V is for Viewpoint



Exploring different viewpoints and perspectives in our writing gives our story depth, which allows the reader to clearly visualize a situation or a setting and to develop an understanding of the characters we portray. This is an exciting part of writing because we don’t do it naturally in real life. Our personal experiences influence our viewpoints and once we have formulated a specific opinion, which in our mind is validated, it isn’t always easy to open our minds to a different stance.

I do like to think I am open-minded and I’m only stubborn when I know I’m right (which is, naturally, most of the time – if not all of the time :) ). In my previous role as head of school, it was important to be open to other viewpoints. Seeing the bigger picture is necessary to making sound choices which allow for growth and development. But, I have experienced the most bizarre confrontations which have tested my ability to accept another viewpoint.

In the midst of the busiest time of the school year when the budgets are distributed, ordering is being organised, external examinations are going on, recruitment is taking place etc..etc.. (a highly stressful time of year) an extremely important meeting was requested by a child’s parents. Naturally, I always made time for parents, especially when they felt it was important. Generally, important meetings requested were to discuss the child. But no…

The topic of conversation was ‘soap dispensers’. Hmm. Surely I was being ‘Punked!’ It tested my open-mindedness to the point of brain freeze. However, from their viewpoint, this was a highly essential and necessary topic of discussion. All I will say is, I conducted myself very professionally and duly noted their request. (But, no.)

Are you more open-minded in your writing than in real life?

Comments

  1. I would say I'm open-minded in both. I didn't know you were head of a school.

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    1. I gave it five fun packed years. But it was a 24/7 job leaving absolutely no time or energy for anything else.

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  2. no no no

    I'm very not-agnostic about my writing ;)

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  3. Heads of schools have to have the patience of a Job!

    I am probably more open-minded with my characters being and saying things which I personally wouldn't do or say myself in real life.

    But it's never been my way or the highway with me anyway.

    "Do it your own way if you are so keen on it, and if you don't mind terribly, please get me a glass of wine before you start." Standard dialogue, saves me a lot of hassles :)

    Seriously though, a thought provoking post. To be honest, I've never even thought about this issue till I read your entry.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Nila. I love your quote. I may just memorise that for future occasions :)

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  4. This is a hard question, but I think I'm pretty open-minded about most things in my life. Not so sure about my writing.

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    1. I think we explore open-mindedness within our characters without even knowing. Thank you for popping by.

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  5. difficult to be open-minded particularly when you know you are wrong

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    1. I think, learning to admit a mistake shows strength of character, which in itself is part of being open-minded.

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  6. The ghost of Mark Twain just chuckled in my ear: "If only those with closed minds came with closed mouths!" :-) I try to be open minded, but it is hard to say if I succeed!

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    1. :) How funny. That Twain boy can be quite mischievous :)

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    2. I'd say I'm pretty open minded. At the very least, whether I agree or not, understand or not, I try to be compassionate. It's so easy to be judgmental, and so wrong...

      I don't tend to write about difficult subjects because I worked with difficult children with horrible background for 23 years. I want to try to spread and little wonder and magic and will leave the challenging subjects to other writers.

      On that note, what is it about a soap dispenser that needed an urgent and personal meeting with the teach?

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    3. I'm still flummoxed about the soap dispenser. Thank you for stopping by Bish and sharing your experience. I've learned not to be judgemental and accept people for what and who they are - whether I like it or not.

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  7. Sure am. My life is boring compared to my characters.

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    1. I doubt that, Stephen. You are the one that brings your characters to life.

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  8. Hi Nicola, I finally realised I didn't have to on my blogroll, but now I do, so you'll be hearing a lot more from me :-)

    I'm very good at seeing all points of view in real life, but my fiction tends to revolve around first person, single character POV. I have written an omniscient POV novel, which was interesting - I loved being able to see EVERYTHING!

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    1. That sounds really cool - an omniscient POV. Which novel is that?

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    2. Unpublished at the moment. I think really I wanted to write a film, I kept picturing flying over the action.

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  9. They must have really been passionate about soap dispensers, I guess. But it's always good to listen to what people have to say. But there are a few topics that I won't listen to other viewpoints on. I suppose everyone has their limits...

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    1. That meeting tested my limits :)

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  10. When i can, i try to talk to people who have different viewpoints, so i can at least learn why they think the way they do. It may not change my mind, but i can learn something in the process.

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    1. Learning is the most positive approach.

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  11. Wow, seriously?! The problem with the topic of soap dispensers it's hard to take their next request seriously.

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    1. That was our last conversation :)

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  12. I'm rather open minded, or I like to think so. I think writing has taught me to be even more open minded and see many different sides. I may not agree with the other person, but I can usually figure out why they think the way they do.

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    1. Seeing another's point of view helps to understand, even if we don't agree. Lovely to 'see' you Cherie.

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  13. My sister's a guidance counselor at a high school in California. Oh my goodness, you all have the patience of Job.
    Loved your post!
    Trisha Faye
    www.writerszenblog.wordpress.com

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  14. Thinking of some of the illnesses my wife has brought home from her teaching job, I'd never overlook the importance of soap dispensers!

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    1. Hygiene in schools is always of paramount importance and our school was already equipped with the most stringent of controls, including electronic soap dispensers and disinfectant dispensers. We were rated at the highest level by the Health and Safety governement agency. Thank you for your comment. Lovely to 'see' you. Hope you've enjoyed the challenge.

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  15. Nothing like dealing with students and their parents to gain multiple perspectives (so my Mom said!) Oh yes, takes a lot of patience, Nicola! Not only do people have different view points, but also different ones at different times, based on their moods. I suspect most people are more tolerant when they write, because we think before we write. In real life, we tend to be more spontaneous. Ah, now that I said that, I am thinking about it - I write spontaneously - and maybe I think before I speak? Sigh. So situational!

    When I write stories, I tend to use a real life event as a starting point and then extrapolate events from there. I find that much easier to tackle, when I "know" the characters!

    Thank you for your kind comments on my blog! Hugs!

    Vidya
    VidyaSury.com

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  16. Thank you so much for your comment and words of encouragement Vidya. And mostly, thank you for making sure I smile each day. I really love that smile button.

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  17. I feel I am pretty open minded and have heard various things in my job but sometimes I just think have fallen off the stupid truck

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