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Color Blind

August 6, 2010

Pine Hollow’s “driveway”. What you see before you is our pasture and treeline.

I was standing just about where that picture was taken on the land we’ve recently bought. This happy little bit of 20 acres (oxymoron, I know) has been christened Pine Hollow.

Anyway, as I was standing there, slowly turning my head to take in the enormous expanse of pasture land (there’s more. What’s above is ours, but other people own more that makes up a giant oval, bordered by trees. Directly behind me is the top of a beautiful mountain) at sunset. I probably stood there for five minutes, alone, nobody close enough to see.

And it was beautiful. It was both startlingly simple and remarkably gorgeous. And it was natural. As I looked at the beauty around me, I thought: Not everyone would see what I see if they were standing here.

Some people would be distracted by the itty bit of sweat going down their back, as opposed to the wonderful breeze that was making its way through the trees at eight o’clock there. They would see bugs jumping on the ground and think: Gross, while I saw the tall grasses and the way the aspens shimmered when their leaves were disrupted by the wind.

They would be thinking: Get me out of here RIGHT NOW. I need my car and air-conditioning! And I’m thinking: Isn’t it incredible that all this is God-given? That it’s just here?

Perspective means everything. We can look at precisely the same thing as another person and have an entirely different reaction to it. You could look at my room and think: Ugh. The walls are pink. Or you could look at my room and think: A girl likes to read here.

How do you see your kitchen, and how does your husband/brother/sister/mom see your kitchen? Your car? The coat closet? The woman at the bus stop outside Walgreens?

You can think: What a beautiful, natural gift, while another thinks: When do we leave?

The questions to ask yourself when writing are:

  • Is this how I see it, or how my character sees it?
  • What do they see when they stand in the middle of a forest?
  • What do they see when they stand in the middle of a subdivision?
  • What do they think when they stand in the middle of a city?
  • What do they feel when they hear a baby laughing?
  • What do they see when they see a man and a dog at the street light, gruff and homeless?

What do they see when you might see something else?

Do they see a different color when you see blue?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Torrie permalink
    August 11, 2010 8:49 PM

    This post really struck me — that is such an important thing in character depth. Perspective. I don’t really think about the fact that my main character’s perspective might be different than my own. Thank you; that definitely gave me something to think about and consider.

  2. August 8, 2010 1:03 PM

    It’s so important to not only understand what your character thinks about all of these things — it’s necessary to make the reader understand what the character thinks, too! I can take plenty of my favorite literary characters and answer those questions, because they were characterized so well. That’s definitely what I am aspiring to. These questions will help!!

    Awesome post 🙂

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