Writing from an Unexpected Point of View

Originally posted at Chris The Story Reading Ape‘s Blog.

Chris TSRA


Many thanks to Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape) for hosting me at his amazing Author Promotions Enterprise blog. “The Ape” generously promotes authors on his blog, and he offers excellent resources for our use. However, he’s also a gifted cover artist. Be sure to take a look at some examples of his work.  Also, he has started creating fantastic book trailers! (By the way, his trailers are much, much better than the one I have.)

Here’s the article Chris hosted for me.  It features my Lilith character from “Atonement, Tennessee.”

If you want to capture someone’s attention, whisper.… Maybe, but they Book Cut Out Holmesmight not hear you at all. One way to capture a reader’s attention is to occasionally write from an unexpected point of view.

That can also be a practical tool, not just a “hook.” When I wrote Atonement, Tennessee, I decided to have my heroine narrate the story. However, there is a stumbling block with that kind of writing. My heroine could only tell about what she had witnessed. If she was not present for part of the action, someone would have to just tell her about it. Not nearly as exciting, huh?

So I wanted to occasionally shift and let another character be the witness. But who would be suitable? None of the people in my fictional town of Atonement, TN would be likely to see the events I needed to describe. Then I remembered an old exercise about writing from the point of view of an inanimate object. It was very enjoyable to me. Next I thought, what about an animal instead?Cat Eyes Watching

I gave my heroine a cat. At strategic points I make that shift and let the feline witness events. To bring you into the fun, I’m sharing a “character interview” I did with Lilith, the calico cat and part time narrator of Atonement, Tennessee.  Then I’ll show you a snippet of the novel written with the cat as witness.

Here goes!

Character Interviews: Lilith the Calico

Teagan: Lilith, won’t you come over here and sit with me?

(She looks all around the room — everywhere but at me.)

You’re even prettier than I expected. (Now she jumps onto the sofa. The compliment seems to have helped.) For this interview, the Creative Muse has given you the power of human speech.

Lilith and mirrorLilith:  Meow…

Teagan:  Now, Lilith. There’s no need to be contrary. You know you can talk for now. Take advantage of it. I understand you were a rescue kitty. Tell us about your life before Ralda adopted you.

Lilith:  Meow…

Teagan:  (I sigh. Talk about catitude…) I think what everyone wants to know most about you is — are you really a cat? Or are you some kind of supernatural? Maybe an enchanted person who has to… atone?  Because, in all honesty, even though I wrote the novel, I do not know.

(Lilith narrows her eyes then turns her back on me and proceeds to wash her face.  Clearly that line of questioning is not acceptable.) Calico washing face

All righty then; I’m not going to get an answer to that one either.

Okay, moving on. You tell the parts of the story that Ralda doesn’t see. What about Cael? Do you know more about him than anyone else?  Wait — what’s that?  …Are you purring?

Cael at rest- Adrian Paul
Adrian Paul as Cael

Lilith: Oh, Cael is simply divine. (Purrrrr…) Yes, I know more about him than Ralda does — even at the end of the story. He’s strong, courageous, faithful, and he knows about a lot more than is apparent. Cael is also childlike sometimes, which is an intriguing contrast to his strength. I also sense even more about him than I witness. I can’t really describe everything I sense. I can’t quite put my paw on some things.

Teagan: At least that brought you out of your shell. Ralda said you like attractive men. Anyway, I don’t think Ralda really trusts him. Do you know why?

Lilith: She can’t put her paw on it either. Or rather she can’t put her finger on it. Cael is truly extraordinary though. His backstory is only hinted at in this novel. I’m sure there will be more about him in “book 2.”

Teagan: What about Gwydion? Ralda seems to at least try to trust him. Should she?Man Flower Face

Lilith: (She purrs again, even louder. Then she even turns halfway upside down, a paw across her face.) Ah… Gwydion! Oh he smells delicious, all manner of flowers and herbs and catnip. Did you know that he brought me catnip?

(Lilith sits back up, still purring.) Gwydion is a magical creature, you realize. His magic is tied to flowers. It’s not stated outright in the novel, but it’s pretty obvious. At the very beginning it’s even hinted that his grandmother was a faery. You know, Fae’s Flowers, named for his Gran?

