WRITE YOUR LIFE – Session #3

Write Your History. Investigate the past and present and hand on a family history.

Exerise #1

List the people in your photograph. Make a list of the differences in the way they remembered what was happening when the photo was taken. (Your homework was to ask them their interpretation of the story.)

Choosing your POV

Point of view refers to the writer’s relationship to the subject of the composition. Here is a breakdown of the different POVs.

Omniscient Point of View

If you were writing an expository piece (an essay for University) you would use the omniscient point of view (you are standing outside the subject looking in)  You would use pronouns like (one would think, they might believe).

Informal POV

If you are writing narrative/an opinion editorial/a short story you might choose 1st person singular.  The pronoun I represents your POV.  This is the type of writing you do most, when you are explaining your beliefs, experiences etc.  to the reader. I saw my dad hugging my mom and [I is implied here] noticed that the monitor went berserk.  You could also create a character and then tell the story from her POV.  “I was born on the Isle of Skye in the year 1910.” Third person singular, he or she is also used informally.

Intimate POV

I am using second person singular point of view in The Chronic Ripple.  I address the reader as  “you”.  This could be applied in the singular so that a man or woman with Crohns would read “You might be in pain 80% of the time” and interpret it to apply specifically to her or him.  This is like the ‘tu’ in French and forms an intimate connection between the writer and the reader.

Impersonal POV

If I wrote in second person plural I would say “You form a great body of unidentified  people with invisible disease.”  Now I am lumping all the readers with Crohns  together.

Objective POV

If writing a newspaper article based on fact and interview you would use third person plural because you are speaking for others while remaining totally objective.  “The people who march on the legislature say they are angry. They believe the government is ignoring their needs.

Objective POV

You might, if writing a narrative choose 1st person plural – because you want to speak for a group of people.  Therefore you would use the pronoun “we”. We feel that the environment is in danger and the threat comes from all of us. You can’t use this POV when writing a story because the reader can only be in one character’s POV not know the all the feelings of a whole group of people at the same time.

Subjective POV

When quoting one particular person you switch to third person singular “He said his cattle are dying from lack of food and there is not market in which to sell them.”  “Aunt Beth says she lives a full life.  At 97 she still milks her own cows and plays organ at the church.”

Exercise #2          

Write a short version of the story in your photograph based on each of the following POVs:

  1. write from – 1st person singular (I) (e.g. you)
  2. alternate between two POV – I and he, (e.g. your mother and father)
  3. omniscient looking in knows what everyone thought (God like narrative)

Character Profile

Individual character

Name, age, birthdate, height, weight, hair, eyes, body type, health, related habits, personality, personal goals, professional goals, marital status, friends, relationships (past and present).

finances, responsibilities, hobbies,

fears, yearnings, sense of humor, flaws/weaknesses, strengths, surroundings

habits/quirks, favourite food, favourite colour, favourite music

Family History

Parent’s names

Ethnic origin

General physical characteristics

Attitude to protagonist


Economic Status


Marital Status



You should know 100% about your character before you begin writing. However, you will probably include only 20% of the information in your story. The 80% you don’t use, provides a sense of credibility and trust for the reader.

Prioritize what part of this information the reader should know.

Fill in pages that include all the above information and other bits.

To the portfolio for this character add:

  1. details from people you know
  2. How you will inform the reader
  3. Ideas for scenes in which you can show this information
  4. Photos that remind you of person, setting, events
  5. Props that remind you of a scene or action

Exercise #3

Write your photo story in the POV you’ve chosen, fleshing out the details from your character profiles.

Exercise #4

Write your photo story in the POV you’ve chosen, fleshing out the details from your character profiles.


Complete your Sign Posts with all the places you lived mapped on it. Bring a picture of one of the places you’ve lived.


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