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In the spirit of full-disclosure, at least half of the blogs I follow are blogs about dogs. While these blogs may focus on a certain niche reader, there is a common post type that I often see on pet-related blogs: posts written from a different point of view. Namely, posts written from the perspective of the blog owner’s pet.

It is certainly a cute post style to read, and to write. For example, one of my favorite blogs, Love and a Six-Foot Leash, showcases a weekly column written from Chick’s perspective, the blog owner’s dog: “Chix-A-Lot Fridays.” As a reader, these types of posts offer a fresh perspective and a light-hearted way to break up the regular style of the blog.

Writing from someone else’s point of view doesn’t fit with all blog types, but it is an excellent writing exercise that helps you to refine your word selection and stretch your imagination. When writing in someone else’s voice, the process is no longer automatic. Instead, you first need to “become” that person, and then write.

When done well, writing from another person’s perspective sounds natural. In Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott writes about dialogue and the same rules hold true here: “First of all, sound your words β€” read them out loud.” Who knows what a dog’s thoughts, or anyone else’s for that matter, sound like? The idea is to not sound like yourself, and to sound effortless when doing so.

If you do choose to incorporate this exercise or style into your blog, it’s a good idea to make a clear distinction for your readers by using a unique title or preface. This helps to avoid any confusion, especially if you’re suddenly referring to yourself in the third-person. These posts are also an excellent option for a weekly feature, which can help to generate new post ideas and can refresh your regular writing schedule. If you’re writing as a fictional character, be sure to provide background for your readers. If you’re writing as one of your pets or kids, add some pictures for context.

This ability to stretch your writing so that you can express what it’s like to be someone else is an excellent exercise. Even if you find that it won’t work well with your blog in particular, I strongly believe in using writing exercises to help improve as a writer overall. Try it out privately or share it with a friendΒ β€” it’s a lot of fun and can even be pretty therapeutic.

Have you ever written from someone else’s point of view on your site? If so, how did you incorporate it into your blog? If not, have you ever tried?

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  1. People who write as their dog or cat irritate the dogs and cat here at the DogWalkBlog. While we have fun with impersonating our dogs from time to time, our blog is NOT about writing from a dog’s perspective, rather from the human perspective about stuff that we ruminate on while walking the dogs. Dogs do a limited number of things: Sleep, eat, poop, pee, chase a ball, repeat. That is simply not a sustainable blog.

    The only other thing that is more irritating is when they use a baby voice when impersonating their dog. I’ve spoken with my dogs and they even agree that is silly. The cat dissented, however.

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  2. Funnily enough I would say that my point of view on many things has been changed by the very act of writing on a regular basis. Sometimes it has firmed up my position on the things I am writing about. Other times the act of planning and researching my writing has lead me to considering alternatives to what I had first intended when I conceived the post. I guess this is not the same as writing from another point of view but I think the result is similar.

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    1. I agree that the result is similar! Regardless of what point of view you’re writing in, it’s always beneficial to see yourself and your opinions changing πŸ™‚

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  3. I write in a variety of ways, all on the same blog, and categorized appropriately, or so I thought. I am writing childhood memories and they’re posted in my “About” page, written in the third person, as the memories are difficult and third person allows me to look in, without shrinking too far into the child inside.
    I have noted, though, that some readers don’t notice the category, and with that, and your suggestions, I’ll be making some changes in order to distinctly differentiate the adult me, and the memoirs… Thanks.

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    1. third person allows me to look in, without shrinking too far into the child inside.

      This is an excellent point and I actually just had a chat with a friend earlier who sad something similar. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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  4. You know, this is a wonderful suggestion. And no, I have never tried this on my blog. I will certainly take this into consideration because it sounds like fun!

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  5. Love Bird by Bird – one of my guidebooks for writing!

    I started a blog written from the perspective of a classroom hamster, The Adventures of Peanut Buttercup. You see, poor PBcup was sick, and we (the teachers) didn’t want her to die in the classroom. So we told the kids that she went on an early summer vacation, and I brought her home to get well.