Teagan: Who do you think would be better for Ralda, Gwydion or Cael? If they, so to speak, fought for her affections, who would win?

Lilith: Oh, it would be awful if those two actually did fight, wouldn’t it? They do seem to compete with each other in odd ways. But if they fought…  No, I couldn’t bear for either of them to get hurt! I’m not sure, but I have a suspicion that if it came down to it, Cael might be stronger than Gwydion.  However, Gwydion would have fewer — or at least different inhibitions so he might best Cael.  Oh, I’m just not sure. I really don’t like that question at all.

(Her tail makes a slash-thump against the sofa, signaling annoyance. Lilith jumps down from the sofa and sashays out of the room.)

I suppose that ends my interview with the cat.  However, you can read more from Lilith in Atonement, Tennessee.

veil_of_sky_open_Lilith copy

And now for that promised excerpt…

Esmeralda slept. Lilith’s ears pricked when she heard a tiny rustling sound coming from downstairs. The first time she inspected the bedroom, the calico had found a way out. She hadn’t shown it to Esmeralda. Immediately on the hunt for the source of that sound, Lilith soundlessly got up from the pile of blankets on the floor where they slept.

WardrobeShe trotted soundlessly to the tall heavy wardrobe. It was even bigger than the one where she found the mirror, and it reached almost to the high ceiling. It stood a few inches away from the wall. She squeezed behind the wardrobe. There was a gap in the wall. It was actually a door, which would open with a push. At some point in time, it had been left ajar. Lilith had originally found it because she scented the different air from the drafty opening.

Beyond the door was a narrow hallway and equally narrow steps that led to the parlor downstairs. She had a bit of trouble opening the door to the parlor. Fortunately it had a lever handle that was much easier to manipulate than a doorknob. After a moment her persistence paid off and the door creaked open. She stood still for a second. The rustling sound had diminished to almost nothing. The calico stalked into the living room. Her tail was held low and her body was close to the floor as she walked.

Her ears had more than twenty muscles, which the cat used to pinpoint the sound of a final rustle. She looked toward the flower arrangement by the windows. The white heather had grown and branched, vine-like until it covered every window and the front and back doors as well. All the flowers in the vase pulsed as if with a heartbeat. Lilith watched them for a moment to see what else they might do.White flowers take over

A sound came from the kitchen, and she went to investigate. It sounded like something had pressed against the porch roof for a moment and then pushed off. Immediately afterward she heard a few heavy beat and whoosh sounds, like extremely large wings.

She jumped to the kitchen window, but the heather covered it too, and prevented her seeing anything. However, through the little draft of air that came in around the window, she scented one of the odors she had tracked earlier that evening. There wasn’t enough of it for her to be sure which one.

After a while, the cat grew bored and returned to the secret door in the parlor. It was still open. She gave it a little nudge, using it to scratch her cheek, and it closed behind her. She returned to the bedroom.


I hope these examples have entertained you. Maybe you’ll want to try writing from an unexpected point of view.

Thanks for reading,


At My Website
https://teagansbooks.wordpress.com/ More about Teagan: https://teagansbooks.wordpress.com/?s=workspace
Link to character interviews blog category: https://teagansbooks.wordpress.com/category/teagans-books/character-interviews/
I’ve used Pinterest to tell a story in pictures not just for “Atonement, Tennessee,” but for my works in progress as well. Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/
Amazon Author Page
TWITTER: @teagangeneviene
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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=174325949&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Copyright 2013 Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene. All rights reserved.

38 thoughts on “Writing from an Unexpected Point of View

  1. Hey RC! Thanks for dropping in. Glad you enjoyed my boards. Looking at yellow always lifts my spirit. So the Mad About Safron board is probably the biggest.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Hug, hug, hug!


  2. Nice interview and exactly like a cat-seemingly bored with your attempt to get them to do something and will start and end on their terms. I like your Pintrest selections esp the Mad about safron. That one would be a nice framing.


  3. Thank you *very* much Andrea. Lilith is definitely a flirt. That tends to get in the way of her wisdom a bit. 🙂 The character is a composite of every can who has owned me. One of them showed a very obvious preference for attractive men. She was quite superficial about her taste!
    I’m delighted that you dropped by. Huge hugs!


