Storyarts six week on-line writing workshop.  Page 7

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Week Three

 Warmup exercises

      Before beginning any full length exercise I will always give you a warm-up sequence.  You should feel free to attempt these warm-ups in your journal for your own pleasure.

         Respond in writing to the following prompts.  Do not let your responses get too long, but do not settle for mere "answers" either.  For  the moment set aside what you have just read about The Third Person Interior.  Use the first person, present tense.

    Prompt one.  An object touched in the dark..

    How to do it.    Choose a specific object and the time and place where it is touched.  Write in the first person, present tense.

    Prompt two. An person encountered by accident..

    How to do it.  Choose a specific time and place to encounter your person.  Write in the first person, present tense.

      Prompt three.   A sound heard late at night.

    How to do it.  Choose a specific time and place to "hear" your sound.  Write in the first person, present tense.

        What to avoid.  As always, avoid bad choices of material.  Don't try to be funny.  You may be funny, but don't try. Take the exercise seriously and don't change it into something else.

    Do not,  under any circumstances, write in such a way that your reader must guess what you are talking about.

    I sincerely hope lesson two taught you how to do this.  You should probably have a paragraph that runs as follows:

    I'm driving down a country road when boom, the tire blows out.  I struggle with the wheel, settle into a ditch, and get out to survey the mess.  (and so on.)

    Now we will take a shot at transposing the above into the third person, past tense.  Example:

    He was driving down a country road when boom, a tire blew out.  He struggled with the wheel, settled into a ditch, and got out to survey the mess.

See how it works?  "I" becomes "He,"  "is" becomes "was" and suddenly we are writing in the third- person-interior. 

The suggestion is that you take one of your warmup exercises and do exactly what I did above-- transpose a passage into the third person, past tense.  Transpose the entire exercise, of course, not just the first sentence.  Probably you will want to make other changes while you are at it.  This is okay.  You do not have to transpose all three exercise, but I think you would find it useful if you did.   When you are finished, compare your first person exercises with your third person exercises.  The question is not whether one is better or worse.  Rather, your question should be, what has changed?   How does point-of-view influence the storyline?  You may send the results to me.

Concluding exercise: 

Now, using the third person interior point of view, now let's try a complete piece.    An Encounter With A Stranger.  Yes, you may use a true event.  Just be sure you write in the third person interior.

A few tips.

Don't rush things.  Look for significant detail.  "See" the place where your narrative is set.  Tell us what we need to know.  Don't get cute or play games!   Keep your narrative clean and forward moving.  We are not looking for a tricky "plot" here,  just a well written event in the third person point-of-vew.

Send the results to me and I'll tell you how you are doing.


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