Writing Prompt #12 Two Points of View

Beauty–and ugliness–are in the eye of the beholder. A food that makes one person’s mouth water, makes another person gag. The music I love, my husband hates.

Writing prompt

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find rock formations like these to be absolutely gorgeous, and they fill me with wonder. Other people just see lumpy rocks.

But it goes deeper than that. Something that brings up beautiful, selfless, or joyful emotions in one person can bring out cowardly, dark, disgusting emotions in another. The child walking alone down a deserted road that one person wants to protect, another wants to victimize. It’s all in your point of view.

Today’s Prompt: Choose something–it can be an item, a situation, anything–and show it from the point of view of two people who see it in two opposite ways. If you want a real challenge, choose a seemingly neutral item/situation and show us why each of your POV characters reacts so differently to it.

Post what you come up with here in the comments, or leave a link to your blog/website/google doc instead. Be sure to include a picture if an object inspired you.

(Need a little help on point of view, deep POV, and showing vs. telling before you start?)

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5 comments on “Writing Prompt #12 Two Points of View

  1. New. Sharp. Inexpensive. And out of reach.

    I signed and shook my head. I had no choice but to walk away.

    “Did I see you coveting just then?” His voice was barely above a whisper, but it dripped with hatred.

    I shook my head. And though I was trembling, I couldn’t help but mutter, “It’s just a pencil?”

    I’d never seen his head snap around so quickly. He didn’t say a word, but I could see him clenching and unclenching his fists. My jaw ached in anticipation of what was coming after we got home.

    The whole time, the clerk kept ringing through Jed’s order, her head down. Did she notice what was going on? Did she care? Or was she as afraid as I was?

    “So, Miss D’uh Vinci. Show me this pencil that caused your heart to sin.”

    Again, I shook my head. This time more forcefully.

    “No, I insist.”

    Jed took my hand. To anyone looking on, it would look like a friendly gesture by a loving father or uncle. I had learned before that day never to wince – even when it felt like my bones were splintering. After all, that had only happened once.

    “Here we are. Now show me!” There was a smile plastered on his face, but his teeth were clenched, and the venom still dripped with every syllable.

    I raised the hand that wasn’t throbbing and pointed to the sketching pencil that had caused the grief – this time.

    Jed took the pencil from its resting place and headed for the cashier. He even loosened his grip on my hand, and the lines on his forehead all but disappeared. I felt faint when he actually turned around, went back to the display, and actually picked up a sketchbook.

    He spoke kindly to me the entire way home. I was careful not to do our say anything that would upset him. I even resisted the temptation to look over my shoulder at the package lying on the backseat of Jed’s rusty old Pinto.

    To be continued when I plug in my laptop…

  2. New. Sharp. Inexpensive. And out of reach.

    I sighed and shook my head. I had no choice but to walk away.

    “Did I see you coveting just then?” His voice was barely above a whisper, but it dripped with hatred.

    I shook my head. And though I was trembling, I couldn’t help but mutter, “It’s just a pencil?”

    I’d never seen his head snap around so quickly. He didn’t say a word, but I could see him clenching and unclenching his fists. My jaw ached in anticipation of what was coming after we got home.

    The whole time, the cashier kept ringing through Jed’s order, her head down. Did she notice what was going on? Did she care? Or was she as afraid as I was?

    “So, Miss D’uh Vinci. Show me this pencil that caused your heart to sin.”

    Again, I shook my head. This time more forcefully.

    “No, I insist.”

    Jed took my hand. To anyone looking on, it would look like a friendly gesture by a loving father or uncle. I had learned long before that day not to wince – even when it felt like my bones were splintering. After all, that had only happened once.

    “Here we are. Now show me!” There was a smile plastered on his face, but his teeth were clenched, and the venom dripped with every syllable.

    I raised the hand that wasn’t throbbing and pointed to the sketching pencil that had caused my grief – this time.

    Jed took the pencil from its resting place and headed for the cashier. He even loosened his grip on my hand, and the lines on his forehead all but disappeared. I felt faint when he actually turned around, went back to the display, and picked up a sketchbook.

    He spoke kindly to me the entire way home. I was careful not to do or say anything that might upset him. I even resisted the temptation to look over my shoulder at the package lying on the backseat of Jed’s rusty old Pinto.

    We drove down the half-mile gravel driveway to the three-room cabin covered in vines snaking their way up the rotting board walls.

    “It’s OK, you can get out. Don’t forget to grab your package. I’m sure you want to get busy right away.”

    Each morning for the next week, I made Jed breakfast and then he insisted I spend time drawing. By the fourth day, I didn’t hesitate for a second.

    “Maybe he really is changing,” I told the chipmunk before he scooted down his hole next to where I sat sketching the big pine tree right outside the cabin.

    After breakfast on Saturday, I held out my sketchbook to Jed.

    “Done already?” he asked as he wiped the egg from his lips.

    I nodded my head but didn’t look up.

    “Speak up, girl.”

    “Yes, sir, I finished the last picture before bed.”

    “And the pencil?”

    “It’s almost gone.”

    “Go get it for me.”

    “Yes, sir.” I ran to my cot in the corner and brought the stub back to the table.

    “Just leave it here. Go get some wood and start a fire. It’s a little cold in here this morning.”

    In ten minutes I had a fire blazing in the Franklin stove.

    Jed was flipping through the sketchbook when I got back to the table.

    “These are really good,” he said. He was smiling and nodding. “I have a favor to ask.”

    I smiled. “Yes, sir?”

    The evil washed over his face. His eyes narrowed. The wrinkles returned. Jed’s mouth narrowed into a sneer. And the familiar venomous quality returned to his voice.

    “Now take your artwork and feed it to the fire.”

    “But…” His look served as warning not to continue.

    I went to throw the book into the flames, but he stopped me. “Oh, no…it’s not going to be that easy…one page at a time.”

    As each drawing curled and vanished, my determination grew. One day I’ll get away from here. I’ll go someplace Jed can’t find me. And I’ll draw every day as long as I live.

    • Stephanie, your story grabbed me from the beginning with words that latch on to the heart and soul of every writer and artist. There is nothing like the beauty of a freshly sharpened pencil, the smell of the shavings, the lead. The characters stand out and the lines are immediately drawn. My desire to know more is definitely piqued. Well done.

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