In this week’s COW Writing Challenge, we are asking our writers to write from the point of view of their avatar. Writing in the first person, they are to tell us all about their avatar’s imaginary life, including where they live, who is in their family, what their school is like, or any other details they wish to include. Their writing prompt will be: “Hello. Let me introduce myself. My name is . . .”
This COW Writing Challenge lends itself to exploring Point of View, in writing. It provides a good opportunity to introduce the differences between first, third, and even second person narrative.
a. First Person Narrative: I walked up to the door and knocked. The door swung open and I gasped at what I saw.
b. Second Person Narrative: You walk up to the door and knock. The door swings open and you gasp at what you see.
c. Third Person Narrative: She walked up to the door and knocked. The door swung open and she gasped at what she saw.
Ways of exploring these different forms of narrative with your students include:
Read examples from novels using either first, second or third person narratives, and ask the following questions:
1. Why did the author choose to use this form of narrative in this novel?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each form of narrative?
3. Of your favourite novels, which is the most common narrative form?
4. Which narrative form do you prefer, and why?
Challenge your students to use COW’s Edit Mode and write three versions of the same story– one in the first person, one in the second person, and one in the third person. Have them read through their three versions, and decide which one is most effective, giving reasons why.
One of the most significant decisions an author makes when writing a book is deciding upon which narrative voice to use. Making students aware of the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of the first, second and third person narrative voice is vital to their development as emerging writers.