The Roots of the word
It is a merging of two Greek words: Mi for not, anthro for human; and the English word "perspective" So Mianthroperspection would be the art of writing from a non human perspective.
To understand this tool of the fantasy writer let's first take a look at anthropomorphism. It is the attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects or animals and a good example of this would be the owl. We assign wisdom to the owl and in many fantasy stories he acts accordingly. Often he wears glasses and is very aristocratic in nature and behavior and he is always a cornucopia of wisdom. This is classic anthropomorphism and it helps us understand ourselves. But the important thing to remember here is that we have assigned human characteristics to the non-human owl. We haven't tried to examine how the owl really feels, or what he, as an owl, really thinks? And this distinction is where mianthroperspection comes in.
Mianthroperspection steps right out of the human being and steps right into the animal or object in question. It attempts to describe what the animal or object might feel or think, and it is a manifestation of imagination in its highest form because it is a total separation from the human viewpoint. And it is in this contrasting opinion that we get a different look at the human viewpoint. A good example of this would be a typical viewpoint of dragons in many fantasy stories.
Dragons are described in stories as often living for thousands of years, sometimes tens of thousands of years and writers have stepped out of themselves and into the dragon in terms of how a dragon thinks about time. If a dragon lives this long wouldn't it have a different view of time? Wouldn't it see time differently than we as humans see it? A writer would imagine that a dragon would see the passing of time very differently than a human would see it. How would a dragon feel if it had to wait a day for something? How would it feel if it had to wait a year for something? How about if it had to wait a hundred years?
Remember this in your writing. Do not just assign human values and opinions to the non-human characters you write about. Step into their lives and try to feel and understand how they feel and how they understand life from the reality of what life is like for them. It will stretch your imagination and it will add a truly unique perspective on the characters - and by adding a contrasting point of view it will shed a unique light on your human characters.
Experience life through the eyes of a creature. Want to read something in this sub-genre?
- The Last Unicorn - Through the eyes of a unicorn
- Watership Down - Through the eyes of a rabbit
- Grendel - Through the eyes of a beast
- Redwall - Through the eyes of a mouse
- Shardik - Through the eyes of a bear
- Marlfox - Through the eyes of a fox
- The Hobbit - Through the eyes of a Hobbit
- Orn - Through the eyes of a dinosaur
- Catwings - Through the eyes of a cat
- Piper at the gate - Through the eyes of a horse
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh - Mrs. Frisby is a mouse
- The Wind in the Willows - Mole, toad, badger and rat
- Bartimaeus Trilogy - Djinni
- Tailchaser's Song - A Cat
- Animal Farm - Farm Animals
- Charlotte's Web - A pig
- Cats In Cyberspace - Cats
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit (The World of Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit)
- The Little Grey Men (Oxford Children's Modern Classics) - Gnomes
- How Little Grey Rabbit Got Back Her Tail (The Tales of Little Grey Rabbit) - Rabbit and her friends Hare and Squirrel
- Down the Bright Stream - Gnomes
- Birth of the Firebringer (Firebringer Trilogy) - Unicorns
- Fire Bringer - Deer
- The Sight - Wolves
This list is growing! If you have a suggestion for a book that should be added, send an email to the webmaster!