Sunday, September 5, 2010

This Week's Practice Exercise~

The Other Side of the Story  

Prepared by: Florence Cardinal
Reposted  on: Sun, 5 Sept 2010

Exercise: In  400 words orless, rewrite a scene from a story familiar to most of  us from the point of view of someone other than the main  character. Tell us the name of the story you have chosen and who  your viewpoint character is, and then show us what is different about  the way that character sees the action and personalities involved.


Every  character in a story, from the main character right down to the dog, has a reason for being included, a reason for his or her actions, a  point of view. Yes, some characters are just part of the machinery  of the plot--the butler announcing the arrival of the Duke. But once that butler gets back to his pantry and starts gossiping with the housekeeper, he becomes part of the story, and we get a different perspective on what's going on in the house.  The way all of the characters interact, the way each one views the action, deepens and  enlivens the story. In the best stories, the characters, good and  bad, act for clear reasons, their interactions providing the  conflict and narrative tension that 
makes for a good read.

Some  examples:

-How might Rhett Butler or Melanie Wilkes see  Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind? 

-See Stephen King's Cujo, where we watch the thoughts of a dog as he goes mad. 

-What would the wolf have to say about Little Red Riding Hood?

-Some  writers have already rewritten a known work from another point of view.  Tom Stoppard, in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, showed us  Hamlet through the eyes of two minor characters. 


When  critiquing, consider whether we gain new insight into a familiar tale  (the characters, their motivations, thetwists of plot) by experiencing it through a different sensibility. Why does this supporting  character's point of view matter? Would this constitute a whole new telling of the story? 

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writing Workshop.

1 comment:

Ayesha Sadiq said...

You have done a marvelous job! I am really inspired with your work.

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