Perspective is Everything

Posted: April 11, 2013 in The Art of Writing

Okay. So here it is in the middle of the night and I can’t sleep because my mind is filled with thoughts. So…best to get them out, right. Sigh. Sleep be damned, here they come.

I just got another review from a Goodreads reader and received 4 out of 5 stars. Although she generally liked the story, she had some issues with characters and some of the storyline. I read the review with interest and like anyone with a chronic “thin skin” condition, it stung a bit, but I took it in the way it was intended – an honest review of the novel. The criticism had to do somewhat with the main character’s (Jimmy) perspective on girls and some of the storyline centering on sensitive topics including sexual assault, bullying and a perceived slap at Catholicism (among other things).
So here’s what I think…

Jimmy, the main character, is a fifteen-year-old boy at the height of his hormonal production. I purposely wanted to write from this perspective because the young adult/crossover literature is littered (purposeful choice of a word) with perspectives of “young girl” characters. Being neither “young” nor a “girl,” I wanted to write from a young guy point-of-view in an honest, if not, politically incorrect manner. Here’s a shocker – boys see things differently than girls. Brilliant, right? The point is that from Jimmy’s perspective, girls are a mystery he has yet to figure out (news flash to Jimmy, it doesn’t get any easier later). In that regard, he does at times see them as sexual creatures (specifically, the character Veronica) that are a means to an end. At other times he uses dialog that although not appropriate, is high school accurate. Is that uncomfortable for a female reader? I would say yes, but would then ask does writing always have to avoid stepping on toes along the way? My intent in writing TOUCHED was not to offend by broaching difficult topics, but to be real and honest and try to make sense of the confusion and angst that rolls through the mind of a teenage boy. The use of Jimmy’s first-person perspective* allows his hormonally-charged thoughts to spill out of his head at a rate that may sometimes become prickly but are as close to unvarnished as they are in real life.

Whew. What a ramble. I’m not even sure the above addresses the issues the reader had, but I would guess that she may not be alone in being uncomfortable with a variety of the topics TOUCHED addresses or the way they are addressed. But in actuality, it’s not really my fault at all. I was just at the whim of a horny teenage muse named Jimmy that lived in the dark recesses of my mind.

Sorry to throw you under the bus dude. But better you than me.

*Side note: Criticism included lack of character development of Veronica. Given Jimmy’s first-person perspective it is impossible to develop all characters equally. He only sees the “Queen Beez” Veronica from a safe distance as he is not in her circle. So…he’ll only get glimpses of her character and assume the rest.

  1. mcmaurer says:

    Must really be hard to have people critical of your work when all they have to do is read it. You, on the other hand have to conceive, plan and write it !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s