Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Poultry Philosophy

There is a telling moment in the movie "Babel" when it becomes clear that a chicken is not always the same as a chicken.

It all depends on your point of view.

Point of view, or POV, is one of decisions a writer must make early on in a project. Will it be 1st person ("I"), with the audience 'looking' straight out of the eyes of the protagonist as in many chicklit novels? Will it be the wildly difficult to write and understand 2nd person ("You"), a choice so daunting only a handful of courageous and experimental souls have ever attempted it? Or will it be 3rd person ("he/she/it"), which allows the auidience to look at the action from a distance as if watching a movie?

Apprentice Writer likes 3rd person omniscient, meaning that the story is told from the POV of various characters. This is a lot of fun to write, but Apprentice Writer has been getting feedback recently warning about the perils of 'headhopping'. Evidently this is a bad thing.

Apprentice Writer very much appreciates her beta readers' constructive criticism. At the same time, she struggles to understand why headhopping must be so strenuously avoided. Consider this example of different chickenly POVs . A convincing demonstration of how well headhopping can work, funnywise.

"SO, WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?
Saeed Al Sahaf (Comical Ali): The chicken did not cross the road. This is a complete fabrication. We do not even have a chicken.

George W. Bush: We don't care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either for us or against us. There is no middle ground.

Tony Blair: I agree with George.

Martin Luther King Jr.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.

Grandpa: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

Oprah: In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell (the) heart-warming story of how it experienced a serious case of moulting and went on to accomplish its dream of crossing the road.

Aristotle: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

Karl Marx: It was a historic inevitability.

Albert Einstein: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

Homer Simpson: Mmmm....chicken."

(author unknown, source: "The Toronto Star")

5 comments:

Amy Ruttan said...

ROFL!!! Mmmm chicken.

julia said...

I don't know which ones I liked more, the Martin Luther King Jr. one, or the Albert Einstein one. They're all hilarious, but those ones have a certain draw for me.

Thomma Lyn said...

hehe, all perspectives on the chicken are hilarious!

M. said...

There is something about 'chicken' that is inherently humorous. Also 'turkey'. I don't know why.

Christine d'Abo said...

ROFL!!! This is awesome. And I don't mind a bit of head hopping in my stories as long as it's clear who is doing the talking. Every sentence...no, that bothers me.