14 Jul

Perspective is defined as a particular evaluation of a situation or facts, especially from one person’s point of view.

It’s all in a look.

Recently, I sat next to a German student during my flight to southern California.  When the plane was approaching for landing, I pointed out downtown Los Angeles to the young man. For a moment, I thought I’d made a mistake.  Maybe the skyscrapers were downtown Pasadena.  No.  It was downtown L.A.  It wasn’t nearly as awe-inspiring as the New York skyline.


Los Angeles is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States, after New York.  The metropolitan area is home to nearly eighteen million people.  Yes, eighteen million.  It is surrounded by vast mountain ranges, deep valleys, forests, desert and the Pacific Ocean.  Let’s say there is something for everyone.


My sister lives in Inglewood, a community of 100,000 people.  109,667 to be exact.   It’s a much smaller city than Boise.  Boise has a population of 205,671.

I failed to mention that the city of Inglewood has a total area of 9.1 square miles, while Boise occupies 64 square miles.  Okay, so there are a lot of people packed into the space.  Inglewood borders Los Angeles.  The cities merge together.  As a matter of fact, the people across the street live in Los Angeles.  That’s how close she is to L.A.


Prince William and his bride, Lady Katherine, visited the United States this month.  I watched a live broadcast as they exited the plane, were greeted by Governor Jerry Brown, the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and other dignitaries.  I saw them step into the Range Rover, sent from England especially for their use during their California stay.

There had been accidents on two freeways and some intelligent person decided the best way for them to get to their first event was to travel surface streets.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  There were several reporters in station helicopters following the entourage.

At one point I realized, they were traveling past my oldest nephew’s apartment.  The best part of the broadcast was seeing the reaction from the people the royals passed on the street.  Those people along the streets, of course, had a different perspective than the television viewers.

When my other nephew returned home, I asked him if he had caught sight of the royals.  I explained that they had traveled the surface streets. His response, “That’s what caused the traffic backup.”


Imagine your character in that plane, landing in Los Angeles.  How might they react to the visual?  Imagine the royals landing.  What things did they take note of.

How would the scene unfold if the passenger was a returning vet?  What if that vet’s boyfriend had dumped her?  What if that vet’s father was seriously ill?  What if she was returning home to clear her father’s name?  How would those things affect her perspective?

Have you played with perspective, written a scene from different points of view to see which one works best?  Think about it.  How would you write that scene?


Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Idaho


21 responses to “Perspective

  1. johannaharness

    July 14, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    I love this, Lynn! Your examples were just right. Thank you.

  2. Janis

    July 14, 2011 at 7:11 AM

    Remember the old–very old–song lyrics that start “You say ta-may-toe and I say ta-mah-toe?” LOL. PERSPECTIVE!

  3. Meredith Conner

    July 14, 2011 at 7:39 AM

    Los Angeles. Boise. Ta-may-toe. Ta-mah-toe. Perspective. I love it Lynn.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 14, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      The royals visit was much discussed in California. There was the daily count down. I don’t think that was happening in Boise. It was live news here. There movements were tracked. Having the perspective of their visit to this country was interesting. I know it was on the news at home, but I don’t think it was all important. Setting is huge in a story and it rolls into perspective.

  4. anita clenney

    July 14, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Very thought provoking. Perspective is a huge factor in writing. I love shifting POV when the story calls for it. I try to look at the scene to see who has the most to lose, the most to hide, or will be the most shocked, and I use their POV. This post inspires me to look closer at my scenes.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 14, 2011 at 5:35 PM

      Anita, I too love shifting POV, but I never really thought about how a plane landing could be told, how it can affect the tone of your work. Writing. It’s complicated.

  5. Peggy Staggs

    July 14, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Great reminder of how we can slant things to enhance character.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 14, 2011 at 5:36 PM

      Peggy, so true. We’ve got to take every moment to ramp it up.

  6. L Blankenship

    July 14, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    Perspective: as a New Englander, LA has always felt like a parking lot to me. Flat. Treeless. Monochrome. Trash in the corners. Not someplace I want to stick around.

    San Francisco, OTOH… lovely.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 14, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      L. I have to agree with you, but… I remember when it was clean, when there wasn’t litter along the freeway. I remember the first time I was on a freeway. It was lush and green with plant life. While the traffic moved there was still so many interesting buildings to see. Los Angeles was beautiful. The problem is growth.
      What can you do? Without growth…

  7. Liz Fredericks

    July 14, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    Nice blog, Lynn! Your examples are stellar. I’m struggling today with how challenging (and interesting) perspective slants can be so your post is, as usual, timely. I’m switching character genders and as I go through the scenes, I’m discovering the shift and altered perspective makes the dialogue and body language for both so much more nuanced. Looking forward to having you back in the Gem State.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 14, 2011 at 5:41 PM

      I can’t tell you how much I miss Idaho. California is fun. California is fast, but Idaho is home.

  8. Clarissa Southwick

    July 14, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    We’ve missed you while you’re out flying around LA, rubbing elbows with royalty. 🙂
    I do love to play with perspective. Whenever I have a scene that’s not working, I try writing it from a different POV. Sometimes it helps. Great blog. 🙂

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 14, 2011 at 5:43 PM

      Clarissa, you know how I love my time with the royals, but my true people, my friends are in Idaho.

  9. Carley Ash

    July 14, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    I love stories with multiple POVs – especially the contracting perspectives of the same situation.

    • Lynn Mapp

      July 15, 2011 at 7:50 PM

      Carley, I too love stories with multiple POVs. Think about it. How someone views a situation is really complex. Today I saw this man dumping the trash out of his car. To him, he was just doing some clean up. To me, he was littering. One situation, two viewpoints.

  10. free iphone 5g

    July 15, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Great review! You actually covered some great news here. I came across it by using Yahoo and I’ve got to admit that I already subscribed to the RSS feed, will be following you on my iphone 🙂

  11. Lynn Mapp

    July 15, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Thanks, look forward to hearing from you again.

  12. Mary Vine

    July 18, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Great idea, Lynn, and so true. I love it. Thanks!


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