My beta readers all loved one character in particular when they read through my first novel, but if it weren’t for me hitting a mental block (and being seriously bitter at the amount of effort it was taking to write my first book), I wouldn’t have explored that character at all.
Sometimes, we overlook the insightful viewpoints that we’ve scattered throughout our novel in favor of the ones we deem most influential.
And while I agree, primary characters need to be fleshed out with more effort than those who only have a few lines, I find this exercise to be extremely helpful when I’m struggling to figure out every motive, emotion, or action in a chapter or story arc.
THE SUBTLE PERSPECTIVE CHALLENGE
For this challenge, I want you to pick a subtle character from your story and explore a scene through their eyes.
Before you get started, here are some tips to help you get the most out of this challenge:
1. CHOOSE A SCENE THAT SHEDS LIGHT
Don’t just pick a character and then write a random scene with zero importance! Give that character a chance to enlighten you on life in your story from their viewpoint by choosing a scene where their perspective is important.
2. PICK A CHARACTER WITH UNIQUE INSIGHT
The family hamster could be a funny perspective, but does it see, hear, and know as much as the family dog or cat? Get the most out of your subtle character exploration by choosing a subtle character who knows the most about the situation.
3. DON'T SHY AWAY FROM CHARACTERS YOU'LL NEVER MENTION
Just because they won’t be featured in your novel, doesn’t mean they don’t have something you can use. Have fun with this challenge and dig into all of the character available to you!
Use the Character Interview Questionnaires to interview your subtle character, or get started by diving right into a new scene to see what you come up with.
The point here is to explore that characters’ personality and viewpoint in tandem to see what you can unearth about your story that you weren’t previously aware of.
With this exercise, I’ve discovered epic backstories, motives and emotions that I had previously never considered, hidden connectivity, missing pieces, and then some.
What will you discover 😉 ?
Whose perspective did you explore?
Let me know in the comments below! I enjoy viewing my story through the eyes of animals and unsuspecting characters who don’t know the wiser about what’s happening around them. Who was your favorite subtle perspective and why?