Point of View – Warm up and Exercise by Penny Gunter

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This is a quick warm up and a good way to experiment with points of view. If you’ve a work-in-progress it can add depth to secondary characters and even kick-start the writing process for a tricky scene. Keep a timer handy, set to two minutes then fifteen, and write whatever comes into your head.

WARM UP (10 minutes)

  • Choose an object in the room or something out of the window and spend two minutes writing a description of it.
  • Imagine the object is of great significance to someone, describe it from their point of view.
  • Imagine you’re a twelve year old and the object has been presented to you as a birthday gift … spend two minutes describing it.
  • Imagine you’re an animal: cat, dog, mouse, squirrel, bird or anything else which takes your fancy. Take a further two minutes to describe the object.

EXTENSION (5 minutes)

  • Take two minutes to describe the object in the voice of the main character from your work-in-progress.
  • Choose a secondary character from your work-in-progress. Spend another two minutes describing the object.

Spend some time reading back through your descriptions. Is each voice distinct? Where are they similar? Can you see any patterns or ways in which your characters’ voices overlap with yours?

EXERCISE (15 minutes)

Choose a scene from your work-in-progress, with two or more characters, that you’ve already written or are struggling to begin.

Spend fifteen minutes re-writing part of it in the first person voice of another character or in third person.

Consider the scene from this new perspective. How does this new voice differ from the original? Has it given you any insights into your characters’ motivations or the dynamics within the scene? Have you learnt anything about the secondary character which surprised you?

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