  4. Great idea to interview Lilith – of course she’s probably the wisest character in the book, but also a bit of a flirt I think 🙂 Writing from Lilith’s perspective was a great way of building some suspense and giving us little snippets of information it would have been difficult to do otherwise – and you really captured that sense of ‘cat’ that those of us who’ve lived with them recognise!


  5. Hi Eleni — it’s lovely to see you. I’m by no means an expert with indie publishing. Most of the people you see here in comments know more about it. But I’ll be glad to send him some helpful links. My main advice would be to go to Create Space. They have great instructions, and tech support — and they are free! There is a wealth of information online about indie publishing and the marketing aspects. (Since I work full time, I can’t do much in the way of marketing and social media…).
    Happy New Year to you! 😀


  6. hi Teagan! I hope your New Year is going well so far. I was talking about you and your blog to a student the other day. He was interested on how to publish his novel without all the hassle. I shared your blog and novels and he is inspired to got he digital way. He might contact you directly. Please help him if you can. Your concept is very innovative.


  7. That’s sweet of you Deb (especially about the trailer).
    Yes! The POV exercise and the character interviews are huge fun. Do try your hand at them. You wouldn’t have to do an entire story (re the POV). I was in 8th grade when the teacher had us do that. It was “Write a story from the point of view of a pair of shoes belonging to a famous person.” That continued to live in a corner of my mind.
    As for the interviews, even if you don’t post them, it serves as a good way to explore the thinking of a character. That way, when you put him/her into text, you are able to bring out the character more succinctly.
    Have fun! Hugs. 😀


  8. Teagan, what great advice about writing from an unexpected POV — I’ve never considered that! As you say, sometimes it’s difficult to get the right narrator who can be privy to all the information, and I’d say you handled that “problem” excellently by choosing the cat. I like, too, that you did an interview to tap into that perspective (I’m goint to try that sometime). Finally, I’d just like to say that I really like your trailer; I think it creates interest in the characters and situation very effectively, which likewise promotes the book. Great post! 🙂


  9. Loved the book and now reading the interview after reading the book I tend to agree with Lilith about the two characters. And now, Teagan, you know…we all want Atonement, Tennessee 2, don’t you? I hope your headache is better.


    1. Hi Olga. Thank you so very much for all your support about this novel. I realize how much is on your plate, and on your mind. I really do appreciate it.
      I dream of finishing Atonement in Bloom, as well as The Guitar Mancer. I will get there somehow. 😀 Huge hugs!


  10. Good morning, Teagan…..I have Atonement Tennessee on my Kindle… – wonderful read. I love the cat interview…and that little angel looks a wee bit like my Christeve:):) Have a wonderfully creative day and hope that you are headache free.xx


    1. Hi Janet. Lilith will take that as a great compliment, to look like beautiful Christeve. The calico is sort of a compilation of every cat who has ever owned me.
      I’m bubbling over with delight that you have “Atonement, Tennessee” — truly, and even more that you are enjoying it. Huge hugs! 🐱


  11. Tee-hee! Thank you hugely Suzanne! Create Space makes the paperback, print on demand. I hope it is as nice as the ones I’ve bought. I was very pleased with their work. I’ d be glad to send you an autograph page if you want. Touch base tomorrow.
    I can’t wait for you to read the prologue. :D. Mega hugs


  12. Great article and Wonderful of Chris to host; I just ordered Atonement Tennessee from Amazon in paperback. I don’t have Kindle maybe I should buy that. Hmmm… well can’t wait to get my book, I am totally drawn in by the excerpt here. I thought the interview with Lillith was purrrrfectly wonderful. Chris is very talented indeed.


  13. Teagan: I read your book over the holidays and will be posting the review. I can send you a copy first (it’s all positive). As well, WHERE do you wish to have it posted? Do Amazon.com, -ca and Goodread do it for you? Are you any other places you’d like to see a review?



    1. Tess, I’m thrilled you read my novel! The offer of a review is equally generous. I think I can pull up your email, so I will send & answer all that tomorrow. (I just went to bed with a bad headache.)
      I really am excited! Big hug. 🙂


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