Discover more from Organic Matters
In a recent talk I gave with the launch of Man, Underground, I discussed the idea of what I label “trying on other skins” in fiction, the phrase borrowed from the late poet Rita Keifer and the title of one of her collections. In the talk, I speak to the way that fiction can provide both the writer and the reader a means to enter other perspectives, including doing so directly through the use of a first-person narrator. One benefit in the finished product for the reader is an ability to practice compassion and be placed in a view of the universe entirely different than their own. That benefit can be echoed within the writer, of course, for if we don’t fully enter the perspectives, characters, and narrators we employ, then the writing we produce will always be false. We may be fabricators creating alternate realities, but the truth of character will always find us out if we don’t fully embrace the choices we make.
Exercise: Choose a scene in something you are writing (and yes, I like to think the word “scene” certainly applies to memoir and can apply to most narrative nonfiction as well as fiction) and write try reworking the scene by writing in first-person from another character’s point of view.