We know what it feels like to be human and write from the perspective of a human. But, what does it feel like to be a shoe or a pencil or a dictionary? And, why should we even try to write from the perspective of a shoe?
What does a shoe think? Do they prefer walking on grass? Does the shoe wish the person wearing them would change their socks more often?
What does a pencil feel like? Are they sad, or scared, to be sharpened?
Would your New College Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language cry at night because you used the on-line dictionary instead of them?
What is the difference between Point of View and Perspective?
The point of view in a story, according to Joe Bunting's Point of View in Writing article, is “the narrator’s position in the description of events.”
(Seriously, if you want to know everything there is to know about Point Of View, or POV, read Joe's article. He even told us the Latin word Point of View came from.)
Here is how I describe Point of View, or POV:
- First Person Point of View; “I am so sick. I want to barf.” As in what I see, hear and feel. (I, me, my)
- Second Person Point of View; “You look really sick. Please don't barf on your shoe.” (You, your)
- Third-person Point of View, Limited; “He looks really sick, He looks like he is going to barf on his shoe.” (He, she, her, his)
- Third-person Point of View, Omniscient; “He looks sick. He looks like he is going to barf on his shoe.” “She looks really sick too. She looks like she is going to barf on her shoe.” The narrator still uses “he” and “she”, but they are all-knowing and seeing. I wonder if the Omniscient narrator knows what everyone ate that is making them so sick? And I wonder how the shoe feels when someone barfs on them?
Perspective, on the other hand, is all about the person's—or shoe's or pencil's—background knowledge and experiences.
A person's experience changes how they respond to life.
A senior citizen who has lived through war and famine will look at the world differently from a child who has never known war or lack of food.
“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.”
― C.S. Lewis,
Or, C.S. Lewis, what sort of shoe you are. A hiking boot would have a different perspective than a sneaker or a shoe with a high heel. Also, a pencil or a shoe will have a limited knowledge of the world, as they have not had the same experiences as a person who has had a chance to eat hamburgers.
However, a pencil will have a deep knowledge about what it is like to be inside of a pencil sharpener, and a stuffed cat will know what it feels like to go through a sewing machine.
The Synonyms of “Perspective”
Another way to understand perspective is to look at the synonyms of the word: angle, eye view, outlook, shoes, slant, standpoint, vantage point, and viewpoint.
Please excuse me for a minute, my New College Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is crying, because I got the list of synonyms for the word perspective from the on-line Merriam-Webster Thesarus.
Write From The Perspective of a Shoe
Writing from the perspective of a shoe will help you think about the world view of something else other than yourself. Unless, of course, you are a shoe. So, if you are a shoe, please forgive me for assuming you are not a writer.
Here is a list of inanimate objects. Cut up the list and pick one of them. Then write from their perspective. If you don't like my list, please choose your own inanimate object:
Inanimate vs. Animate Perspectives
And, just so my dictionary doesn't keep me awake all night crying. I will look up two words in my New College Edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language instead of on-line: Animate and Inanimate.
The first word is on page 52, second column, twelve down from the top. Animate: Possessing life; living.
The second word is on page 663, second column, twelve down from the top. Inanimate: Not animate; not having the qualities associated with active, living organisms.
So, now you know the difference between animate and inanimate. If your object has a heartbeat, it is animate. So please choose again. If your shoe has a heartbeat—run! You might be in The Twilight Zone.
Have you ever written from the perspective of a shoe? Or, are you a shoe? Let me know in the comments.
Choose one of the words from the list, or choose another inanimate object. Write a story from the perspective of the inanimate object for fifteen minutes. Then please share your story in the comments.
Your object can be in a real-life drama. They may want something, and struggle to overcome conflict. A story without conflict is boring. I don’t want to read about how someone has it all together, even if they are a shoe.
If you are a shoe. Please forgive me for assuming you are not a writer. Please choose something from the list that is not a shoe.
Pamela (p.s. I am a human. Not a shoe.)