I know what it is like to be a cat. Because, I am a cat. I know what is like to eat dry cat food on the floor. I know what it is like to eat grass. I know what it is like to not have any thumbs and wait for someone to open the door or a can of food for me.
Why Writing From the Perspective of a Cat Will Help You Become a Better Writer
A story becomes alive in the details. Yet, often we take our own perspective for granted. We make assumptions about the worldview of the reader. I often forget the reader can not visualize what I am imagining, and I don't put in enough details to clearly describe what is happening in the story.
For a creative writing class I took at the University where I received my Bachelor of Mouse Hunting Degree, I wrote a story about a kitten I helped raise. In the story I said I carried the kitten everywhere I went. The other writers in my class thought the kitten was disabled because I carried it all the time.
The kitten wasn't disabled. It was however naughty and kept running towards the road.
Don't Forget Your Reader's Perspective When You Write
If you are writing a story about someone eating a meal, you may write. “He ate his dinner.” You assume the reader can visualize the person sitting at a table, sitting on a chair. Eating with a knife and fork with a napkin on their lap.
But what if I were to write, “He ate his dinner”? I would assume the reader knows I am talking about a cat, as I am a cat. A cat who writes. I would assume you can see what I visualize. A cat eating his dinner of dried kibble on a dinner plate on the floor. He doesn't use a knife and fork and there is no napkin to wipe his face with after he eats.
A good exercise to notice detail is to write from another species point of view.
Let's Write A Story From The Perspective Of An Animal
Writing from another species point of view will help our writing, as we have to notice detail. And it is in the details that our story comes alive. Did the person eat with their hands? Was the table a card table? An oak table? Was their only one chair at the table? Was the person eating alone or with friends? Did the cat eat all of his food?
As I am a cat. I will write for fifteen minutes as a human. And you will write for fifteen minutes as though you were an animal. You may be a dog if you wish, or a raccoon. Or any other species you would like to write about. However, I am curious, curious as a cat, to read your stories as though you were a cat.
Have you ever had a reader not understand what you were writing about in a story? Let us know in the comments.
Write for fifteen minutes as though you an animal. Perhaps a cat? A dog? Or, if you prefer, another species. And see the world through their eyes. Let's notice details together. When you are finished, please post your practice in the comments section. I look forward to reading your stories.
All my best,
Pooh Hodges is the cat who writes. He is an author, an entrepreneur and a visionary. He dictates to his typist every morning before he takes a nap in a sunbeam. He is currently writing his memoir, a tragic tale of loss and redemption.
Pooh would love to be your friend and he would love to connect with you on his blog, thecatwhowrites.com