Thursday, June 23, 2011

Writing From Unique Points of View

                “Welcome to ‘Know Your Human 101’.” Settia stood as tall as a 6-inch poinsettia plant could and surveyed the eager seedlings staring up at her like she was the sun. She exhaled a deep grunt of oxygen.

“There’s been a terrible tragedy. A three thousand year old, immortal sun and scent eater is currently being held hostage and won’t be able to attend this lecture so I’m forced to leaf it.

“Writing from an unique and alien perspective is quite simple. For example, when writing from a human point of view remember the Matrix cliché ‘There is a spoon.’ And then imagine what it’d be like to be one.”

 “Huh? Be like a spoon? What’s that?” seedlings called out.

“Listen. Imagine what it’s like to be a murderous bipod, not one of their inanimate weapons. Try to become as human as you can, and then your writing from that viewpoint will be realistic. For example, when trying to think like a monster, you have to learn details. Study them, down to intimate things such as what they eat.

“Mobile, cellulose chompers decapitate, uproot, and slaughter those plantae not fortunate enough to have white sap running through their veins like we ornamentals do. Humans chop veggies to bits, using an item called a knife. They’ll discipline if their sprouts don’t jab a weapon called a fork into dying or dead carrots, raise the unlucky tuber to their mouthhole and devour it.”

Ripples of horror shook the seedlings from crown to root. “And the s-s-spoon kills like this fork?” One stuttered. “Even stupid lettuce?” Everyplant knew those clumps were lacking in the IQ department.

“We don’t know. But being evolved beings, we can bend a spoon to our will, use it as a tool instead of an instrument of torture like those animals that could easily pick up the whimpering broccoli with disposable thumbs instead of gutting into it.

“Now, here’s your writing assignment. Pretend to hold this spoon that is there, and concentrate on who you are as you answer an ancient riddle. Remember, there is no root bound plant that swallows sunbeams like a phoenix does. You’re a violent creature who sucks up a plant’s very breath before murdering it, and you stomp on ancient grasses whenever you please.

“If you answer this basic animalistic profile question correctly, you may win a story called Ashes. It’s about a human who loves his brother so much, he’ll eat just about any thing, with or without a fork, even a petunia I suspect.”

The door burst open and Rijo strode in. Fifteen seedlings screamed at the sight of the longhaired monster.

“Silence,” Settia snapped. “I told you, there is a spoon.” She twisted her heads toward the wolf striding on two legs toward her. “You bring it?”

“Yes.” Rijo grunted. He loomed over her, dropped a cellphone at her base, slid five clever fingers into his pocket and pulled out the shiny tool. He propped the spoon against her strongest leaf. She curled around it, and lifted the spoon to jab at the phone.

“What?” A human male barked.

“Put the phoenix on,” Settia said.

“No. Sleeping. Whataya want?”

“To learn if my students can immerse themselves in a human viewpoint. The bird knows the sphinx. I need the answer to a test question.”

“I’m Lyle Logan. I’ve been accused of being human. What’s the question?”

            “What goes on no legs in the morning’s dew, on two at noon when the fat sun feeds us all, and on three in the twilight?”

Logan laughed. “Easy. You've messed up the numbers, and I hear the answer growling beside you. Not none to start, but four. Wolves are born to run on four legs. The next part you’ve also confused. Not noon, but when the moon becomes fat and full and a midlife crisis hits, a fated beast will shed fur and walk on two legs. Finally, he’ll limp in the twilight of his life when I kick him for not chewing up silly plants that don’t understand how irritable a woken phoenix can be. Anyway, that’s a foolish question to determine how human a plant can imagine a character to be. I’ll text you. Bye.”

Settia nodded her heads at the wide-stomatas blinking at her. “A perfect example of how to be unique in your writings. That man took the riddle, came at it from a different angle to come up with an outlook that suited the character of someplant…I mean someone who cheats on a test.”

“Settia?” The wolf growled her name through the distorted throat of a man.


“That all?” His yellow-black eyes drilled into her.

“Use your manly paws and mark that chalkboard. Six roses, two lilies, sweet william are in the hallway. Are you courting a woman?”

The wolf snorted. “Never. Always stay true to your nature, remain firmly in character no matter what skin you wear. I have a mate with four legs. My human sister will fetch coffee for a month for silly flowers.”

Settia beamed at him. “Thank you.” She turned to her seedlings. “If it looks like a human, talks like a human, but doesn’t act like a monster, the creature could be a sweet wolf who’d not harm plantae. Look for our creator in the comment section of the spectacular MuseitUp blogsite to see if you’ve answered the following question correctly, proving exactly what type of human you are.”

His shortened tongue pressed between his lips as the wolf scratched on the chalkboard:
At her father’s funeral, a woman met an attractive stranger. She didn’t get a chance to ask the man for his number before he left, and he didn’t come up on Facebook. The next day she put a fork, knife, and spoon through her sister’s skull.

What was her motive for killing her sister?

“Please reply from the point of view of a crawling drunk teenage human, an adult human on two legs, or an elderly human with a cane preparing to attend their own funeral. Class dismissed.”


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I guess I'm the adult human on two legs. Never thought of myself that way before. LOL. I just want to say that I'm using deep POV in my current WIP and loving it. Took years to fully appreciate first person, now I'm hooked.

Terri main said...

Very interesting way to present these ideas. Fun piece.

I am sorry, I stepped into your day. I thought I was on June 23 and I just discovered I was on June 28.

Unknown said...

Well...I'm sure I can manage the drunk teenage human. The air brushed my face as I released my grip on the tree and hung onto the roped-swing. Glancing down, the lake glistened like a soft diamond pillow, beckoning my watermelon-rum induced brain... Is that what you mean? Actually just recanting a memory. Great post though my friend. You always do something different don't you? Love your style. I'm a big fan of yours. Thanks for sharing today.

Arlene said...

First person PoV is a voice I like to use, too, Joylene. I'd orginally written sections of Ashes in first, but then flipped it all into third which works easier when using more than one head.

Yeah, Terri, you hopped on my day but it's an easy mistake to make when we're on a week apart. And everyone loves your post, it's quite interesting.

Karen, you are so funny! Watermelon and rum sounds wonderful about right now.

Wendy said...

That was fun :)
Thanks Arlene.
Deep pov is something I'd like to do, but just don't seem to be able to pull off so I might have to stick with 3rd person limited.
Deep pov would take a lot of practice, I think.

Settia answered her own question, almost, with the three stages of man. Baby, Youth-Adult, and Aged walking with a cane. :)