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It’s no different with writing. Writing a scene from different points of view helps you to explore how various characters might experience the same thing. Even if you choose not to use that point of view in the telling of your story, it may add to the richness and complexity of your characters.
Set the Scene
Start by setting the scene. Perhaps a child brings a pet turtle to school for show and tell. The characters are the child, the pet turtle, the child’s classmates, the teachers, and maybe the room itself.
In the most simple of terms, what happens? The child brings the turtle to the front of the room to talk about it. She trips, drops the turtle, and starts to cry. Some of the children laugh and some of the children gasp. The teacher hurries over to pick up the turtle who seems to be fine and to comfort the child who dropped the turtle.
The Fun Begins!
Rewrite this simple story in first person as:
- the child
- the pet turtle
- the teacher
- a nice classmate
- a mean classmate
- the floor
- the person in the hall who only heard but did not see what was going on.
Compare and Contrast
Ask yourself the following questions.
- How did the story change with each point of view?
- Did you find one point of view harder to write than another?
- Would this be a useful technique to use in a story you are writing?
- Does writing the story from a different point of view reveal something new about the characters or the setting?
There are lots of ways to play with point of view.
- Diary entries from the dog, the cat, and the bird.
- Rewrite a fairy tale
- Describe a room from a baby’s point of view and then from the Dad’s point of view
Here is a whole series of books based on what you just did in this exercise!