Wednesday, September 28th

Session 4: Telling the Story from the Narrator’s Point of View


Share your recent entry with a new classmate.

What makes you a unique writer? What is your style? Think about this after you share your writing with your partner.

I appreciate you being such dedicated writers and taking risks each time you put your pencil to the paper.

Many of you might have started to realize that there is a payoff in searching from those moments that have strong emotion, struggle, or times of realization. They make the BEST personal narratives!

Teaching Point:

Writers are careful about telling details of the story EXACTLY the way the narrator perceived them at the moment.



Point of View…

It is the way the narrator tells the story through his or her eyes and other senses.

Details in the scene need to be the ones that the narrator notices-or they do not belong there. Here is the same story told from two different small moments from 2 different narrators. Whose point of view is portrayed in the following stories?
screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-02-05-pm                          screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-01-04-pm

Follow along as I read these short passages.

What about this short passage does not represent ONLY the narrator’s point of view?

I was still at the changing table, my sister squirming beneath me, when my dad put the box on the kitchen table and then, peeling off a long strip of tape and pulling back one of the flaps, looked in on a jumble of family photos, with little photo albums scattered throughout.  The photos showed me and my sister when we were little-they were the ones he’d lost.

It helps the readers if the narrator tells the story exactly the same way he or she experienced it.  

What about this short passage shows it is only from the narrator’s point of view?

I was at the changing table, my sister squirming beneath me, when my Dad came into the kitchen and dropped a heavy carton on the kitchen table.  I heard him rustling about, and then I heard him mutter, “Unbelievable, just unbelievable.” He looked up from across the room and called, “Remember all those lost photos from our farm? They’re all here!”

Do you see the major adjustment the writer made in the second version?

Only the father could reveal the contents of the box!

Active Engagement:

Let’s practice noticing when a writer slips out of his or her perspective by mistake.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-10-00-pm If the writer has a consistent point of view, give a thumbs up.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-10-08-pm If the writer does not maintain a consistent point of view, give a thumbs down.

Example #1:
I made my way slowly toward the front of the line, as one by one, kids in soggy bathing suits sat at the edge of the water slide before disappearing suddenly down the chute.  I was next in line and the thumping in my heart was almost audible.  “I can do this,” I thought to myself.  I took one step forward…
Did the writer maintain his/her point of view? Thumbs or up thumbs down…How do you know?
Soon I was at the edge of the slide. I leaned forward just enough to peer down below at the small, blue rectangle of a pool dotted with the heads of swimmers below.  I shut my eyes quickly, dizzied from the height.
Did the writer continue maintain his/her point of view? Thumbs up or thumbs down…How do you know?

I carefully sat down, feeling the cold rush of water beneath me.  My hands gripped the edges of the slide.  “Ready?” the attendant asked.  “I think so, ” I replied, still unsure.My cousin waited at the bottom wondering what was taking me so long.

Did the writer continue maintain his/her point of view? Thumbs up or thumbs down…How do you know?

Add to your How To Write Powerful Personal Narratives chart:

  • Think of a person, place, or moment in your life that matters!
  • Climb inside the moment and write within the narrator’s point of view
Use an idea from the Strategies of Generating Ideas for Personal Narrative Topics. You have 15-20 minutes to write… fast and furious!
Remember the important points:
  • It should be a small moment.
  • Maintain YOUR point of view the entire time.
  • Include tiny details… what are YOU saying or YOU doing?
This is Kei’s writing. He noticed some details did not ring true. He was rereading the narrative he wrote about when his dog, Jamp, swallowed a sewing needle.  He wasn’t just re-reading his writing. He was SELF-ASSESSING, asking himself…

Are these all details I really would have noticed right then, in that moment?

Read along with me and see if the details make sense.

Turn and talk… what do you think?
Point out what Kei could not have known. Kei tried to remember where he was, where Jamp was ,and what happened step by step. Then, he wrote that scene again.  Take a look.
  • Go back and revise your recent entry using a different color
  • Choose an example of a sensory detail (see, hear, smell, touch, taste) and show the effort to make one revision OR add a new sensory detail!
  • Use this Editing Questions Checklist to help after revising for point of view
  • This will be checked on Thursday and must be completed to participate in PAT!

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