Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 19, 2009

Alien POV

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. When I read the classics in my genre (or others), I can’t help admiring the skill of the writers. I also feel despair that I could ever duplicate the skill of those talented writers. But as any writer knows, learning the craft is a continual journey, and striving to reach the heights is part and parcel of this job that we love.

 

When I read Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land I was deeply impressed by his ability to create the completely alien mindset of Mike, the human Martian. I realized suddenly that this was missing in my own science fiction novel, The Forgotten Planet. In my book, I have three different cultures colliding on one planet, yet I found that I had depicted all three as having very similar views of things. They all ended up seeing things in that middle ground that was my own author’s perspective. Heinlein’s ability to have two characters look at the same thing and interpret it completely differently astounds me, and is something that I would like to try to emulate.

 

Therefore, I will be revisiting and revising my novel to try to sharpen the delineation between cultures. I may even try an exercise where I have all three cultures viewing the same situation or object, and trying to understand how differently they see it. It will be a challenge, but that challenge is the fun part of writing. Making my cultures vivid and alien will step my novel closer to the level of writing I desire. I am eager for the experiment, and wonder where it will take me!

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