Same Story, Different Angles | StoryADay 2024 Day 20

A prompt for those who struggle with plot

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The Prompt

Tell the story of an incident. Then tell it from another point of view. Then tell it a third time from another point of view.

Things To Consider

The great thing about this prompt is that you don’t have to come up with a large and complex plot to start.

Just write an incident (it could be someone observing a traffic accident, or a young mother interacting with her kid).

Then tell the story from someone else’s perspective.

The second versions should add to our understanding of what’s going on (or how people perceive events).

The third perspective tells the same story again but differently.

As with everything in life perspective matters.

One person’s insult is another person’s compliment. Blame can be assigned easily, but when the know more details, the ‘black and white’ of a situation can quickly become grey.

This is a wonderful opportunity to tell a story in a way that encourages readers to check their knee-jerk reaction to events they encounter in the world. You can use any point of view you want.

All three sections could be first person (“I saw an incredible thing today”) or you could play with the various third person perspectives (limited, omniscient) or even venture out in to second person (“You are walking down the street when”, or “We see the car slew towards the old woman and…”)

Further reading

You And Them

The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts – a prompt from Neha Mediratta

Leave a comment and let us know how it went!

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21 thoughts on “Same Story, Different Angles | StoryADay 2024 Day 20”

  1. I really enjoyed this prompt. It is so fun to explore other perspectives and perhaps discover more from a different one as they spot things you didn’t even think about but now have a huge impact. Day 20, a fun one, is done.

  2. I described something that happened to me this morning, then how my wife viewed the event, then how one of the construction workers who caused it saw it. All three characters were fictionalized. All three narratives were in the first person.

    I found that once the incident had been described in detail the first time, the second two narratives could be much shorter, and focus on perceptions and feelings.

    1. Interesting what you found after writing the first character sketch, Walter.
      I’ve just ordered “Damp Squid,” thanks for the recommend. See, I just shortened recommendation to recommend, am I getting the hang of how Brits change words?
      After what you mentioned re Phoenix to Fenix, I get the picture. I was in London several years ago, and you reminded me of how much they love to change words and make up new ones regularly as they speak. I loved that.

  3. You have summed it up so nicely, Valerie. I wish I knew more about America to add anything more on your views about the people of Arizona.
    I reread the last 2 lines of your comments :
    Americans are simple folks. Really simple here in Arizona.
    I also chanced upon the last line of your message to Andrew :
    I am such a simple writer….rtc
    And this “simplicity’, in my opinion, is what gets reflected in your writings.
    Stay simple as long as you can, my friend, for Life is anything but.
    God bless.

    1. Rathin:
      I like making fun of Americans. I would probably make fun of people in a different country if I lived there, I don’t know. I don’t want to sound like I’m mean about it because if I were I wouldn’t have any friends, which would make me sad.
      Most of my life I lived in California, you may know more about that place than Arizona. I just moved to Arizona a year ago. The landscape here feels like I’ve moved to a different planet. It’s sandy with tall alien cacti.
      Anyway thanks for all the praise and help and for going all out with your stories full of interesting cultural nuances.

  4. I have 4 points of view. The original story part and all 3 of their reactions.

    Jack and Lauren broke apart after a passionate kiss. Jack kept his arms around her and led her to the park bench. They talked briefly before Jack leaned into Lauren for another kiss.

    Nancy was shocked. Her best friend Lauren passionately kissed Jack, Nancy’s boyfriend of five years. Granted, he had never asked her to marry him, but she felt they were supposed to be exclusive. The couple broke apart and went to the park bench to talk briefly before he leaned in and kissed her again. Nancy was heartbroken, a tumultuous storm of betrayal and disbelief swirling within her. She couldn’t watch any longer and approached the couple, shouting, “How could you do this to me?”

    Jack kissed Lauren again. He felt a passion for her that he never felt when he was with Nancy. He was torn. He knew Nancy would be upset when he tried to break it off with her, but he couldn’t squash his feelings for Lauren over Nancy. His life with Nancy was just ho-hum, nothing exciting at all. He had spent the last five years with Nancy and never once felt passion like he was feeling right now. He looked up when he heard Nancy shouting at them. He was surprised to see her since she should be at work now. He noticed the tears on her face as she shouted, “How could you do this to me?” Lauren pulled away, shocked at the intrusion as well.

    Lauren felt weak after the kisses she had shared with Jack. She knew she shouldn’t be kissing him as her best friend, Nancy, considered him her boyfriend, but Nancy didn’t appear to want more than a boyfriend relationship, not marriage or anything the least bit serious. She and Jack had come together gradually after spending much time together while he and Nancy were dating. She was surprised to see Nancy at the park with them as she was supposed to be working.

  5. The difference a day makes. Overnight, the Weekly game, run by one of my friends has fallen by the wayside due to scheduling challenges and otherwise. So at short notice, I’ve been asked to kick off a new campaign.

