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Exercise: A different angle

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingwor kshop.org/).

Prepared by: Lani Kraus and Rhéal Nadeau
Posted on: Sun, 7 Mar 2004

This is an updated version of Lani Kraus's POV exercise from February 2001. (You can find the original exercise at http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/pwarchive/pw5.shtml .)

Point of view refers to the perspective from which the story is told. In most contemporary fiction, the third-person limited POV is standard. That means that your story will be told, although in third person (he, she, it), only from the perspective of a single character. Your reader can only learn as much as that character knows. For example, if your POV character cannot read the other characters' minds, then you cannot tell the reader what the other characters are thinking.

The assignment: Using one of the scenarios below, write a scene from the POV of one of the characters. Then, rewrite the scene from the POV of the other character. Make sure each version is true to the POV character.

Scenario 1 involves a 30 year-old retarded man and his wealthy, uppity social worker. The social worker is trying to make the man understand the importance of bathing.

Scenario 2 involves a wealthy man pulled over by a traffic cop. The driver is in a hurry and considers the cop an inferior. The cop is irritated by aggressive drivers.

Scenario 3 involves two people meeting on a blind date. One of the people is looking for a serious relationship, the other for a no-strings-attached fling.

When critiquing, pay attention to how well each version is true (or not) to the POV of the chosen character.

Web site created by Rhéal Nadeau and the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.