I bet you like reading books a lot. There is no point to describe why we enjoy reading, what it gives us, and how addicting it can be. My post today is about something different. As a reader, you must have a favorite novel, or a short story. In it, the plot most likely revolves around one or several characters, and events are described only from their perspective. Don’t you think it’s unfair?
In other words, imagine that some parts of the story you like were told on the behalf of secondary or even tertiary characters. I’ve already seen things like this in detective stories, where an author describes, for example, what a murderers’ victim thinks about or feels like in her or his last moments. However, such approach still remains rather rare (at least I haven’t seen it often).
Can you imagine how Gollum felt when he guided the two hobbits through Mordor? What were his thoughts and feelings? What Lord Voldemort thought about his minions? What was the daily life of a random Ministry of Love employee, and what he or she was thinking about deep at night, lying without sleep in a half-ruined house in socialistic England? What a common Minas-Tirith guard feels like when seeing Sauron’s army approaching the walls he was standing on? What was the way of thinking of the fabulous John Coffee from the “Green Mile?” Or how would “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” sound like if written by nurse Ratched?
These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself when thinking about your favorite stories. Fortunately, you are not only a reader, but a writer as well—which means you can give the answer to everything you wonder about. So, take your pen, or open a MS Word file, and write your own version of events on the behalf of any secondary character you like. Let it be your exercise. I bet it will help you widen your perspective, help you consider multiple points of view, and create more vivid characters when writing.
Good luck, and stay updated!