    And being committed to ‘Story-a-day’ my prompt for today is the ‘Scene Setter’ for tomorrow night’s game. So here it is ~450 words. It is to be read aloud so should take about three minutes.

  6. 645 words with characters from Know My Way Around. I wrote about a date from 3 different perspectives. The two people on the date, and from a bystander’s POV(who is actually the love interest in the main story, but the characters are still in denial about that).

  7. The Beginning:
    Shree calls me one bleak afternoon, “Is that Mr. Banerjee speaking? Sir, I’m Shree, the Team Leader of your wife in our Company. I’m calling to caution you, sorry, your wife rather, about the incentive money deposited recently in your wife’s SBI account and her reluctance to deposit it in my account.

    I tried calling her several times but she isn’t picking up the phone. Just tell her to return the money at the earliest to avoid any further complications or unpleasantries.”

    “How much was deposited in her account? Have faith in me. I’ll ask her to pay it in a day or two.” Despite the explicit threat in her voice, I find myself not losing control.

    It was a Saturday and most of the banks were closed for the weekend. That’s why I asked for some time.
    It is around 5 O’clock in the afternoon. I am about to depart from home to attend a meeting, when there is a knock on the door.

    On opening, I find Shree, her hair dishevelled, nostrils flaring, standing at the door, hesitantly.

    “I’m here regarding MY incentive money.” She comes straight to the point without any ado, looking at the ground, fiddling with her hands.

    “Come in,” I say graciously. “Labani’s in the kitchen.”

    I call out to my wife next. “Labani, Ms.Shree is here.”
    As I close the door behind me, I cry out from outside, “Please don’t forget to pick Rimi up from school in time, OK?”

    I sit behind the wheel and turn the key and think to myself, Good, she’s here. They can sort out their misunderstanding.

    When I get back home at night. Labani, her eyes bloodshot, face wrought with shame and anxiety, has this tell me this:

    (2) (Labani’s Version of the Story):

    “I thought of telling you last week but didn’t get the time. Last month, I sold policies worth 4 lakhs to a client. Naturally, the incentives were deposited in my account along with my salary later on. Normally, unbeknownst to the bosses of the company, we’re to return the incentives to our TL, Shree in my case.

    This practice’s has been going on since I joined 6 years ago. When I looked at the amount, a whopping ninety three thousand excluding my pay, I decided not to return this money to her account this time around. I’ve my reasons and the reason I’m sharing this with you is, please correct me if I’ve done anything wrong.

    Shree did nothing, not even turned up in the cube during my discussions with Mr. Samrat Bagchi, a retired medical professional. He bought the policy, so he told me, because of me. The fact that I could convince him about the utility of purchasing such a policy for his family!

    What did Shree have to do with it? Why does she claim the money like her sole living depended on it? Why should she have the lion’s share while employees like me won’t get an extra paisa, besides our salary?

    It’s not the same scenario with the other groups working in our company. The Managers always make it a point to distribute the incentives amongst the members of their groups as per the number of policies sold monthly.

    Ours though has been an exception all through. Our Manager Kunalda and she make a nice pair. In fact, there’s something going on between the two. Long story short, whatever incentives are deposited in the accounts of our group members, go straight to Shree’s account! Can you believe it? We do the hard work and they get the bucks!

    I told them last month I was quitting. They didn’t seem to bother. I quit on the 5th of this month. The salary was deposited on the 10th. I had no idea whatsoever that the incentive money could amount to this much at that time though? They turned up on the same day, remember. Gold-digger that Shree is!
    Now, they have resorted to some kind of emotional blackmail. I’ve decided not to dance to their tune any more, come what may. This is not their hard-earned money. So, they can’t force me into depositing it into her account any more.

    You know what the cunny couple were telling me just before they left the other day? ‘OK, so you have jabbed the money out of us. Smart of you. But there is Someone Up there. Don’t you ever forget that. Nothing ever escapes His notice. You’ll have to pay for this heinous betrayal. God’ll ensure that…’

    “Now tell me, Rohit,” Labani’s voice quivers here as she looks painfully out of the window before looking me in the eyes,“ have I done anything wrong?”

    (3) Shree’s :
    You have to admit your mistakes, Shree. Firstly, you shouldn’t have called the husband of one of your team members. That was completely unethical and unprofessional. Secondly, you got so panicky about losing the money that you dropped in without any intimation. The fact that your beau, Kunal was waiting outside, didn’t register well with the onlookers.
    Thirdly, without any greetings, you blurted out about the incentive money! This is exactly what you said: “I’m here regarding MY incentive money.” Honestly, can you lay any claims to the incentive money? Labani worked day and night, she was the one who convinced Mr. Bagchi into buying that policy worth crores from your Company. So, how can you be so sure that it is YOUR money?
    Finally, and for this criminal offence alone, you are going to be sued in a court – you and that pimp of a Manager Kunal of yours -You two stepped in and threatened Labani of dire consequences even when she kept quiet, thinking you were after all her guests. Even when she told you that she didn’t feel like talking to you anymore!

