Prepared by: Florence Cardinal
Posted on: August 4, 2002
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY
This is a characterization exercise. Take
a story with a strong lead
character - something other people are going to know - it can even be a
fairy tale. Now tell that story from the viewpoint of some other
in the story.
The goal of this exercise is to help you
with character development.
Remember, all the people in your story should have a reason for the
they do, not just the main character or characters. Seeing the way all
these people view things can help create a richer, more realistic,
The best stories have the characters, good and bad, acting for clear
reasons of their own, based on their own views of what should happen -
the interaction and conflicts between these provides narrative tension.
SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT WE HAVE IN MIND:
How would Rhett Butler or Melanie Wilkes
see Scarlet O'Hara in Gone
the Wind? How about Mammy? What did she really think? Want to really
stretch your imagination? Get into the mind of an animal. Maybe tell
story of "The Old Man and the Sea" from the viewpoint of the fish.
Some writers have already rewritten a
known work from another point
view. Tom Stoppard, in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" showed
Hamlet through the eyes of two minor characters. Recently Alice
"The Wind Done Gone" retold Gone With The Wind from a black
If you're really stuck for a story idea,
how about a fairy tale? How
the queen see Sleeping Beauty? In the original, we are shown this
girl, beautiful, sweet, kind. But was that the way the queen saw her?
Sleeping Beauty was really mean and spiteful, a spoiled girl who always
demanded her own way. Perhaps, then, the queen had a reason for her
This week, tell us the name of the story
you have chosen and who
viewpoint character is. Then, in 500 words or less, let us hear the
side of the story
Florence Cardinal's wrap-up
Posted on: August 12, 2002
An interesting week, with stories from the
Shakespeare and even
a few fairy tales. All in all, a good week. I found most of the subs
interesting to read, but, beyond that, they gave you something to
How would the book have been written had the entire novel or play been
using a different point of view.
I'm hoping that it gave all of us a chance
to see how necessary to
our plot it
is to know just where the other people in the story are coming from.
causes the villain to behave as he does. Everyone, even the most
killer, has a reason for behaving the way he/she does. We have to think
it - what's the motivation - before we can know - the other side of the
and all stories have one.
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