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?