Description: A Character’s View Point

We often think it’s only the narrator’s job to provide description, but characters also have an affect on how something is described. The difference is, the narrator’s version of evens is usually the truth where as a character sees things from his or her worldview. The emotional state of a character will also greatly affect how a scene is perceived.

In the two short scenes below one is terrified of a storm while the other finds comfort.

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Mary and Tom bought a two-story farmhouse in the country with the intention of turning it into their dream house. Tom worked in town. Mary worked from home.

Mary had always lived in either an apartment or a condo. She’d never live in the country before.

This is her first experience with a bad storm while living in her new home.

Winds swirled dust and swished the trees limbs against the house. Mary thought someone was tying to invade her home.

The house creaked with the intensity of the winds. Mary imagined she heard the intruder’s footsteps.

Thick ominous clouds engulfed the mid-afternoon sky.

House lights died plunging Mary into darkness. She was scared of the dark. Thunder shook the house. Lightening cast long spindly creature-like shadows across the floor that chased after her.

The storm kept Tom in town. By the time he returned home, Mary was a pool of shattered nerves and hysterical tears.

***

Jolene inherited the house from her grandparents. She had many fond memories of visits with them.

At the beginning of the storm, Jolene turned the lights out. She brought hot chocolate and comforter into the living room.

She started a fire in the fireplace and pushed the curtains back giving her a clear view of the storm through the bay window.

When she was little, Jolene would cry in fear of storms like this.

Her grandfather would come to her room and hold her until her wails quieted to sniffling. He then brought her to bed to sleep with him and Granny.

Little Jolene would snuggle in between them and fall asleep knowing she was safe.

Adult Jolene finished the hot chocolate, wrapped in the comforter Granny had netted for her, snuggled on the couch, and fell asleep while watching the storm.

***

The same storm, the same house, but two different points of view. Because of past experiences each character has a different reaction to the storm. Their reactions describe the scene.

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I’m sure you noticed that the above scenes were written in tell. I planned to rewrite them and show you how the two women reacted to the storm, but I decided not to.

Instead, I’m going to use the scenes as part of my writing training. I’ll study how to write suspenseful and emotional scenes. Then I’ll rewrite the storm scenes and see how well I do.

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This is another post in my study to Become a Great Author.

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