What’s the POV?
Let me tell you about the story where the villain is the vehicle by which a story moves forward.
It all starts with a recitation of the cast introducing themselves to the audience. Nothing unusual about this, it’s a try and true method of story-telling. We heard from friends, loves, and the ‘damn fool who shot him’.
There are few people I will look at you and say that person is a storytelling god. Those who know me will say Joss Whedon and Steven Moffat, each holding their own as they take us on the hero’s journey. Lin Manuel Miranda stands tall in the pantheon of storytellers.
Let’s talk about Hamilton. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, Miranda picked up the 827 page tome while on vacation. I’m pretty sure the rest of the populace never saw a RAP musical when they read the book. Yet Miranda took the story and saw a sweep of categories in the 2016 TONY.
This is where it gets interesting, we don’t seen the story from the point of view of Alexander Hamilton. Instead, we see the story through the insecurities and jealousies of Aaron Burr.
Burr and Hamilton were diametrically opposed in how they processed the experiences of their lives. Hamilton was brilliant, brash, and the ultimate survivor who didn’t understand how he’d survived so much tragedy. Burr was heir to a legacy that he had no idea how to honor and build. AND, Burr desperately wanted to be in the room where it all happened. The one place he never truly stood.
Miranda had to understand both Burr and Hamilton in order to tell the story. Through exquisite attention to rhythm, rhyme, and facts, Miranda caught our attention and showed us a historical figure through the eyes of his rivals failures.
I’ve had stories that have failed because the point of view didn’t work. Can I tell you how annoying it is to scrap all my work because I’ve gotten the POV wrong? The stories aren’t dead, they are simply put back in the stew of imagination bubbling around my brain pan. Sometimes, the stories merge and create a totally new story.
No one else can tell the stories in my head. So I can’t waste my shot.