Saturday 23 November 2019

Nanowrimo Writers' Workshop #9

Points of View was the topic of the #Nanowrimo Writers' Workshop today.

"You can write your novel from any point of view." I said. "Protagonist, Antagonist, Supporting Character, 3rd person Narrator or a mix. And can choose to have these peole talk in 1st or 3rd person".

We came up with examples of each. 3rd person narrator is the most commonly used perspective. The kids' favorites fall into this category  - the Enid Blyton books.  We discussed how this POV gives the author distance from her characters.

"Name a book in which the supporting character acts as the narrator?" I queried. Pat came the response "Sherlock Holmes!"  We discussed how Watson is really the reader in the story - by asking questions and begging for explanations.

Geronimo, a hot favourite,  is written from the 1st person point of view of the protagonist. "An author can carry that off if the main character is really strong", I explained.

The kids were most curious about the 1st person narrative by a villain, and pestered me to tell them the name of books where this happens. I bluntly refused. "I'd be ruining the story for you if I told you.  One day when you read such a story, remember your Aneesa Aunty.!"

We then settled down to a read aloud - I selected "Lamb for the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl.

*Spoiler Alert* Do not read further, if you haven't read that short story.

The children were engrossed in the tale as it slowly unfolded, the murder happened and the alibi created.  The end had them gasping " That was a story from the villian's point of view!"

We had a lively debate about who was the villian.  And which character garnered the childrens' sympathy. Interestingly, most of the girls and the 6th grade boys sided with Patrick.

The dissenting opinion came from some of the 7th grade boys. " He had such a lovely wife! How could he plan to leave her?" "She was pregnant. His action cannot be condoned". "What about the unborn child? He'd never know his father who left him"

The kids cajoled me into reading one more story. We picked "Charles" by Shirley Jackson. The giggled at all the exploits of Charles in his classroom, in  obvious admiration for his derring do.

However they surprised me during the discussion which followed. "Who do you sympathise with in the story?" I asked . "The teacher" was the unanimous answer from the children, in sharp contrast to my colleagues and my sympathy for the child Charles himself!

#Nanowrimo- you rock! You've opened doors to absolutely fascinating English classes.

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