    Luckily, Peanut Buttercup is fully recovered now and ready for school in the fall. Meanwhile, the kids loved her letters so much, that they look for the hamster’s weekly letters through the blog. So not only am I writing in the perspective of a world-traveling hamster; I’m also writing for 6 year-old emerging readers!

    It’s fun. We’ll see where Peanut Buttercup takes me…

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    1. What a nice idea that you all had. Glad to hear that Peanut Buttercup is doing better, and that the kids are getting to read the adventures!

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    2. You’re doing a great thing, Jennifer! All kids should read more and the time to get started is when they’re young, emerging readers! I know this as a retired teacher! I would love to be reading about your hamster, too!

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      1. Put up your link, anyway! It’s just a matter of opinion. What matters is how YOU feel about sharing your delightful blog!
        Thank you, Jennifer (and Peanut Buttercup)!

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    3. This is so incredibly cool! Subscribed to PBcup so thank you for providing the link. Not tacky at all and don’t worry about what people say.. most are dead wrong anyway… I hope The Adventures of Peanut Buttercup is a book some day.

      Let me know if PBcup ever goes to Denmark.. or Dayton, Ohio and you need some pictures…

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  6. Thank you for the advice. Tucker thanks you too! He says he wouldn’t mind having his own blog post once in a while…I find these kinds of posts entertaining as well.

    Shannon

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  7. @Jennifer M….I visited your blog and it reminds me of Stuart Little. How cute and I love it. @Erica…this gives me tons of new ideas and the creativity of it could go a long way. Thank you for new ideas to keep the old brain stimulated.

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  8. I have just last week started a second blog called The Adventures of Justin Beaver which is written in this very style. Justin is a German beaver who left his home to travel the world. He yodels, hence his name, and his plan is to share his adventures with his friends via his blog. It’s proving to be an interesting exercise to write like this and good writing practice.

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  9. Erica, I think you have raised a point that also affects most fiction writers who choose to write not only in the first person but using more than one “voice” to tell the tale from different perspectives. The difficult thing is to make each “voice” sound authentic and clearly distinguishable from the other voices. I used this technique in a small way in my book ” A Garden in Africa” where the story is told in the first person and an occasional insertion of acerbic comments from an old aunt are revived in the narrator’s memory to add a perspective different to the narrator’s own. I find it’s very important to develop some distinguishing motif here, rather like a leitmotif in music, so the reader can clearly tell one voice from another. When animals are the narrators it poses a very different problem – how to make one or more animal character sound authentic without being too cutesy. This is a good topic Erica, I think I’ll write a blog about it!

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  10. I have a guest author and I am becoming his “ghost writer”. He sends me a rough draft and I edit. We have just gotten started. When I wrote his intro I could hear his voice in my head. Sent it to him for his approval and he thought it perfect. It turned it to be quite fun.

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  11. I’ve started writing “letters” from one character I have in the game Lord of the Rings Online. I’ve found that fun to do. With another character, I’m going to try the interview approach, or perhaps just the straight telling in a pub or something like that (she’s a minstrel, so telling stories in a pub might work πŸ™‚ )
    I try to keep the “sound” of the character I’ve got in mind. I even try to give them a real personality in-game. I think the latter really works for me.

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  12. Well, I write fiction, and I have from time to time written from the perspective of a character in the story. In one story in particular, tha narrator is an invisible woman *and* a character in the story. Like you said, you have to take time to get into the character’s head before you can start writing. Many of my other stories are also written in the first-person, which for some reason is considered a no-no, but my narrators don’t come across as all-knowing. I figure the narrator is like a camera, and a camera can’t know what it doesn’t see. But that can take some doing…

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  13. Writing in a different perspective is certainly more creative, more imaginative of sorts. This approach certainly presents a new way of looking at things, a new light to see people. Things appear quite distantly different when we attempt something like that. I believe this a very good technique for Personal development as well.

    As You guys have invited a link of such an attempt, Here is one which I wish to present.

    http://mercvision.wordpress.com/2009/11/29/a-suicide-note/

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