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Writing Tip: Setting Description Through a Character’s POV

July 29, 2007

Things are pretty quiet here. The family is still asleep and I’m sleepy, but not asleep. I suppose this is a good sign.

I’m trying to surf other ‘thoners in between posts. I’m listening to an all 80’s Internet radio station and contemplating on whether I should go grab a cup o’ joe. I think I’m putting it off for when I get REALLY tired. I’m chugging on three hours of sleep but I’m surprisingly alert. Of course, I say that now.

It’s now 6:00 a.m. in my world. Wake up people!


From Writer’s Digest

If you plan on filtering your setting description through a character’s point of view (an effective approach), remember that—like everything else related to viewpoint—this type of description will be subjective; that is, it will be colored by the “mind” of the viewpoint character.

Even in real life, two people can be in the same place at the same time and come away with completely different impressions. Consider two patients in a doctor’s waiting room. One is a happy expectant mother waiting for a prenatal exam, the other a harried male executive who has been experiencing chest pains.

Both of them will go home later and describe the waiting room to their respective spouses. Do you think they will both talk about the same things? Of course not. The details they remember, and their descriptions of them, will be colored by their own emotions and circumstances.

The young mother may remember the cheerful music that was piped in (maybe she even hummed along) or the color of the wallpaper (perfect for the nursery). The businessman, on the other hand, may have been struck by a poster listing the warning signs of heart disease (he’s experienced every single one), or noticed that all of the magazines were old and gathering dust (just like he feels he is). They may even remember the same details, but respond to them differently: The mother describes the Muzak as “perky”; the businessman recalls “annoying.”


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One Comment
  1. teejei permalink
    July 29, 2007 6:28 am

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