A writing exercise: point of view

by cheri block

One of my favorite writing assignments is to ask my students to write from the point of view of an animal. This exercise takes the writer away from self (to a degree) and into another sentient being. Vantage point changes. Emotional response to outside stimuli might change. Reason may or may not leave the equation, depending on the writer’s decisions about how to cast the animal’s “thoughts.”

Last year, I snapped this photo  while riding in a taxicab in Paris.

Let’s pretend you are my student. Will you write from this Golden Retriever’s point of view?

This exercise is ungraded. Don’t worry.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Writing and Teaching. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to A writing exercise: point of view

  1. “OK, you were right, beloved stone-faced master. This wasn’t such a good idea. Let me off at the next metro.”

    “Stay right where you are … there’s a woman over there taking our picture. We might go viral …”

  2. Look at that woman wearing a funny hat in the taxi cab. Well of course you can not comment so much considering the shell you have on your own head ô my beloved master.
    I guess I would be much more comfortable if you were in that taxi, sir. Have you ever thought how unnatural a posture you force me to have. Granted I’m snug against your body but my hind legs are killing me. Why, I can’t even wag my tail to show pleasure or, in this case, displeasure. On top of that you are risking my limbs and life riding this contraption.
    Where is the Humane Society when you need it?

  3. sledpress says:

    I would write from the POV of any animal but a dog.

    I hate dogs.

  4. Rover says:

    This scooter is so exciting compared with your car. It’s so boring in your silly car because you always have the air-conditioning on and you won’t open the windows so I can put my head out and bark at people and other doggies.

    On this scooter it feels so nice with the wind ruffling my fur and feeling the sun. It’s not that comfy on the scooter, though. So, on second thoughts, maybe we can go in your car next time?

  5. As the saying goes, excuse my French, but:

    J’ai l’impression d’être un chat stupide m’assoyant dans vos genoux. Pourriez-vous au moins perdre le casque donc vous semblez un peu plus virils ?

  6. wkkortas says:

    SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL…excuse me sir, are you food or simply a potential meal?

  7. Geraldine says:

    Black is the colour of my true love’s hair
    His lips are like some roses fair
    He has the sweetest smile and the gentlest hands
    I love the ground whereon he stands.

    • Cheri says:

      My, Geraldine!
      Now I have two poets responding to this silly little exercise (but fun!)
      Thank you for this lovely ditty.
      That dog does indeed worship his master. Look at his eyes.

      May I use your delightful poem?

      Gold is the color of his true love’s hair
      Her lips are like some licorice lair
      She has a loyal smile and insistent paws
      I love the scooter on which he draws…

      • Geraldine says:

        The loving, trusting bond between the dog and master is captured beautifully in this photo. I chose the lines above to match the feeling I see. The little verse is from an old anonymous song named: “Black is the Colour.”

        I like your verse. Clearly we are dog owners.

  8. Cyberquill says:

    This picture looks like an Obama campaign ad (“CHANGE”).

  9. ana terán says:

    Can’t you see I’m not the least interested in thinking?

    • Cheri says:

      That’s right. I forgot. I’m a dog.

      What do you think of writing a book from a horse’s point of view?
      Did you read Paul Austen’s Timbuktu?

      • ana terán says:

        That’d be thrilling… I’m more of a horse than a dog.
        Yes, I read Auster, did you read Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog?

  10. Cheri says:

    No, I have not read that book. Should I?

    I may (finally) have my book idea. I’ve toyed with many ideas throughout the years on this blog (so I am sure not a soul will believe me…)

    Trying to decide whether or not to have the horse tell the story. It’s set in 1077 in England/Normandy and relates to my research as of late. How I will work this in with my current responsibilities (especially with my mother), I am not sure. Maybe just having the idea will be enough to keep me going.

    I must admit, Ana, that watching my mother’s memory (post stroke) deteriorate, along with trying to find the best care, has bummed me out a bit. 😦

    I, too, am more of a horse than a dog, so I had better trot on out of here.

    • Marcel Aymé, a French writer, has writen a slightly erotic book called “La jument verte” that was also made into a film. It is a painting of a filly. The artist lacked a componet to paint the green yeyes so he took his sperm to prepare the colour. That gave the painted horse the magical power to see what was going on where the painting hung…and to tell about it.
      Be wary of horses paintings.

      • Cheri says:

        Mixing sperm with paint…hmmmm. I’m sure the horse had many many magical powers…. 🙂

      • ana terán says:

        Be ware of a savage filly. Paul is right.
        They would do anything to get what their instinct asks for…
        Are you in this bunch, Cheri? I bet you are.

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