It was one of the first sunny Sundays of spring, so I headed up to the roof of my building with my favorite “go to the roof” kit: something to read (on my Kindle), something to listen to (music and/or podcasts on my phone), a note pad, a pen, and my sunset snack basket with a glass of wine, olives, nuts & a little cheese.
In the elevator on my way up to the top/eighth floor of my building, I ran into one of my neighbors. She glanced at my basket and asked:
“Are you doing facials?”
“Facials? I’m going up to the roof to relax with a glass of wine.”
“Oh, that’s a nice idea. I saw the basket and thought you were doing facials.”
In her frame of reference, the basket was filled with beauty treatments. Judging from her unnaturally smooth skin and puffy lips, she spends a great deal of time, money and effort chasing beauty. It’s an important part of her life and it colors the way she views the world.
I got up to the roof and found another neighbor and told her the story. She said that, “Life was a Rorschach Test” and that we all see different things, based on our lives and how we look at what we see.
I looked at the shadows of lattice-work & leaves with pleasure, acknowledging that someone else might see the dirt on the white wall and not the pretty shadows.
When creating a character in fiction, I’ve found that it’s important to have an idea about his or her ‘frame of reference’ and when I lose sight of this, the character is in danger of running away from me.
What is important to this character? How do they view the world around them? With whom do they want to spend time? These are important questions and they can be helpful in developing a credible world view for a character in any genre of fiction—from the most realistic to the most fantastic.