Perception and Reality: POV


If four people were in a room and saw a confrontation you would probably get four different (sometimes very different) stories of what happened.  Everyone shades what happens through the way they view the world and their own thoughts and preconceptions.  Even specific words might change as people misremember what they or other people said, and body posture and intonation also take on completely different shades depending upon the viewer of a situation.

I bring this up because one of amazing things with writing is that we can show this so easily, how an event can be interrupted in different ways depending upon whose head we are in.  It’s a device used in many of my favorite books.  It ties heavily into the beginning of the Fall of House Nemeni, and used a few other places too.  I have had people write me and say, “Hey how come things looked different in this chapter and the other time it was told.” I then have them go back and look and keep in mind that it was from a different characters viewpoint, and they could see how that heavily altered the perception of an event.

One person recently asked me, “So what is the real story, what is really happening, who is right?”  As a writer, I do have a pretty good idea of what is really occurring, but I would like to think I am biased too.  I see events as how they affect the overall plot, and frankly that is not the full story either.  There are also some passages that let readers know information that is secret, and completely changes the way they read all the dialogue already said.  Personally, I enjoy those moments, when you realize everything said buy someone in the past might have been different then you thought. I talked to a reader recently who did not like those types of things revealed when seeing someone’s viewpoint.  They preferred having things revealed in actions, and viewed from the main protagonists view, than from inside other people’s heads.

Poll Question:

Do you like to have the revelation of some secrets to be from when antagonists or background characters get a POV, or do you want everything revealed in action viewed by the protagonists?

1)Revealed by Protagonist perception only

2)Some reveals by POV can be good

Miscellaneous other things:

On advice connected to a group of writers I am with, I have increased my twitter followers from about 17 to 350+ in a weekend.  We will see how this goes, but so far I have met some really interesting people.  Twitter is still not my favorite social media at all, but it is a neat way to meet a lot of people and learn just a little about them.  The chat on #steampunkchat was tons of fun too!

Someone asked that with floating islands, airships, and pirates, if that meant we would have sky mermaids.  They answered their own question when they realized that would mean harpies, who are much less cooler than mermaids.  Hmm I wonder if people really want harpies in this?

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About mdkenning

E-book clockpunk fantasy author View all posts by mdkenning

3 responses to “Perception and Reality: POV

  • SuperCraftifFragilistic

    I like both. I hadn’t read a whole lot of books with this device before, and I am happy to see everything from one point of view, but it is intriguing to me to get different sides of the story. It’s kind of like the whole idea that history is different depending which side of the war you’re on, and gives more dimension to the story and characters.

  • amkenning

    yes mermaids. yes harpies.

    as far as POV reveals, it depends on how much you want dramatic irony. If you want the readers to know things your main characters don’t. If you want things to stay a mystery, then don’t let the readers find out things the characters don’t know.

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