Critical Thinking in Tough Situations — A New Point of View
Posted October 4, 2007on:
In all tests of character, Crystal, when two viewpoints are pitted against one another, in the final analysis the thing that will strike you the most, is not who was right or wrong, strong or weak, wise or foolish…. but who would go to the greatest lengths in considering the other’s perspective. Don’t you agree?
I subscribe to daily Notes from the Universe, part of the TUT Adventurer’s Club, “a free affiliation of like minded ‘Thinkers’ from around the world who believe that living in the jungles of time and space, as a Creation amongst our Creations, is the ultimate Adventure… because “thoughts become things”, dreams do come true, and all things remain forever possible!” Okay, so it might sound a little corny but what I love about the emails is that they are full of positive wonder. And well, the daily affirmations from the “Universe” tend to be oddly apropos for my given situation.
The idea of altering your viewpoint to solve a problem is a method long known to good critical thinkers. If you are stuck, try stepping back and understanding it from a different angle. There are a variety of ways to do this: look at it from the opposite point of view, pretend you are someone else looking at it with their viewpoint, turn it over, change an element, and so on.
In this case, changing viewpoint has direct correlation to my writing. I’ve been spending the last few weeks revamping much of the first six chapters of Cena Apicius, essentially removing Apicius’ POV. I had not originally wanted to tell the story from his viewpoint but I was faced with some plot issues that I thought might make it easier. Yet, when I workshopped my novel at Grub Street over the summer, the feedback was that Apicius felt flat and that my other main character, Thrasius, Apicius’ cook, was the one that seemed to have the most accessibility for the reader. Several people both in and out of the workshop mentioned that I should think about giving Sotas, Apicius’ mute Egyptian body slave, a point of view. And so, after much deliberation I started the task of rewriting the scenes in Apicius’ POV.
I think that the change is a good one. From Sotas’ POV they scenes about Apicius are richer, more vibrant and have details that give the story life. So for me, I think that going through the arduous task of taking on a new POV will be beneficial. Then again, it might be my luck that a future editor will ask me to change it all back!
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