The Eyes That Matter

They're your eyes, your coherent vision of what you're trying to say and show. Whether you displace that vision into a narrator or have a viewpoint-protagonist who is a thinly disguised version of yourself, the job is the same: to see things whole and clear and true. To focus on what's important and let the unimportant blur or drop out. To be a photographer of the mind, noting how the shadows are cast by your own private inner sun.

In ancient times, it was believed that the eye sent out rays that illuminated and affected whatever was seen. Belief in "the Evil Eye" is a vestige of that ancient concept of the eye's function. For a writer, it's still true, and always has been. You light up what you see, when you embody it in a story. Then others can see it too. Innumerable learned books are written on this or that author's "vision," the unique worlds created by seeing them and writing about them.

That kind of seeing, insight, is so fundamentally the business of fiction that it's worth taking care with.

And by the way: don't break viewpoint in the middle of a scene. I just wanted to remind you, in case you forgot.

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