Seeing Through the Fog


Overnight, all those overcast skies that have haunted us dropped down into the valley. I think this is a better photograph, more dramatic. I used the telephoto lens to show you how really neat it looks.

But that perspective is a bit misleading. Here’s how it looks with my other lens, that I usually use for landscapes.

Now it looks a bit less like the fog is billowing up for attack. But you also lose some of the sense of it. This is how our eyes – and brains – are still superior to cameras. I can look out and see both aspects at once. Not even as switching back and forth, but in combination with each other.

I think about this kind of thing a lot.

It seems that writing is a constant decision-process on which lens to use. Do I want to focus on the complex politics of my Twelve Kingdoms? On my heroine’s private pain? When do I back up and give a glimpse of all the tiers of people who make up life in the castle? When my hero and heroine are finally alone, do I leave the room? (It turns out that no, I am apparently incapable of leaving the room.)

There’s all sorts of rules for creating close point-of-view (POV), so the reader feels very involved in the story, but I seldom see advice on when to pan back. When to let the reader see the bigger picture. And yet, from these kinds of choices, extraordinary scenes are created. Sometimes you just have to follow your instincts, I suppose.

Or cheat, and show both.

6 Replies to “Seeing Through the Fog”

  1. See, this brings up the whole cross-training subject. I know there are writers who study up on specific areas they might be writing about; martial arts, detective work, courtesanship(?), what have you. But surely there is benefit to be gained from learning about story telling itself from other perspectives. I bet a lot of writers would benefit greatly from classes on cinematography and song writing and such.

    1. One of my favorite blogger/writing advisers, Alexandra Sokoloff, does exactly that. She teaches writers how to break down sequences in movies they love, to learn the rhythm and structure of film storytelling. I find it really useful. Now I need one on framing shots…

  2. Beautiful pics — an excellent way to illustrate focus, and the necessity of varying it when we’re writing. Distance is a great tool in the writer’s toolbox, and we should remember to employ it effectively. Monotony of focus kills a good story.

    (Well, monotony of anything kills a good story, I guess. Avoid monotony! *grin*)

  3. Good points here. I think the inspiration writers can get from other artistic mediums can prevent monotony in their writing. You obviously have an outlet and source of inspiration in photography. Others paint or sing or play an instrument. I find when I feel like I’m in a bit of a creative slump that even rearranging the decor in my environment helps. Anything that gets your mind going on a slightly different track and thus gives you some fresh perspective.

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