POV Exercise – The Late Student, Part 1

POV Flowchart

The commonly used points-of-view for fiction writing. Image from Wikispaces.



You can see other writing exercises here.

The Late Student, Part 1

Time for a little exercise I like to give my students as homework. It’s a really easy one, and lends itself well to showing off your writing style. I use the following prompt to set it up:

A student walks into the classroom late. The student walks down the aisle and sits in an empty seat. The professor stops the lecture for a moment to watch the student. The professor tries to continue the lecture, but he forgets what he was talking about and looks a bit frustrated and annoyed.


Same story, different points of view

So this is where POV comes in – we’re going to write this scene from different viewpoints in 300 words or less. Let’s start with first person – choose either the student or the professor and write the scene from his or her point of view.

When I teach this, I choose the student’s POV and start like this:

I jumped out of the bus and ran up the hill. Not again, God he’s going to flunk me! I weave through clusters of students, brushing past elbows and handbags as I come to the door of the building. I run up the stairs, and I come to the classroom. I look in. Dr. Spencer’s really into the lecture, gesturing wildly and talking loud enough to hear through the door. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

I open the door slowly, and Dr. Spencer still doesn’t turn. My heart races as I step in and carefully close the door behind me. I see a spot in the third row – I’ve totally got this. I creep toward the seat and sit down, quiet as a ninja.

“How nice of you to join us, Daniel!” Dr. Spencer’s voice booms. My heart drops through the floor as everyone turns to look at me.


I hope you’ll share your own take on it! See you Thursday!

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