Character Perspectives & Development
Character's perspectives are a part of writing that I probably enjoy the most. Creating a character, making that character yours, and completely making a personality for them is powerful. With that comes the perspective of the character and the range of knowledge they might possess. Before I completely lose you here, let me explain the main ideas of what this blog post will consist of today.
For example - Michael McGinnis is my main character in my Firefighter Heroes Trilogy - he has a wide array of wisdom when it comes to high rise saves, burning buildings, and intense situations. However, when it comes to speaking eloquently, let's face it, Mikey is lost. I don't claim to talk proper by any means (I have a Texas twang that I can't shake)... but I'm more likely to use bigger words than he would, though he is my character and I've developed him. I have a degree in psychology and addiction studies, but do my characters hold knowledge of the disease? - more than likely they don't.
I was chatting with a writing friend the other day and we were talking about regional terms that people might be familiar with. Here where I live, we have what we call caliche (caleechee) roads, which is just another term for gravel. She had never heard it called that. Since some of my characters are from areas where I've lived, their perspective of a gravel road might come out as caliche... and if they're from where she lives, they'd have no clue what the heck caliche is. Another question arose - a character of hers mentions cement and concrete in the same scene. And I might regret admitting this, but I honestly had no idea that cement was an ingredient to make concrete until someone had taken the time to point it out. I learned something new that day, but what if the character wasn't aware of it either? What if they were lying on the concrete and just thought cement was another term for it? I was guilty of thinking that - maybe the character is too, but the author knew exactly what they were doing.
Long story short - writing a character means we are limited in what they know. If we wrote someone who knew everything (or the same things we were experts in), they'd most likely be unlikable. Who loves a know it all? Keeping them limited also leaves room for growth and another thing I like to write - character development. Mikey has learned through the course of the three firefighter books. He's a different man from Through Smoke to Backfire, and Fire Escape because I started him off as having a limited perspective on what he knew.
To tie up my whole rambling - sometimes an author can come off ignorant due to the character they have thought up. If a character calls something wrong, take the perspective into consideration. How well educated is the character? Who is the person and where are they from? Does the character use "gonna and wanna" a lot in their dialogue? That doesn't mean the author is the same way - it just means the character might be different. Where is the book taking place? There are tons of different accents all over the world.