Day 9- First To Third by Julie Duffy

This StoryADay writing prompt encourages you to try an older story from a new poing of view

StoryADay Writing Prompt Illustration

The Prompt

Re-write yesterday’s story, in a different point-of view.

Keep the same protagonist, but take us into a different voice.

Where, yesterday, you might have written, “I slammed the door as I left, hearing a muffled ‘hey!’ from behind it. But seriously, how could he have said such a thing, and expected me to stay?” today you might write it from the third-person, limited point of view, which would read like this: “she slammed the door as she left, hearing a muffled ‘Get back here!’ from behind it. But seriously, how could he have said such a thing and expected her to stay?”

Notice how similar third-person limited is to first person? We’re still experiencing the thoughts of only one person. We are very closely aligned with their thoughts and feelings. We don’t need the writer to say ‘she thought’, because it’s always clear whose thoughts we are in.

The advantage of third person is that you can use a line break to indicate a perspective shift and hop inside another character’s head.

“She slammed the door as she left.”
The walls shook as the door hit the frame. He yelped with a surprise that quickly turned to anger. Half out of his chair, he yelled “Get back here”. The only answer was the click of her heels on the wood of the stairs and the echoing slam of the front door. A wave of shame pushed him back into the sagging armchair. How could have have said those things to her and expected her to stay?
The air outside was icy and cut into her lungs like broken glass. Where would she go now? Surely anywhere was better than here. Fresh snow crunched under the ridiculous heels he had insisted she always wear …

You can stay in one person’s perspective or jump around, just remember, which ever head you’re in, that’s the one the reader will identify most closely with. It’s best not to jump around too much and leave your reader seasick!

Julie Duffy

Julie Duffy likes to write in first person but appreciates the opportunities afforded by third. If she is being honest, what she really loves is a really well done third-person omniscient story as employed by Messers Dickens and Pratchett. You can read more StoryADay Point of View writing prompts here.

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18 thoughts on “Day 9- First To Third by Julie Duffy”

  1. The first to third was a pretty quick revision this morning. I love this challenge! I’m learning things about myself as a writer. Prior to the challenge I had a collection of ideas — none developed to completion in written form. As of today I have nine that have an ending. I’ve discovered I appreciate the speed of my laptop for most writing and pen and paper for small jots of inspiration. I am enjoying this new habit. =)

    1. That is awesome. I’m so glad it’s working for you. And yes, I prefer paper for ideas, but the keyboard is definitely faster once I get going (and I have a pretty swift handwriting speed too!)

  2. I didn’t write yesterday’s story, so I’m hoping to maybe come back at the end of the month and do the reverse of this– take the story I wrote today in third person and rewrite it in first! I’m interested in what folks are learning from converting it like that.
    I felt low on story ideas today, but it’s interesting and kind of funny to see how much more directly I pulled from my day to day life as a result. And writing my opposite is a good time, they are much less careful not to offend authority figures!

  3. Yesterday I wrote a first person account of an online meeting in a corporate setting in which the protagonist feels misunderstood, victimized and vulnerable. Today I wrote a mirrored account from the antagonist, also in first person. Fun to see the two points of view back to back and feel the tension ratchet up as a result. I’ll apply this elsewhere in my work, if only to better understand the wants and desires of my main characters.

  4. The story I created yesterday using 1st POV was confessional, so switching to 3rd was a challenge considering his role in my larger cast of characters. I focused on sensory details that he wouldn’t have access to but that another observational character would. Then, I did a pro/con POV comparison in list form. In other words, knowing what I need him to contribute to the big picture, how might each POV help/hinder that aim? I concluded that 1st is better [don’t want to reveal why 😉 ] but that I also need to add sensory details to ground the reader in his experience. Otherwise he’s just a talking head.

  5. Yesterday I wrote a scene from my WIP about a witness to a murder. Today’s prompt left me scratching my head, because I’d already written this scene from the killer’s point of view, and the only other people at the murder scene were the victim, who dies in the first third of the scene, and an infant. So I’m skipping today’s prompt and working on my novel instead.

    1. I did the same as Gabriele. I thought it was from a different character’s viewpoint, not changing to third person, for example. I may be able to do this prompt today, after all.

  6. I read the prompt several times but didn’t follow the instructions correctly. I rewrote yesterdays scene from a different character’s point of view. During a writing sprint discussion, I realized what I did and rewrote yesterday’s scene, same character, different point of view. Lesson learned about following instructions. But it was fun writing it from another character’s point of view too. 😉

  7. Didn’t change the basics of the dialogue, but found it interesting to see what needed to be left out and/or added with the different voice. Not even that much difference in length! (1st person POV – @740, 3rd person POV – @780) … very cool experiment.

