This exercise is intended to help the writer develop a deeper understanding of two characters by exploring what is gained and/or lost through shifting point of view in a scene.
- Come up with a scene with at least two characters in it. (You can also use a scene from an existing story you’re working on.)
- Write the scene from the first person perspective of one of the characters.
- Rewrite the scene from the first-person perspective of a different character.
- Now rewrite the scene in a third person omniscient perspective that has access to both characters’ perspectives. Switch between the two throughout the scene.
In working on this exercise, you might ask yourself: What are the respective limitations of first person and third person omniscient perspectives? What are the affordances of these points of view? What does one character know or notice that another cannot? What can you accomplish by writing in third person that you can’t do in first, and vice versa? Does one perspective yield more productive results in this particular scene? Why? Are you more comfortable writing from one perspective than the other, or from the point of view of one character than the other? Why?