Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Humor & Perspective

So I'm standing at the counter at the Starbucks between home and work, waiting for the guy to ring up my grande, non-fat latte. Another woman comes in and orders a grande caramel macchiatto with 6 pumps of vanilla and extra caramel. The barista asks her to repeat it, which she does. As she finishes, I add, "For people who don't like the taste of coffee."

Every one of the guys behind the counter laughed. You know they must get dozens of orders like that in a day.

The woman, on the other hand, looked at me aghast. "I like coffee. I just can't take the two shots. It's the two shots."

Maybe she should forego the coffee altogether.

But it got me thinking about perspective. She took it that we were laughing at her, which in a way we were, but moreso we were laughing at the situation. The guys working there took it as a funny comment on a part of their jobs. I was just being a smart-ass to get a laugh.

How does this relate to writing? You can change the inflection and impact of a story by changing the POV character. TNN deals with some pretty horrific situations. By having it told by someone next to the horror, but not a direct victim of it, I think will make the story not quite so difficult to read. Or write.

I was talking with a non-writing friend last night (we all need them in order to stay in touch with the real world), and she was appalled when I described the main story arc. "Why would you want to write about that?" Yet, The Group loved it and really got into giving me suggestions on how to make it even darker. Again, perspective.

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