A while back, I wrote a post about the different points of view that can be used in a story. First-person. Second-person. Third-person. Third-person limited. Omniscient. All have been used by writers for millennia. Using one over another can alter how readers perceive the events presented in your narrative.
It’s easy to get comfortable using one POV, so I thought we’d have fun and mix things up a bit today.
Let’s get started!
Write a short story that takes place in one location and involves three characters:
Character One doesn’t like Character Three and wants to leave. Character Two is trying to get Characters One and Three to resolve their differences, but also has to get somewhere in the next twenty minutes. Character Three believes they are turning into some mythical creature and needs Characters One and Two to be present as long as possible for the transformation to stick.
Using the above scenario, outline a short story between 1000 to 1500 words. You can place them anywhere; give them names and any additional characteristics you like. Make sure the story has a beginning, middle, and end.
Now the fun part…
Write one version from the first-person POV of Character Two. Why don’t they want to be there? What’s their issue with Character Three? How are they kept from leaving as soon as they arrive? Do they resolve their issues with Character Three with the help of Character Two? What happens if they don’t? Give us their side of things and how they view the circumstances they find themselves in.
Write this version from the third-person POV of Character Two. What led them to attempt a resolution between Characters One and Three? Are they hopeful their plan will work? What other ideas or tactics have they tried in the past? What is their relationship to the other two characters that has sparked this mediation? And where do they need to be in twenty minutes, and what happens if they don’t arrive on time? How can you show this urgency to the reader without telling them?
Write this version from the second-person POV of Character Three. Just like the classic Choose Your Own Adventure books, put the reader in the driver’s seat. Make the reader the person who believes they are turning into a mythical creature. What are they feeling? What do they believe must happen for the full transformation to occur? Why do they feel this way? What was their relationship with Character One, and what caused the fallout? What mythical creature do they believe they’re turning into?
It’s time to go Omniscient. Give us the perspectives of all three characters as they traverse this conflict to its resolution. Feel free to change things; there’s no need to stick with what you wrote in the previous versions.
Bonus Exercise #5
Once you’ve picked a location, choose an inanimate object in the space and write the story from that object’s POV. What does it see? What does it think is going on? What are its thoughts on the characters and their conversations?
Which POV did you enjoy writing in the most? The least? Was there a POV you feel you could become better in with practice? Experimenting with POV within the same scenario is a fun way to see how a story’s trajectory changes when a different character controls what the reader is witnessing.
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!