by Karen E. Hoover
I attended LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything) at BYU last weekend and had an interesting conversation with my friends, one that I’ve pondered on for the past week. Somebody brought up the fact that their daughter had recently played in a school ukulele choir and out of my mouth popped this: "Oh! Give me your email. I'll send you a link to the best ukulele music ever."
Immediately the group started laughing, with me, clueless as ever, sitting there going “what?”
You see, the problem was we had a different perspective on what good music or even good ukulele music really was. I actually sent them the link several days later and each of them responded with amazement. I got responses such as “I never thought I'd write this but, those are some pretty amazing finger pickin' ukelele tunes. You have converted me.” And “That was amazing. Once again, you were right...” and a simple “Wow!”
Now, what does Ukulele music have to do with writing, you might ask? Well, nothing, really, but the story relates in that it’s all about perspective. The way we see the world is directly influenced by the experiences we’ve had and the way it has taught us to think. That affects us as writers and it especially affects our characters—or at least it should.
The other lesson this experience taught me is that there’s nothing like getting a great surprise, especially the kind that shift our perspective. The mystery that keeps you guessing “who done it” until the very end, and then finding out it's the guy you least expected. The romance that makes you think she chose the wrong guy and then discovering he was the best choice all along. Every little step that surprises and delights is one more chance to change our perspective and create a paradigm shift.
So what would you rather write? Predictable vanilla? Or something a little more spicy? Take a chance and try it. Shift your perspective. Change your world.