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Writing from multiple points of view

This entry is part 42 of 43 in the series Friday Sprints

A point of view creative writing exercise

This week’s visual prompt is a great photograph to help you exercise that storyteller’s mind. Every scene has the potential for multiple stories and differing points of view. The trick in writing a multiple viewpoint hinges on discovering whose viewpoint is most appropriate for the story you are telling.

The photograph below provides a number of potential viewpoints and, therefore, multiple storylines. This quick exercise will strengthen your writing muscle and help you experiment with various POVs.

Gather a few tools and get ready

Multi-tasking? Click to try this multiple timer for your sprint writing exercises.

Multiple timer for multiple POVs

Kitchen timers are great tools for sprint writing exercises. The one featured this week is a quad allowing you four tracks. Perfect timer for multiple exercises.

You’ll also want a notebook, a pen or pencil, or a tablet or computer. Set the timer. (If I don’t have a kitchen timer handy, I’ll use the oven timer.) Using your iPad or smartphone? Download a timer app.

Start writing 

Once you start writing, don’t stop. Look at the photograph.

  • How many viewpoints can you find in this scene?
  • How many various storylines?
  • How different would this scene read if it was told through the various points of view?

Choose one of the characters as a viewpoint character and write for 5 minutes from that POV. Don’t forget about the other people in the photograph, and add sensory details.

Don’t stop to reread, edit, or question. Head for the middle and capture an end. (Scroll down for the after-writing process.)

Paris, pianist play in the street

 

Finished? Read what you’ve written. Don’t change anything. Then read the questions below and spend the next 5 minutes exercise writing about the sprint you just did.

Read and reflect

  1. Who was your main viewpoint character and why did you choose him or her?
  2. Did you bring any of the other people in the photograph into the action?
  3. How did sound play into your scene? Did you write about the music? Did your characters talk?
  4. Were you able to get into your POV’s emotions and get them onto the page?
  5. Does the scene have a beginning, middle, and an end?
  6. Was this an easy or or difficult exercise?

BONUS: Alternate way of doing the POV exercise

Instead of doing just one POV, do several before you move to the Read and Reflect section. You can do this quickly by limiting your writing time to 5 minutes each. Add the following questions to your reflection:

  • Were you able to shift easily to the next person’s point of view and write?
  • Did you write the same scene from various points of view or did each person have their own story?
  • Did you enjoy shifting point of view?

That’s it. You can stop now or expand what you’re written. Share your thoughts below, and if you’re still in the writing mode check out the other sprint exercises.

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