Guest Post – Perspective on Tapdancing

I’m up in Seattle this week on vacation, so I’m turning my blog over to my friend, Elanor Hughes. She is currently writing a historical fantasy. Her home on the web can be found at Writing in the Dust. Thanks Elanor! – Sheryl

Hello there readers of this blog, I’m Elanor Hughes. Sheryl is on vacation right now so she asked me to write something reasonably interesting to entertain you while she is gone. One moment while I figure out how to tap dance and type at the same time. Here we go:

My legs beat out the rhythm of the song in counterpoint to the music of the jazz band pounding away for me, bright and exciting. It was a tune so amazing I was sure I’d fly right off the stage if we lost our step at the wrong moment. My feet were flying fast, swirl, step, swirl step, each in the opposite direction my arms made tandem wide swings, slide, slide. Swish.

Can you hear the music, feel the effort of the dance though you’ve never tapped a single step in your life?

Feet flying in a furious rhythm the tap dancer moved in counterpoint to the music of the jazz band pounding away so brightly. It was an amazing tune, if they played a wrong note she might make a wrong step and fly right off the stage. Her feet were flying fast now, swirl, step, swirl, step each in the opposite direction of her arms made tandem wide swings. Slide, slide. Swish.

She slid to a stop at the foot of the stage on her knees, chest heaving under the bright lights without moving. After a momentary pause, the audience roared their applause and she stood to take her bow.

Now you can see only see the motion from the outside and speculate on the way the experience happens from the inside.

It’s a really simple moment, no dialogue. No great work of art either. But I did my best to make them as similar as possible to illustrate why you might want to choose to use first person over third person. The same exact event happened, but you experienced it in two very different ways. The first, you are in the driver’s seat, not controlling the action but at least experiencing the action. The second, you are the audience watching the action happen. Both have their place and both have their strengths for different types of stories. They also both have their weaknesses.

The story I’m working on right now is from first person perspective. When I first started it I didn’t actually plan to write it first person when I began outlining, researching and creating character sketches. However, the day I sat down and started writing it just felt right. So I went with it, and it’s served me very well for this story. It’s not about tap dancers, thank goodness. That is a blog for another day, when I’m ready to explain it in depth on my own blog. Probably next month. Feel free to check it out.