From an early age, right into my teenage years, I used to go to Tae Kwon Do class twice a week. My best friend had been training for far longer than me, had been to numerous competitions and was a skilled fighter. We fought probably an estimated three hundred times against each other and of those three hundred bouts, my friend’s skill, speed and strength prevailed two hundred and ninety-seven times.
That’s right, I won a grand total of three bouts against him.
Years later, my friend still gets rankled when I bring that up in conversation. The fact that he beat me two hundred and ninety-seven times goes out the window; he just begrudgingly remembers my three victories.
‘Reframing’ is a technique I picked up on years ago and one that has not only changed my perception of life but has been of massive assistance with understanding characters’ points of view in writing. It essentially means changing your point of view of an event, to a different outlook. The above example is a tongue-in-cheek jab at one of my best friends, but the premise is the same. At looking at the stats, it’s clear he’s a far better fighter than I am, yet by that same logic (and to my friend’s chagrin) he still has to live with the fact that I beat him three times.
This can be helpful when exploring a character whose values or goals may not align to your own. To try and get a better understanding of a character’s point of view, I try to see and hear things entirely from their perspective. I essentially build a frame around it and based on that character’s beliefs, try to understand how and why they react the way they do.
Likewise, reframing can come in handy in everyday life and day-to-day situations. When my first self-published novel crashed and burned after a very promising start, my initial response was to see it as an absolute failure. Afterwards, I reframed it as a learning experience. I took a cold, surgical look at everything I had done for this project, from the cover design, to the marketing, even to the pacing and flow of the story. Within a week, I had identified a dozen amateur mistakes I had made and vowed to learn from the experience, rather than look back on it as something traumatic.
Unfortunately, we all have to deal with negative experiences but changing how we view them can be a powerful aid to improving our outlook. Without reframing, there are countless things I probably never would have achieved. I certainly wouldn’t be celebrating my debut novel Big Red being released worldwide!
By Damien Larkin
We have always been here...
We have always been here...
Traumatized by the effects of Compression travel, soldier Darren Loughlin holds the key to the fate of Earth's Martian colonies. With his Battalion decimated, his fractured memory holds the only clues to the colony-wide communications blackout.
With time running out, Darren pieces together his year-long tour of duty with the Mars Occupation Force. Stationed in the Nazi-founded New Berlin colony, ruled by the brutal MARSCORP, he recounts his part in the vicious, genocidal war against the hostile alien natives and all who question Terran supremacy.
But as his memories return, Darren suspects he is at the centre of a plot spanning forty years. He has one last mission to carry out. And his alien enemies may be more human than he is...
Damien Larkin is a part-time Planning Analyst and a full-time stay-at-home father of two young children. He enjoys turning terrifying nightmares into novels and currently resides in Dublin, Ireland.