    Now, you have started the game, be ready to face the music.
    I pick up the phone and dial 100. I have already learnt from my daughter, who called her mom, Labani from school that day. She told me what had happened in my absence as soon as Shree and Kunal stepped inside our flat,

    Looks like Labani had forgotten to switch her mobile. It was so much like Labani not to have mentioned this part of the story to me. Having been married to her, I know why she tried to overlook this issue – the issue of how they threatened and tortured her, mentally.

    I am known for my murderous moods at times!

    “Hello, is this 101, Police Headquarters, Lal Bazar? This is Rohit Banerjee calling. I want to lodge a complaint about one Kunal Roychoudhury and Shree Sen of PIL for trying to harrass my spouse in tandem…”
    The End

    1. Rathin,
      It’s a good story, I like the premise, and there is a lot of opportunity. I’ll be honest when the husband gets I the car and turns the key I thought he’d pause, think better of things and return to the house, he didn’t, then I thought he’d walk into a murder scene, he didn’t.
      I didn’t quite catch the gist of the ‘incentive scheme’ and multiple parties, that could be on me, on the time pressures of writing, again another opportunity to flesh out if you where to take this any further.

  8. 1. My sister stole all our mother’s money. I have an older brother named Johnny and a younger sister named Cindy. As soon as Mom died, Cindy ran to Mom’s bank and had all her money transferred to her own account and closed Mom’s. How did she do that? Right before our mother died, my sister had our mother put her name on her checks.
    2. Cindy rushes to her mom’s bank. She transfers every penny to her own bank account. Why should she share it with her siblings. She feels she’s owed it. She’s the baby of the family and she wants it. She feels very clever having had her mother add her name to her checks right before she died.
    3. You decide it’s time to divide up your mom’s savings between yourself and your two younger sisters. You, being the big brother in the family and the most successful in business, have decided to surprise your sisters with your third of the cash besides the third each your mother has left them. You will be happy to see them be secure with that extra money. Two weeks ago mom passed away. You know that she left a sizeable inheritance because she had you help her keep track of things. You are also the executor of her will. You call your youngest sister, Cindy, but she doesn’t answer her phone or your texts. You call your other sister, Elaine, and she answers. You both decide to go together to Cindy’s. You pick Elaine up. You see her face is ashen. You hear her say, “I just received a text from Cindy.” You hear her say that Cindy has all of Mom’s money because her name is on mom’s checks and she’s keeping it for herself.
    You blurt out “What?” as you pull your car to the curb. You are confused.
    “But I’m the executor of the will…” you say.
    “She can’t do that, can she, Johnny?” You think for a moment. Then you say, “Yes.” You say, “She can.”
    You hear Elaine say, “That’s so like Cindy.” You sit in silence with your sister for a few minutes. Then you understand. You know how Cindy operates yet you never suspected this. You say, “Elaine, I’m sorry.” You say, “Sweetie, I never expected this.”
    You hear Elaine say, “The reason you’re so surprised is because you don’t think like Cindy.” You hear her say, “That’s worth more than money.”

    1. Another neat story. The last line is significant as it conveys the moral of the story.
      Johnny and Elaine are the good ones in the family. Cindy, unfortunately, is the spoilt brat.
      I am a bit confused about the spelling of “cheques” though. Have you spelt it like that for a reason?
      Keep writing and sharing. Best.

        1. I refuse to spell grey with an “a”, though. (Gray is the American spelling). What is wrong with people in the U.S. changing the spelling of words, I often wonder. It’s still going on. I live in Arizona. Soon they’ll be changing the spelling of the town Phoenix to Fenix.

          1. You both might enjoy “Damp Squid, the English Language Laid Bare,” by Jeremy Butterfield. I thought it was going to be one of those amusing collections of usage anecdotes, with things like cheque/check and the metamorphosis of “damp squib.” It has plenty of those, but it’s more of an introduction to lexicography for a general audience. Interesting and fun.

            My grandfather, who was born in the 1890s, was a spelling reformer. He would always write “thot” instead of “thought,” for instance. On the other hand he was a scholar of (among other things) Classical Greek, and I doubt he would have advocated “Fenix.”

      1. Rathin, I’m glad to hear the plot was decipherable and that you liked it. Thank you! And yes, here in the U.S., many of our words aren’t so colorful (checks). Now that I think about it, I personally think the spelling, cheques, is better because it signifies exactly what it means. Americans are simple folks. Really simple here in Arizona.

    2. Excellent, brief and two perspectives. Lots of opportunities to play with the dialogue between Elaine and your main character, you could make that scene between the two quite poignant.

      Well done.

      1. Andrew, thank you for the compliment and idea to stretch the scene out. I’m such a simple writer I often wonder how much I should add.

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