Lesson # 87: Exercises for POV

In Lesson #83, we talked about making an existing POV stronger. Here are some exercises for ya: 1) Imagine a city park with a gazebo, playground and lots of mature trees. Describe the park from the POV of a parent there playing frisbee with a kid. 2) Across the street from the park is a hospital. Write about that park from the POV of a patient who’s 4th floor room overlooks the park. The person is the same age as the parent, has been in the hospital for over a week for reconstructive knee surgery. 3) A huge, slobbery, toothy-grinned dog bounds up the road toward you as you are on a daily jog. Describe the experience from the POV of a all-out dog lover, then write about the same experience from someone who was violently attacked by a dog as a small child – there are permanent scars physical and emotional.

 

In Lesson #84, we talked about distinct POV. We discussed the movie, ENCHANTED, as an illustration. Your assignment will be to write a short scene from each of these character’s POVs. In the scene, I want to use the ‘cleaning of the apartment’ as the basis. But you must write one POV from Robert – where he walks in on it or sees it as it happens (what does he think and see? Mr. logical-based-in-reality-lawyer-dude has no idea what he’s gotten himself into with Giselle and let’s face it, he thinks she’s crazy for a good portion of the movie), now we also need a POV scene from Giselle (what does she see and think as it’s happening – i.e. she thinks it’s great that she’s got rats and roaches helping her clean and doesn’t understand why that would be a problem), Queen Narissa needs a POV too so let’s say she is watching the whole thing in her crystal ball or bubble or whatever (and since her go-to emotion is anger, play that up!), and then, of course, we need a POV from Prince Edward – so bring him on stage into that scene and show how he would see it/react to it (he’s clueless and thinks he’s got to be the hero of everything). (Again, if you haven’t seen the movie, go watch it, and THEN make yourself do this exercise. You’ve got to understand the characters to be able to write distinct POVs.) Have fun!

 

In Lesson #85, we talked about two men, one a soldier and one an artist, who had both been arrested for trespassing. The lesson gave you a “for the fun of it” option to imagine that the artist was trespassing on the soldier’s property. Write the scene where the artist is pleading his case directly to the soldier from each man’s POV. The dialogue and physical actions will remain identical, but the internal thoughts (and interpretations of physical actions) will change dramatically. As you write the second scene, you might find you need to change some dialogue because it no longer accurately reflects what one of your characters would say. That’s okay…in fact, that’s great because writing true to both characters is the entire point!

In Lesson #86, we talked about making a POV memorable. Specifically, we talked about the two primary characteristics of a memorable POV: being clear and being unique. At the end, we talked about the television show, NCIS. Have you ever seen NCIS? If so: identify the character archetypes of characters not mentioned in the post. (McGee, Ducky, Jimmy, Kate, Torres, Ziva, Quinn, Director Shepherd, Bishop, Mike Franks, Director Vance, etc.) If you haven’t seen NCIS, pick your favorite show/movie and see if you can pinpoint their main character archetype (there can be one… or several!) If you love Harry Potter, how would you “label” Hermione? Dumbledore? Malfoy? If Doctor Who is your thing, can you characterize the different doctors in different ways? What about Pride and Prejudice – do Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mary, Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennet, etc. adhere to certain character types? Now: what are YOUR characters’ archetypes? How does knowing/not knowing what their archetypes are build your POVs and/or make them clear/unclear?

 

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