Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This weekend, I took a road trip with my guy to Greensboro, North Carolina to attend an historic reenactment of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. I’ve become quite a history buff over the past few years, discovering all sorts of facts about U.S. history that I never learned in school. Whenever we travel to these locales, I find it quite fascinating to see the historic reenactors who depict scenes, skirmishes, lifestyles, and events from the past. 

On this particular trip, I witnessed the reenactment of this deadly battle between British forces and American Colonists during the American Revolution. The narrator of the reenactment was dressed in a British Army uniform, much different from the outfit he has worn in the past when he narrates the event. Typically, he dresses in the uniform of the Americans of the 18th century, he explained. He mentioned that this year he wanted to share a different perspective of the battle. He went on to explain the strategy of the British to help the onlookers understand that, while the Americans won the ultimate fight for freedom, the British won at Guilford Courthouse. It’s always interesting to examine how the victors tell the story of their victories. The storyteller always has the best part of the story. In each case, it’s all about perspective.

Perspective in your book is important, not only for you, but for your readers. Are you writing from the perspective of a particular individual, group, or belief system? How do you determine from what perspective to write? Two things to consider when deciding on your perspective are: 1) who your ideal readers are; and 2) what you want your readers to think, feel, or do after reading your book. 

The perspective you choose for your book is heavily influenced by your ideal readers. After all, they’re the ones who will read your text. Are you hoping to entice, inform, inspire, or influence them? From what standpoint, knowledge level, or belief system are your readers approaching your book? You must know this if you’re to accomplish your goal of impacting them with your perspective.

How can you influence what your readers think, feel, and do after reading your book? Perspective gives readers an insight into the story being told or the information being presented. Rather than give readers the same perspective they could get in another book, surprise them by providing a different perspective or outlook on your subject. Let your book broaden the perspective your readers have of an issue and cause them to think or rethink their own belief system or knowledge of a topic.  

Perspective is a powerful tool that you should learn to use effectively as an author. Understand that everyone won’t agree with your take on things. Be okay with that, and share your perspective anyway.

What are some of your favorite books whose perspectives impacted you as a reader?

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