Something Useful for 2016 - Exercise No. 22

I'm taking part in the International Writing Programme's free online course at the moment - Storied Women. This week saw our first assignment, writing from the perspective of a child using the different ways discussed on the course to portray characterisation (speech patterns, movements, details, habits, drawing on life, etc.). This in itself is a writing exercise worth sharing but what I thought I'd discuss as this month's writing exercise is changing perspective.

I normally write from the third person perspective. It's my 'comfort' perspective and I find it easy to fall into. For my Storied Women assignment however, I chose to write in first person. I didn't make a conscious decision to do that. It just felt like the right thing to do. Here's an excerpt of what I wrote.

When Death Comes A-Knocking

     Grandma said that before the ghosts, children played outside, kicking around balls and climbing trees. Momma always told her to hush about that but I didn’t mind. It was interesting to think about outside.
     Josh and I talked in the cellar. There’s a vent that connects their house to ours. I asked Papa if we could dig through once but he said it was too dangerous. What if our walls fell down and the ghosts got in? I didn’t ask again.
     I had a mattress from my old cot to sit on because the floor in the cellar was cold brick. It smelt down there of damp and soil, and sometimes the beets that we stored there when we had some. I didn’t mind the smell but the cold got into my bones so much that my teeth shook and my tummy muscles hurt from trembling. Momma brought me hot water with a little sugar to warm me up and rubbed my feet.
     Josh was a chatterbox. That’s what Grandma called him. He talked and talked until he ran out of breath. That’s when I got to say something. He was funny though. He made me laugh so much that I forgot the cold. 

Write a story using a perspective (first person, third person, etc) that you wouldn't normally use. Maybe you vary between perspectives already. In that case, use a tense that doesn't come naturally (past, present). Step out of your comfort zone and see what happens.


  1. Isn't it funny how stories kind of let you know which POV you need to write in? Great job!

  2. Makes me want to read more, Fi. Well done. I'm still desperately trying to finish my assignment by this afternoon. Not used to homework yet. :)

    1. Thanks, Karen. I'm enjoying the course but initially found it hard to think up what to write. Looking forward to tomorrow's class.


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