P.W. Creighton

It's The Unanswered Questions That Haunt Us...

Filtered Perspectives

Perceptions, Tones, Filters…


A writer's challenge in crafting a narrative is conveying the piece they envision to an audience that has no concept of the piece. The creator has to balance the elements of the piece, the settings, characters, thrills and the visual elements that can affect the perceptions of the piece.

Even as a piece is painstakingly balanced between the elements, it still may not convey the vision that the creator desires. It may not have the appropriate tone or saturation.

Conveying the appropriate tone for a piece can often be the most challenging due in-part to the preconceptions that audiences carry. Every individual has differing experiences and most often what one person perceives is not what another understands.

Ex. "She let out a sigh and leaned against the damp brick wall. Somewhere down the alley she could hear the rats fighting."    

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The setting in this example may convey a gritty and dark tone to some, to others that have lived or experienced this type of setting only conveys a night-time city neighborhood. The piece fails to utilize the preconceptions and carry the appropriate tone.

Drawing the appropriate saturation for an audience can be an equally strong challenge. The saturation of a piece is dependent on how long the audience is exposed to a setting or scene. Certain individuals will require longer time in the scenes to reach the appropriate saturation levels to convey the envisioned composition.

Adjusting the tone and saturation of a composition is similar to the visual arts. In photography and cinematography, when all of the elements are drawn together and the composition is still not what was envisioned, the artist typically applies filters to create the vision. Red filters to 'warm' a composition, 'blue' to cool and still more to affect the saturation levels in the piece. The more the light is controlled through filters, the more artists are able to control the audience's perceptions of the piece.

In a narrative it is possible to control tone and saturation through this same 'filter' concept. Adjusting tone is possible through filtering the narrator's perception. Expanding on the previous example with a 'filter' it is possible to ensure that the right tone is conveyed.

Ex. "She let out a sigh and leaned against the damp brick wall. It was hard to believe it had come to this. Somewhere down the alley she heard the footsteps over the fighting rats."


Through filtering the narrator's perspective it is possible to adjust the tone to a perceptible level. Extending the scene through a few slight details fully saturates the audience. Attaining the envisioned composition is not only an assemblage of the right elements but often the right application of filtered words.

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