Weekly Writing Challenge: Shift Your Perspective
When we send a post into the blogosphere, we want to make sure our best feet are forward. That means making sure errors like typos or poor grammar don’t detract from what we have to say; it’s one of the reasons The Daily Post highlights common grammar struggles. Grammar challenges follow up on grammar posts, calling on you to put your new-found understanding to the test.
To participate, tag your posts with DPchallenge or leave a link to your post in the comments. (It would also be great if you could link to this post to encourage people to take part – the more the merrier!) Please be sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge; obvious attempts to link-bait will be deleted. We’ll keep an eye on the tag and highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed each Friday.
Grammar guru Daryl’s post on narrative modes last week told you more than you probably thought you needed to know, going beyond first, second, and third person narration to variants like third-person omniscient, epistolary, and my personal favorite, unreliable. This week, we’re challenging you to explore how different narrative modes affect your writing. I may not get my ultimate wish of declaring 2013 “The Year of the Epistle,” but it should make for some fun storytelling.
To keep this from being a complete free-for-all, we’d like everyone to blog about, well, blogging: about the experience of conceiving, writing, and releasing a post into the wild for the world to consume. Depending on how comfortable you are pushing yourself, you can choose to go the beginner, intermediate, or advanced route. A cheat-sheet on the various modes is included at the bottom of this post.
Figure out what narrative mode you usually use — for a lot of bloggers, that’ll be first person, but not necessarily. Then, pick a different mode and write your post from that one.
If you usually post first person personal musings, try narrating your experience in the third person. If you write reviews or instructive posts, try an evocative first person description of your process. If you’re feeling especially frisky when you sit down to post, give the fickle second person a try and see what results, or go unreliable.
To go a bit further, try an epistolary story, one written in the form of exchanged letters. Maybe the letters are between different parts of yourself — the brash self who loves to post, and the retiring self who worries how readers will react — or maybe they’re between you and you mother, who doesn’t understand why you spend so much time in front of the computer. Take advantage of the opportunity to introduce another perspective, and use that to explore the role blogging plays in your life.
If you think you’re already a Mode Master, we encourage you to push yourself by mixing it up: use multiple narrative modes in the same post. Maybe most of your post is in the first person, but an omniscient third person narrator pops in occasionally to tell some hard truths. Perhaps your smooth third person narration is interrupted by tempestuous first person outbursts. This is your chance to really push the boundaries.
After this challenge, you’ll probably return to the style that works best for you and your blog, but we hope you’ll have another jar in the spice cabinet to reach for when you want some extra kick.
|First person||I, we|
|Epistolary (first person variant)||I, we|
|Third person||he, she, it, they|
|Unreliable narrator||he, she, it, they, I, we, you|