In the 1990 independent film Slacker, the camera follows a group of characters around Austin Texas, telling their respective “day in the life” stories. It does this by training the camera on one person going about their day, then picking up another person and following them for awhile, and so on. In this way, there is no single narrator telling the story. The camera is constantly on the move and therefore so is our point of view (POV) of the story.
This is an innovative form of visual storytelling that draws our attention to the camera as the author. Seeing a camera as a story’s narrator is a fun visual concept that you can also use when writing your book.
A camera is to a movie story, what you as an author are to a book story.
When writing a book, especially your memoir, put some thought into which POV will serve your readers best.
Just because you’re writing the book doesn’t necessarily mean the camera has to reflect your exact experience living it. For instance, you might view dropping out of law school to become a writer as a failure to follow through on a goal. An outside observer, however, might see your decision as inspiration to others seeking the courage to pursue their own life purpose.
- Thinking of your life story, where are you putting the camera in each of your life scenes?
- Are you aiming it out through the filter of your biases and self-judgment?
- Or are you choosing to see your life through someone else’s eyes – a family member, friend, spouse, or a fictitious outside observer?
- How will that camera placement affect the message you’re trying to convey?
(Making up a fictitious character to narrate your story, by the way, allows you to keep the major plot line and emotional arc of your life story while changing enough details to separate yourself and see events in a new light!)
How could “flipping the camera” affect your POV of your story?
How might it reveal reader lessons that you might otherwise be unable to see?