Monday, March 26, 2018

A Character's Profession and Viewpoint

I've written several blogs on how viewpoint affects what you description in a scene. For example, a character who is analytical will view a room differently from a creative person.

The profession of a viewpoint character also affects how you describe what the character sees. In one of my novels, the main character is a landscape artist. I kept a list of paint colors beside me as I wrote her viewpoint because she'd be precise about color variations. She'd see another character's eyes as cerulean blue, not blue. 

If that viewpoint character had been an expert on antiques, the other person's eyes might be the color of Delft blue china. 

Using this kind of description also makes writing love scene description, particularly evoking the intense emotions of sexual pleasure, a bit easier and less cliche-ridden. I've used space imagery for a heroine who was an astrophysicist, shapes and forms for an architect, and colors and textures for that landscape painter. 

An expert will also see something differently than the rest of us. Imagine a mechanic looking at a car engine, now imagine someone who knows nothing about engines looking at it. The terms used to describe the engine in viewpoint will be as precise or imprecise as the character's knowledge.  

Don’t be ridiculously precise, however, by naming too many parts or scientific elements because most readers’ eyes will glaze over.

Always remember that description is as much about the viewpoint character as it is about creating a picture in the reader's head.

No comments: