Monday, May 20, 2013

My Room with a View: Perspective

From Kate's Writing Crate...
            When I walk into my writing space,

I face an elongated window that looks out

over the yard and the edge of some woods. In

spring, I see dozens of shades of green from

grass, ivy, maple and pear leaves, poison ivy,

larch, and daffodil and Vinca leaves. The

evergreen alone has several shades as the

new growth is Midori green and the trumpet

vine twisting through the branches is the color

of martini olives.
The maple trees are mostly taller than the house, but I only see them from ground level up about 15 feet. When seated, however, suddenly the trees tower over me. I can see the tops of all but one. I feel transported to a forest since most of the yard has disappeared from view.

As details are important, I measured and my eye level only dropped 14 inches, but my view has expanded by miles. I can now see blue sky behind a hawk sitting high up on a dead branch watching the cardinals at the birdfeeder.

Since I had no idea a hawk was out there, it makes me consider changing my perspectives as I write my novel. What is behind my characters or not at eye level in the scene? What is visible to adults versus children? What do they notice when they sit down or bend over to pick something up?  Answering these questions will ground my scenes.

Paying attention to the details around me as I write my blog or in my notebook makes my writing richer. I have surrounded my desk with things that delight me. I need to really look at them from time to time, not take them for granted as sunlight catches a clear glass sculpture and a mottled forest green ceramic vase differently as I sit or stand. The facial details of two cartoonish dragon figurines are funnier when I sit; my paintings of a stormy sea and a summer beach are easier to appreciate when I stand.


Taking a break from writing, I stare out the window again. I notice clumps of buttercups through the branches of the evergreen. As the sky clears, the fairview blue background changes the maple leaves from antique jade to tequila. The direct sunlight brightens the grass to lime twist. Shadows add another layer of deep sea greens to the view.

Specific colors with evocative names help readers better imagine written hues. Use paint color fan decks for inspiration. Brazilian Rainforest and Emerald Vapor are much more enticing than simply dark and light green.

In any scene, there are too many details to describe them all, but hone in on what catches your eyes, nose, and ears. If my window was open, I would add the scent of lilacs, the rumbling of cars passing by, and the occasional dog bark to my description. Training ourselves to notice and note down details like these captures our readers' interest and transports them to the worlds we create.

What details do you notice as you look around you right now?

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