When you look out the windows throughout your house you always get a different picture. Changing the angle on a subject with a camera can also give you a different way of looking at something. It’s the same scenario when changing viewpoints with characters in a work of fiction.
When writing the first draft of my young adult novel, I told the story from the viewpoint of my protagonist, but I felt something was missing. The story was fine; it would engage the reader and keep them turning the pages, although, telling the story around a young girls’ death requires the readers’ sympathy. The reader could sympathise with the protagonist, who was the best friend of the victim, but what about the victim’s family, and more importantly, the victim herself? The reader needs to know that character, and the only way that can be achieved is if I allowed the victim to speak.
Having read some of the works by James Patterson (does that man ever experience writers’ block?) I can see why he is onto a winning formula. Keeping his chapters short and telling his stories through the viewpoint of more than one character, not only engages the reader, but also makes them understand why a character acts the way they do.
So now I need to go back and write from the viewpoint of the victim, leading up to the time of her death. I’m sure it won’t be a pleasant experience, but if I can write with great feeling for this character, then I’m sure to be on to something for my readers.
Image by Debbie Johansson.