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blog Insider and Outsider Viewpoints

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Featured Author, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Featured Author

    Featured Author Scribe

    featuredauthor submitted a new blog post:

    Insider and Outsider Viewpoints
    This article is by Mareth Griffith.


    In crafting a protagonist, one major factor to consider is the main character’s relationship to the story’s setting - whether the protagonist is an insider or an outsider. A protagonist’s connection to the culture or world in which the story takes place sets up key assumptions that help determine the story’s arc, as well as the nature of the main conflict.

    Outsider Viewpoints

    Outsider viewpoints are stories narrated by characters who are strangers or newcomers to the world in which the story takes place. These viewpoints are present almost by definition in portal fantasy and stories involving time travel. Outsider viewpoints are also present in epic fantasy, or any narrative large enough that the protagonist’s quest extends far enough to allow that character to become an outsider themselves. For example, in The Lord of the Rings, while the story begins in the hobbits’ home ground of the Shire, by the middle of the trilogy, the hobbits are enmeshed in the completely unfamiliar settings of Rohan, Minas Tirith, and Mordor.

    Outsider protagonists often have story arcs that involve discovery and adaptability. The protagonist has to survive, and pursue their goals while trying to come to terms with the strictures and demands of a world very different from the one they started in. The main conflicts in the stories are more...
    Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
  2. rktho

    rktho Troubadour

    Finally someone recognizes Finn as a protagonist and not just a tag-along character.
  3. StepIntoTheRoad

    StepIntoTheRoad Dreamer

    I think Hayao Miyazaki is very good at using outside characters to explain new and fascinating worlds. Within the first 5 minutes of In Princess Mononoke, the main character's tribe banishes him. He then goes on his adventure, and the movie NEVER goes back to explain what life was like in his original tribe. Miyazaki moves on with the story and lets the MC's outsider attitude help describe the new world that he and the viewer are experiencing together. The same thing is done in Spirited Away. Both worlds are vivid, and a little absurdist. An outsider's viewpoint is critical to show the movie without confusing the viewer.
    In my favorite film by him, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the MC is an insider and rebels against the hatred that is shown towards the beasts that plague her homeland. As you say above this rebellious nature brings new knowledge to the people around the MC and helps them influence and change the world in the end.
    I would like to take this information and apply it not only to my story but my life as an author. I'll be asking myself "What situations am I an insider/outside?" Depending on my different viewpoints, I suspect I will bring different strengths to the table. Hopefully, in the long run, it will help me round out some weaknesses.

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