for series television or movie franchises. When we slip inside the skin of another person we learn all kinds of things.
Character filters are pretty specific in fictional storytelling. If you binge watch a series, you’re probably already aware of the lead characters’s filter. It’s predictable (to a degree) and that, beyond plot contrivances, are what drive us to tune in again or go see the sequel. This study may even help you understand your best friend or partner better!
So that’s it for today’s tip. Character filters. I hope you’ll give it a try, go deeper and share your experiences in the comments below. Until next time.