Calvin's noisy sleep adventures
Lesson One Exercise – Practicing Point of View Select one of the slice of life vignettes that you wrote for orientation last week and rewrite it in each of the following tenses: first person, third person limited, and third person omniscient. Keep all of your point of view vignettes and your answers to the questions below in one static item.
A SINGULAR FREQUENT CRASH INTO MY THOUGHTS!
My middle cat Calvin is a huge Maine Coon look-alike who doesn’t believe that he has grown up; he is six years old but thinks he can still fit in small cozy spaces like any good kitten can! His favorite current nap zone is on top of our window air-conditioner, but he has been too big for that small narrow space for about 5 years. He can actually barely fit on the space cuddled up against the cold glass of the window, but immediately gets into trouble when he falls asleep and subsequently loses his balance while chasing an illusory fake mouse! He makes an atrocious noise. No amount of coaxing or showing other, more comfortable beds persuades him to relocate his naps to a safer and quieter place!
REWRITE: first person –Jenny’s view
A SINGULAR FREQUENT CRASH INTO MY THOUGHTS AND SLEEP
I watch with absolute horror as my poor six-year-old cat falls asleep on top of the air conditioner unit and once again has a dream and falls off onto the floor with a frightening crash! I fancy that he is dreaming of catching a mouse or little running bug as he careens to his destination on the floor. He won’t sleep on the bed with the rest of us, preferring the feel of the cold window glass against his thick fur…until he falls off with a mighty crash!
REWRITE: third person limited
Enormous Calvin tries to sleep in the window on the AC unit but falls off every 15 minutes with a loud crash. This is hard on his sleep and on my nerves! He was never a small kitten, but never realized that and so believes that he can still fit into kitten-sized spaces like the 3” strip at the top of the machine. I can’t figure out how to change his behavior and have him sleep with the rest of us in the bed.
REWRITE: first person –Calvin’s account
Something is refusing to let me sleep in peace on top of my air conditioner at my window! I try and try and keep getting kicked off while I am innocently dozing. But I will NEVER GIVE UP!
REWRITE: third person omniscient
That Brave Big Cat Calvin just can’t seem to stay put on the AC unit when he tries to sleep so patiently. He is so confused about why he can’t seem to stay still on the machine. He goes back over and over again to get a better perch, but no amount of readjustment will permit his furry body to stay put for more than a minute or two before he goes crashing to the floor!
After you've written them all sit back and take a look at them. In a few sentences each answer all of the following questions.
♥ What are the differences in the pieces?
All pieces focus on what happens, but none of the pieces actually identifies WHY it happens—it happens because he is too big to squirm and sleep at the same time!
♥ How did they change when the point of view changed?
The more removed the narrator was from the incident, the more generic and detached the story became. When I told the story or Calvin tried to tell it, there was some emotion present.
♥ Did the narrative voice change when the point of view changed?
As the narrator became less involved, the voice changed to a mere description rather than direct involvement in the tale.
♥ Which one do you like best? Why?
I like either mine, first person, or Calvin’s-first person. It had the most potential to involve the actor in the telling and experiencing of the situation, and made it seem more real.