Monday, 28 December 2009

The Twelve Exercises of Christmas: 4

Anna and Ben have gone for supper at Clare and David's house. They are all old friends and the evening has been filled with talk and laughter, delicious food and quite a bit of wine. They are now at the coffee stage. Anna, Ben and Clare are discussing their summer holiday plans - maybe they'll take a cottage together - but David is quiet.
Suddenly David pushes his chair back and stands up. 'I'm sorry,' he says as the others stare at him. 'I can't do this any more. Anna and I - we're in love. We want to be together.'

Re-write this scene in your own words, and from Anna, Ben, Clare and David's point of view in turn.

Think about the difference changing the POV makes to each piece of writing. For example, David might sit through supper feeling guilty, or obsessively watching Anna. Ben might have guessed something is going on with Anna, but not known with whom.
Another thing to think about is the best place to start the scene. For example, if Clare suspects nothing, then there's not much subtext from her POV to play with if you start very early on. But once David reveals the situation, there's much more going on.
Finally, how would it change if you use 1st rather than 3rd person? Or had an omniscient narrator?

There isn't a right or wrong answer here, but the choice of POV changes the way the scene works. Are you making effective choices?

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