Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Writer Wednesday: An Exercise in Point of View

Writer Wednesday An Exercise in Point of View
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There are quite a few exercises in photography about point of view.  What would a tree look like from the point of view of a bear?  What about a chipmunk?  It’s a way to help you move about and see and capture things from different angles and perspectives.  

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.

Simple Plot

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?

Additional Ideas

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
A Few Book Examples
Here is a whole series of books based on what you just did in this exercise!

Book Cover: Seriously, Cinderella Is So Annoying Book Cover: Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten! Book Cover: Believe Me Goldilocks Rocks! Book Cover: Trust Me Jack's Beanstalk Stinks Book Cover: Really, Rapunzel Needed A Haircut! Book Cover: Seriously, Snow White Was So Forgetful Book Cover: No Lie, I Acted Like A Beast! Book Cover: No Kidding, Mermaids Are A Joke! Book Cover: Frankly I Never Wanted to Kiss Anybody! Book Cover: Truly We Both Loved Beauty Dearly!

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