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Writing 101: 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.

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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. This is extremely interesting… I’m actually working on a story where I change the perspective to the point of changing the story from 3rd person to first person. I’m actually having the ‘writer’ make an appearance in the story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You just write up the assignment for the daily prompt on your blog and if you’d like feedback or for others to check it out, you can post a link here.

      I think you can also link to WP.com and then you get a pingback or something to your own site but I’m not exactly sure how that works.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Here’s some information on how to create a pingback. We don’t have pingbacks enabled on the Writing 101 assignments, though they are enabled on Daily Writing prompts, which is great source of daily writing inspiration (admittedly, I’m somewhat biased!).

      Here’s how to create a pingback.

      Here’s the link to our Daily Writing prompts. We publish a new one each day, at 8 am Eastern.

      Like

    1. This one began on 9/15, but feel free to jump in now if you’d like! There will be a new assignment posted every weekday for another 2.5 weeks. You just publish a post that responds to the assignment, and you can share the link here if you’d like feedback from others. Easy as pie!

      We’ll also be running this challenge again later in the year, if you’d like to wait and start from scratch.

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  2. I didn’t think I could write from 3 different point of views as I didn’t really have a story in mind and even if I did, how could I see the same story from 3 different angles? But when I started writing, it all started flowing. Definitely never underestimate your capabilities!! Good luck all! I hope this post helps you if you are having the same thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting challenge, which I’ll take on later. Point of view is an interesting concept. I’ve just started writing my first book (you can follow my journey here http://normski1989.wordpress.com/) and spent a while trying to decide which writing style to use. I’ve chosen to write it from a first person point of view.

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  4. The twist reminds me of the Japanese short story, In a Grove. Akira Kurosawa made a masterpiece out of the story. Read the story and watch the film, Rashomon. It will take your breath away.

    I have the plot now. The twist squeezes my mind. Gonna take my time doing this one.

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  5. Please guys do help me check out my 1st post ever on wordpress and let me know what you think. Do you think I’d be a good blogger and if not what do I have to do to be one. Thanks I really appreciate 🙂

    Like