Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Writing Exercise: Point of View

James, age 22, has just had a car accident on his way home from work. No one was injured, but his mother's car was totalled. He arrives home to tell his mother what happened.


First Person:

Oh crap. Oh jolly holy crap. My eyes felt like they were burning in their sockets. The doctor who checked me up after the accident proclaimed I was fine, which means the feverish sensation I’m feeling right now is just all in my imagination. I might just be a trifle terrified about what I’m about to do. You can’t blame me anyhow. How does anyone tell their mother you just wrecked her Honda? I’m standing on her front porch and I can’t even ring the godforsaken doorbell.

“James?” Ma called out from the side path. So she was out back and saw me come in. “What are you doing here so early?”

“Uh… Ma. I have a little news for you.” I sgueezed my hands - open and close. “You see… there was an accident.”

“Accident?” her eyes were quizzical. Then I saw when she realized what I must mean. “Are you hurt?”

I was taken aback. That wasn’t a question I thought of. “Me? No, Ma. Doctor says fine. But your Honda… didn’t survive.”

She shook her head and threw down the towel she was holding. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, it was totally wrecked…”

“I don’t mean the car, James. You can’t possibly think I care more about that lemon than I care about my son. Are you sure you’re fine? The doctor says you can walk around like this?”

“Yes.” Relief flooded out of me in gales. It was fine. It was fine.

“Alright.” She slowly nodded. “Come in though, and sit down. I’m afraid you’ll just faint and hit your head or something awful.” She hurried me in and closed the front door. She plucked at my collar, checked for bruises, and all in all did that Mother Tigress thing with her cubs. When she was satisfied, she gave a brief sound of satisfaction and then she raised an eyebrow.

“Now, when you said wrecked, how wrecked is totally wrecked?”

Oh jolly holy crap.


Third Person: Omniscient

James stood at his Ma’s front porch sweating profusely even though it was already the middle of October and the cooler winds of autumn blows through Vermont. The doctor who checked him after the accident said he was one lucky chap and he was good to go. It isn’t shock then or a concussion doing this to him. He just had no idea how to tell his Ma he totalled her car. He stood there, staring at the doorbell, trying to think of reasons why he’d rather not be there at the moment.

“James?” His Ma called out from the side of their house, the path leading to the back of the house. She had been storing some tools in the shed and was just cleaning up when she heard James come in. “What are you doing here so early?”

James took a gulp of air before speaking. “Uh… Ma. I have a little news for you.” His hands were shaking a little, opening and closing his palms as if he was trying to squeeze something out of them. “You see there was an accident.”

His Mom raised a quizzical eyebrow. “Accident?” Her eyes surveyed James clothes, his face, his feet. “Are you hurt?”

James’ eyes widened, not comprehending the question. “Me? No, Ma. Doctor says I’m fine. But your Honda… did not survive.”

She threw down her towel and shook hr head. She advanced upon James making the boy wince a little. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, it was totally wrecked…”

“Oh, I don’t mean the car. I meant you! You can’t possible think I care more about that lemon than my own son!” Her hands were trembling as she opened the front door. “Are you sure? Can you walk around like this?”

“Yes.” His eyes watered with relief.

“Alright.” She slowly nodded. “Come in though, and sit down. I’m afraid you’ll just faint and hit your head or something awful.” She hurried him in and closed the front door. She plucked at his collar, checked for bruises, and just stopped short of licking James like her little tiger cub. When she was satisfied, she gave a brief sound of satisfaction and raised an eyebrow.

“Now, when you said wrecked, how wrecked is totally wrecked?” her voice had sudden steel in it.

James knees buckled from underneath. He never knew what hit him.

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