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Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View

For today’s assignment, write a scene at the park. Up for a twist? Write the scene from three different points of view.

A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.

Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.

If point of view was an object, it would be William Carlos Williams’ infamous red wheelbarrow; everything depends on it.

Consider a car/pedestrian accident: the story differs depending on whether you’re the driver, the pedestrian, or the woman across the street who witnessed the horror. Everyone will tell a different story if asked to recount the event.

Shifting point of view can be your best friend if you’ve got writers’ block. If you’re stuck or you feel your writing is boring and lifeless, Craig Nova, author of All the Dead Yale Men, suggests shifting the point of view from which your story is told:

Take point of view, for example. Let’s say you are writing a scene in which a man and a woman are breaking up. They are doing this while they are having breakfast in their apartment. But the scene doesn’t work. It is dull and flat.

Applying the [notion] mentioned above, the solution would be to change point of view. That is, if it is told from the man’s point of view, change it to the woman’s, and if that doesn’t work, tell it from the point of view of the neighborhood, who is listening through the wall in the apartment next door, and if that doesn’t work have this neighbor tell the story of the break up, as he hears it, to his girlfriend. And if that doesn’t work tell it from the point of view of a burglar who is in the apartment, and who hid in a closet in the kitchen when the man and woman who are breaking up came in and started arguing.

Need a helping hand? Head to The Commons.

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  1. Great exercise! Just the kind of exercise I needed. I’m currently writing a screenplay for this film my friends and I want to make, and I’m running out of ideas for dialogues to bring the story forward.

    Also, I didn’t quite like the last assignment. I use a lot of words, mostly adjectives though, but it was hard writing without adverbs. Maybe I’ll just skip that, and reserve it for next time. :)

    1. it’s funny how you don’t realize what you have til it’s gone. give me my adverbs back! LOL.

  2. This is an exciting and energetic topic. I’d always wished to write different POVs, but never ended writing one before. I believe this is my first attempt. :)

  3. I’m willing to bet that a lot of people will write a very serious & somber post for this one. And I can totally see why, but I’d love to see someone do something funny with it. Don’t know how it would work, but I’d love to read it.

    1. Hopefully humorous enough! Tell me what you think. Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View For today’s assignment, write a scene at the park. Up for a twist? Write the scene from three different points of view. | Thoughts by Mello-Elo
      http://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/writing-101-day-nine-changing-moccasins-point-of-view-for-todays-assignment-write-a-scene-at-the-park-up-for-a-twist-write-the-scene-from-three-different-points-of-view/

  4. I must be psychic. I thought of this last night while brainstorming blog post ideas. I thought of telling the same story from two different perspectives.

      1. Thank you! A bit too short and not enough description I think. But I wanted to do it before I read anyone elses and started doubting myself.
        Much Respect
        Ronovan

      1. Thank you! I like that word…awesome. But I am just glad I got it done so I don’t have to worry about doubting myself.
        Much Respect
        Ronovan

      1. I went simple. I think that’s all I know how to do. I read so many that are very intricate. I wonder sometimes if I am missing something.

  5. So do we have to write this scene as stated in the longer prompt, as in the man and woman and old woman and the man starts to cry, or is that just an example and the assignment is just writing a scene in a park from 3 different points of view?

  6. BLARGH. I swear the moderators are reading my blog before they post these things. Park scenes? Car/pedestrian accidents? You people have freakishly apt timing with my blog.

    I JUST TODAY finished a serial short story (serial killers!) about those very things and published a PDF version on my blog. Check it out! I’ll love you forever if you give me feedback :) And I’m happy to return the favor.

    http://beholdtheinfinite.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/almas-pdf/

    1. I think you’ll do great, with your interest in fiction reading. There are infinite possibilities out there. And if it’s too much stressing , you could simply put in a real life scenario, only placing yourself in the minds of those with whom you are. And then, you can also give a life to an object as well, having its own thoughts.
      I look forward to read what you’ve written. :)

  7. A twist.Different sides of the same story as told by different people. Each story getting the detective more confused. Imagine that!

    Dad got home and I was not home. He had told me not to go out that day and I pledged to keep it. He also told the neighbour James to watch out.

    James had seen a car drove in. Minutes later I was laughing and entering the car, which zoomed off. ‘They are her friends. Her father must hear this. Bad girl!’
    But he was smart enough to write down the car details and took some shots.

    Oge my friend down the road also saw me wave to her amidst smiles. Though she hadn’t seen the faces of the men before, she concluded within her that I didn’t want to introduce my new friends to her.Felt sad.

    Two days gone and I was nowhere to be found. Alarmed! Maybe she had eloped with Ben. Detectives were invited and they interrogated everyone.

    James suddenly remembered the pictures he took that day and showed them to the police. ‘what?’ they cried. ‘These guys are kidnappers and rapists. She’s been kidnapped’. Trouble!

    Well I was rescued days later. I told how they entered as the courier men. They brought out a gun and told me to follw them and pretend to be laughing and enjoying my self with them. Also to wave to my friend else I will be killed .I merely complied. they were arrested anyway…….

    Does this meet your standard. Just cooked it up now. Much thoughts.

  8. So much work to do today, so I won’t be getting to this until the evening but I am excited for today’s challenge. The twist is awesome.

    Excited to see where everyone else goes with it.

  9. LIked the examples for this one. Makes it easy to understand.
    Being Goldilocks trying on points of view can be eyeopening and thought provoking.
    Rewriting fairy tales has produced some great children’s books (and movies). Always a creative exercise. Lots of fun to do with any existing story. (Kid’s books are short, so they work well)
    Really stuck? (or don’t want to write a story) Get physical. Writing exercise – either description or free writing of thoughts suggested or scientific analysis – from three positions. Look at an object/place/scene at eye level. Then Get up on a chair or ladder and look down and write what you actually see. Or what you think about the object from this position? Does its’ meaning or importance change? How do you feel about the object? (explore writing a bird’s eye view). Last. Lay down on the floor. (It will be different…can you even see the object – OK to move a bit if necessary – or not? Any thing notable about the supporting structure? How do you feel about having it above you?
    Point of view is valuable in novels, fun to play with, and can really show some author personality. Go whimsy!
    (now I will go over and sit quietly…writing to do. OK so it’s never quiet…)

  10. I should have asked this earlier. Are we supposed to do our assignments in exactly the meaning of the words or are we allowed to take the idea (e.g. today switching the point of view) and write a post on whatever we like but use this technique? If the first is the case I am probably doing it the entire time wrong. If the latter is the case I am ok.

  11. This one’s cool. It’s past midnight here in the Philippines.
    Ah, I just finished my Day 7 assignment. And the comments page is already closed.

    Please excuse me for having to post my link here…

    A newbie stock market tradermom here…
    Sharing my left and right brain’s arguments while trading..
    Please check out my post and feel free to share your thoughts about it (for my improvement)

    http://maijan56.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/writing-101-day-7-buy-sell-or-hold/

    Thanks!

    1. You can use whatever tags make sense for the post in question — it’s usually a good idea to include a mix of specific and broader terms. You can also add the Writing101 tag, which will help other challenge participants to find your post in the Reader.

      Note: for posts to appear in the Reader, they must contain no more of 15 tags and categories in total.

    1. With this and all other assignments, you’re encouraged to tweak the topic in any way that suits your particular needs, tastes, and mood.

  12. I was seriously thinking about changing the grandma to grandpa because men can knit too! pieniajaristyksia.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/the-good-the-bad-and-the-grandma/

  13. This is an excellent twist and I am looking forward to the challenge I am stepping into untested waters but am up to the task