  8. Today’s prompt wanted us to write yesterday’s story using a different PoV.
    I had to go back to that story as a result. I began in right earnest but soon the modified story lost its sheen and I continued writing for the sake of writing.
    Towards the end a thought came to me : How would it be if the protagonist, Sandha, was really the one responsible for Trisha’s divorce? I found that I had not only to change a few lines but the language at places as well!
    What could have been a promising story died a premature death!
    Here is the story :
    Was Sandha Responsible For Trisha’s Divorce?
    Sandha got up to find Dev, Som Dev Burman, her husband thumping the empty area beside him in the other bed. He as usual, wanted her by his side in the wee hours of the morning. Since Mili, their daughter, grew up, sharing the same bed that they used to, has been a problem. So, now she and Mili shared the smaller bed while Som slept in the bigger one. That day there was no need for them to get up early as both father and daughter didn’t have to attend the swimming classes.
    She got up, sneaked a peek at her reflection in the dressing mirror, tied her hair in a bun and headed to the kitchen. Once the tea was ready, she brought the tray with the kettle and cups into the room.
    “Do you want to hear something about Tagore’s obsession?” He asked her. As Togore’s birthday was drawing near, the papers were full of him.
    Sandha yawned while shaking her head but when did he ever listen to her?
    “He invited Sukumar Roy in a planchette session once!” He was rambling on.
    “Did he?”
    “But you, being a woman, may be more interested in ‘The Murshidabad Murder Case’ instead.” He said before proceeding to enlighten her with a ghastly story of revenge and murder. The jilted lover waited for months to chalk out a plan of stabbing the beauty queen brutally in the market, in broad daylight!
    “What’s our world coming to? Is it a sin to be beautiful?” Sandha couldn’t help asking.
    “It’s undoubtedly not a sin. But if you think about it, the girl shouldn’t have ditched the boys one after another like the way she did.”
    As a daily chore, Sandha collected the kettle and cups back in the tray after a while and dumped them in the sink.

    Some time later, while Som was engrossed in the paper, Anupam, his nephew rang up. Both Som and Anupam were great friends.
    “Sandy, do you wanna go to Rima’s tonight? It’s her marriage anniversary today. She tried calling you several times but it seems like your line was busy.”
    Sandha and Rima, by the way, we’re great friends too.
    “I can’t tell you for sure right now. I’ve to get the Boss’ consent, you know.” She failed at what she wanted to sound like a giggle.
    At around 12.30 PM, she sauntered up to Som lazing in bed.
    “What does it take to tempt a saint like you?” Sandha with a playful smile around her mouth shot at Som while throwing the edge of her sari over her shoulder.
    “It’s difficult unless I am in a mood to be aroused,” without even looking at her.
    She pressed herself against him from behind, “Not even if you get ‘the feel’?
    “Nope, dear.” He replied rudely. .
    “I’ve something to tell. Anup called a while ago. He wanted to know if I was interested in accompanying him to Rima’s. Today is her anniversary, you know. May I?”
    “If you want,” Som had his eyes on the paper still.
    “I do but I am worried of Trisha, his wife – you know how suspicious she is – making a scene afterwards.”
    “You aren having an affair with Anup or what? So why bother about her?”
    Som retorted out.
    Sandha did go to Rima’s in the end. But on her return home that night when she heard of the terrible scene between Anup and Trisha, she felt sad. She was saddened even more when she heard of Trisha having filed for a divorce against Anup on charges of Adultery and Betrayal a couple of weeks later.
    The end
    P.S: Sukumar Roy was a noted Bengali poet.

  9. I didn’t do yesterday’s prompt. I had decided to take this weekends off for this challenge. So, instead I went to an older story and rewrote that. It was a great exercise. I found where the story was missing “something”. I won’t be using the words written today, for that story, but I was able to move forward with the original version. My new-found knowledge of the “situation” helped a lot.

  10. Since I messed up yesterday’s prompt, I did today’s in 1st person. Added a bit more at the beginning before Rhys gets to the surprise party. It’s interesting to see how much of his easy-going, joking attitude is actually an act. I turned yesterday’s 100 words story into 493 for today.

  11. This was a good one for me. It came at the right time. The story I wrote yesterday was another drabble, exactly 100 words, and while seemingly complete, needed to be longer. So I changed the point of view, and added nearly 400 words. It works much better at 500 words and with the new POV. The protagonist isn’t very self reflective, or else isn’t prone to sharing his thoughts, so it helps that he’s being viewed by someone else.

  12. I picked the wrong day to restart my daily stories (after 2 days of illness). So I went back to First Person Opposite from yesterday. It is much more fun being the opposite of me compared to being me – though also exhausting, who knew! Thank you for a great idea. Got to escape myself for 874 words…

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