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Exploring different third person points of view

Write part of a story in the form of a scene from a play, beginning with a description of the setting and then using dialogue and stage directions to show what happens and how the characters feel about it. Make sure you have at least three characters and bring them on to the stage from different directions. They need not all stay for the whole scene.

Choose one of the characters and re-write the scene as part of a book, writing in the third person, from the point of view of one of the characters. Try to identify with that character as strongly as possible. Obviously, he or she will be looking at the scene from a particular position and will notice some things more than others. Try to capture that ‘camera angle’, as well as communicating the character’s feelings. What happens in the scene should stay the same, but feel free to cut any dialogue that seems superfluous.

Now rewrite the play scene again, still in the third person, but this time from the viewpoint of a different character, in a different position. Once again, identify as strongly as you can and try to capture that character’s feelings and viewpoint while keeping the action moving. Cut superfluous dialogue and notice whether it’s the same dialogue as you cut in the first rewrite or whether different things now seem unnecessary.

Were the two rewrites very different from each other?

Did they help you to understand more about the characters?

If you were to rewrite the scene from the play, would you make any changes now?

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Writing by not writing: subtext in dialogue

The awkward silences. The times we talk too much while avoiding eye contact. Saying the opposite of what…

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