Get Cracking: Using Shows Effectively with POV (Exercise #2)

 

The Exercise

For this next assignment, we want to stay with the essential territory of shows, but look at how showing integrates with the point of view of our narrating character.

Choose a setting or object and show it from the perspective of three characters so that it portrays or provokes a different mood or emotion from each. Think about how the way a character views his environment can reveal his emotional state. Also consider how the word choice and imagery used can show us things about the character.

You are welcome to search online and find an image that you use to help ground you in details. Feel free to use any setting, object, or character from one of your existing works.

Try to write at least 50-100 words for each, although you are also welcome to expand them into microfiction or vignettes as it suits you. Or even larger into a scene you can use in your story or novel.

For an example, consider a ratty old arm chair. It might be the favorite chair of an older woman’s deceased husband and the wear and tear hold treasured memories. A college student might drag it home from the curb side overjoyed to have a free piece of furniture in his first apartment. For a third character it might be the despised reminder of his lost job and how he can’t afford to buy the new living room furniture he promised his wife. This just gives you an idea of what might be indicated by one object. But that’s the easy part. The hard part is getting into each one’s head and showing it so the reader feels it without being told.

When you share your writing with your peer review group, don’t provide notes about the character or the emotion or mood you wanted to provoke. Their part of the assignment–as well as helping improve the writing and pointing out tells–is to tell you what they conclude about the character and what emotions they sense from your writing. Then you can see how effective it was.

About the Series

If we want to grow as writers, we need to practice our craft, push our boundaries, and hone our abilities to control the mechanics of the written word. Mastering the rules is essential before you start breaking them. How else can we know what rule to break and when or, more importantly, why?

Here at INKubator, we recognize the value of a kick in the rear end to help push ourselves to grow and improve. For this reason, we invite you to join us in an ongoing series of exercises, readings, and writing prompts that, combined with thorough peer review of the results, should help all of us hammer our way into new levels of our craft.

In the series “Get Cracking: Hammer Away at Your Writing Skills,” some exercises will result in full stories or poems and some focus only on the mechanics. Where possible, we recommend applying the exercise to a project you are currently working on, if not creating an independent finished piece, so you can feel you are growing your portfolio as well as your skills.

To get the best results, we recommend joining our Discord server and participating in #inkubator. We’ll be having more discussion and possibly some small in-between challenges and assignments that don’t make it to our blog. You can post your writings in response to the exercises in #ink-review to ask for help looking it over.

We operate as a peer review system, so we do expect everyone to give feedback on at least two other writers for every exercise you participate in. The reason for this is that learning to edit is an essential part of writing. It is often easier to learn to find the weaknesses in our own writing after we’ve seen the impacts they have in the writing of others. By giving feedback to others, you are building your own writing skills.

Anyone can join any of the exercises at any time and skip those you want to skip. We’re happy to work with you even if the majority of the group has moved on to a different exercise. You’re also welcome to work at your own pace. We will be offering recommended deadlines within our server group for those who work best with a deadline. But we aren’t going to kick anyone out or think less of them for being behind–let us know, however, if you need that extra shove to stick to a deadline for your own growth. We recognize that each member has their own journey to follow, but will work together to support each other as we progress.

You’re also welcome to work on our exercises on your own or share them with your writing group without joining our Discord server.

The results of any exercise is your own to do with as you wish. We don’t recommend publishing anything that isn’t a complete stand-alone piece to a public forum, like your blog, but the choice is yours. As for those complete stand-alone pieces, we wish you the best of luck finding a suitable publishing venue.

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