Alright, October’s writing challenge has arrived, and it is a fun one! Write a short story from a blind man’s Point of View. You can do it in first person or third, just make sure he’s blind as a bat.
When I started my series of short Sprinkle stories, from Henry J Sprinkle’s blind PoV, I knew right away this was going to be a true-blue challenge. Sure enough I found myself pausing after every other sentence. I had described something from a visual perspective, something Sprinkle could not possibly have noticed. Once you start your story, you’ll recognize after a while that it’s ingrained into your Writer’s Repertoire to first and foremost describe the world from a visual perspective.
It’s a useful tool, to be sure, but there are many other specialty tools in your writer’s tool box that you should be using.
Grab Those Writing Tools!
Sprinkle loves lounge music, so I use that to accompany numerous scenes. Having Frank Sinatra telling a story—such as I’ve Got You Under My Skin—while Sprinkle performs an autopsy or whatever, lends flavor and punctuation to an otherwise featureless scene. The labored breathing of heavier people, or the thumping sound of air in the pipes also works to illuminate a world we cannot see. And then there are smells and aromas. Sprinkle’s world is filled with the stink and perfume of life, certain odors acting as indicators, letting him know when someone familiar (Ishmael and his cigarette-stink) or unfamiliar (the BO of a bum) is nearby.
Writing from this perspective was a great challenge I thoroughly enjoyed. I believe you will too. By the end of your first story you will have expanded your writer’s toolbox, and developed a new, more advanced skill set. Happy Writing!
P.S. I’ve pasted the first page of Sprinkle Takes the Cake, below for your perusal. Enjoy:
Sprinkle Takes the Cake: Page 1
Someone had died in the last hour, while cupcakes baked in the oven.
Sprinkle detected the aromatic remains of both. The smell of risen goodies always revved his engine; a good thing too, as he wasn’t getting any lettuce for this gig. The other scent—that of a man at least one hour into the big sleep—announced itself in a different manner. It was a background emanation, heavy, lingering, and it licked at his face like a dog with a mug disease.
That one was strictly from Dixie, make no mistake.
It was while trying to decide if either was in cahoots with the other that Sprinkle heard his assistant, June Dye, storming back his way. He knew by the boom-tappa-boom impressions her stompers made against the wood floor that she had just been ignored.
When she settled down, June became a mime, quietly sulking beside him. Flushed by the heat her young body radiated, Sprinkle decided now was a good time to take his Stroll, give the doll a few minutes to cool off.
The Stroll was an easy though jostling walk he liked to take through crime scenes. It lent a better impression of the murder room. Unlike most sightless men, Sprinkle did not use a cane, or even blacked-out glasses. ‘Those things are for blind dodgers’ he would say to those who asked, inevitably conjuring a giggle or uncomfortable grunt.
Instead he used a small SONAR transducer, a handheld device favored by fishermen to help locate their quarry. He’d programmed it (had June program it) to send out ping’s so he could use it to gauge distances between himself and objects on the floor: furniture, end-tables, walls, corpses. ‘Much dandier than a cane, right June?’ he’d said. Holding it low, he activated the device. It chirped five times in a volume so low only Sprinkle and vermin could hear it, and so he commenced his stroll.
Over the amalgamated aroma of death and cupcakes Sprinkle smelled a dame’s perfume and heard a dame’s strained voice. She was sobbing, was the dame, telling a tale. Every few words she paused to take a breath; during the interlude the detective grilling her uh-huhed.
As clear as the notes to Astaire’s Puttin on the Ritz, Sprinkle knew the flatfoot was not buying what she was selling.