From a very young
age, I have loved getting lost in stories, especially those of people’s lives
or of pivotal moments in history. Growing up, my family would travel to spaces
and places around the world, learning about these stories I often never heard in
school or read in books—about extraordinary people and moments rarely
spotlighted. Curious me, would always ask my parents how come I’d never heard
of these events or individuals and was often disappointed by their answers.
Then one day my mom said because people rarely look beyond the frame. At the time, I didn’t exactly understand what she meant, but now, no matter what I am writing, those words remain at the forefront of my mind.
Much like a picture frame creates a border, which contains or houses a specific scene, the scope of our stories are generally framed too. And because of this, we need to remember there are people, histories, and experiences beyond the frame of the story that is centered and shared. Perspectives that can add depth and richness to the moment or people discussed or highlighted. When I write, I always try to look beyond the frame of my story and ask myself various questions to help me get started when exploring broader perspectives. First, I’ll identify groups and experiences that surround the frame of my story. Those that would also be affected by what occurs within the frame.
Then I ask:
- How does/did the event play a role in their everyday?
- How and when can including their voice and perspective enrich the main focus of the piece?
- Does the inclusion shift or distract from the focus of the work? If so, are there ways to still note the perspective?
- Have I captured authentic (or varied) perspectives by what is included in the overall work?
- Am I able to give an accurate voice to the often overlooked?
may not serve every piece you write, but for me something in them always help
to expand my thinking on a topic and I hope the same may be true for you.
Meet the Author:
Leah is a writer, mentor, and teacher. You can learn more about Leah and her writing at www.leahhendersonbooks.com