Dual Perspective Exercise

This fun little exercise allows you to create a story from one character, and then rewrite the story from another character’s point of view.

The Scene: Everything goes wrong at a job interview

POV: Interviewee:

I’ve spent over a year in the unemployment line. Day after day, I received rejection e-mail after rejection e-mail. This is my last chance. There truly are no more jobs left. Unfortunately, i was running a few minute late when I entered the waiting area. The young attractive receptionist smiled when I approached. I couldn’t help notice the quick sweep over she gave me.

“Can I help you?” She asked pleasantly enough.

“I’m here to see Mr. Wilson for a ten o’clock.” I answered.

She was typing something on her computer for several moments before responding without looking back at me.

“I’m sorry, but you’re five minutes lat and Mr. Wilson doesn’t except late. The position is no longer available.” She finished.

“You mean it’s been filled?” I asked for clarification.

“No. I mean it’s no longer available. To you!”She’d lost all pleasantries in her tone, tempting me to reach over the counter and smack her. Who was this lady to talk to me this way. I need this job and she can’t possible know what I’m going through. Keeping my composure, I tried to negotiate with her. Of course she was unwilling to budge.

Finally, two tall men in black suits emerged from an office door behind the receptionist’s desk. I rushed over and shook the hand of the man I believed to be  Mr. Wilson.

“Hi Mr. Wilson. I’m Tara Sanborn. Listen, I know your policy on late and I take fill responsibility for that, but please give me five minutes of your time.” I begged.

Mr. Wilson pulled his hand away and smiled, “Ms. Sanborn? It’s a pleasure meeting you. But uh, that’s…” He pointed to the other man standing beside him. “That’s Mr. Wilson.”

I could feel the heat burning through my cheeks. I’m such an idiot. I searched the room for a quick answer, but there were just three sets of eyes staring back at me in silence.

“Uh, uh… I’m sorry Mr. Wilson.” I turned to him and extended my hand. He didn’t except it. “I, uh…”

“So why should I give you my time?” His voice boomed.

“Well, uh. Mr. Wilson. No one is perfect. We can try, but it is impossible to be perfect all of the time. I am far from perfect, but that what makes me unique. Do I make mistakes? Sure, but understanding this and the nature of mankind only gives me a better insight in to the consumers mind.” I stopped and prayed this answer would work.

“Ok! You’ve got your chance back Ms. Sanborn.”

We entered a large office lined with a giant book shelf. The shelves were full top to bottom. It felt more like a lawyers office than a marketing firm. By the end of the interview, I had Mr. Wilson eating out of the palm of my hands. He was stoked about my ideas and concepts.

“Why don’t we go to lunch and sort out the details further?” He asked.

I agreed. We took a dingy elevator down to the bottom level of the parking garage.

“Do you mind driving?” Mr. Wilson asked.

“Sure.” I answered and pointed to my green Toyota Corolla decorated with a “Support the Troops” sticker.

“That’s your car, Ms. Sanborn?” He stopped walking.

I smiled. “That’s me.”

“Hey, you were the one who flipped me off this morning!”

I was speechless, but tried one last ditch effort, “No one’s perfect?”

POV: Interviewer:

“Hi, Mr. Wilson. I’m Tara Sanborn.” The young blonde reached out a hand to, Bob Scarlett, my accountant. Really? Who tries for a marketing career and doesn’t even research the company?

Her eyes are darting around the room. She’s clearly embarrassed and at this point I was amused.

“So why should I give you my time?” I asked.

Let’s see how she gets out of this one. Really? No one is perfect? That’s her big save? Wow, young adults these days. No respect and they refuse to take responsibility. Of course, I have the free time, so I accept her into my office.

I ask her pretty standard questions and her answers are fairly reasonable. I probably would have considered her for the position, too bad she’s already messed up her opportunity by being late. She looks really familiar though. Where have I met her?

She’s enthusiastic and gives a hand gesture, one that flashes back a memory for me. Ah ha, I laughed inside. This is going to be good.

We stepped off the dingy elevator and asked her if she would drive. She pointed at her green Toyota Corolla decorated with a “Support the Troops” sticker. This only confirmed my thoughts.


Unreliable Narrator Exercise

In an effort to sharpen and fine tune my writing, I am taking an Advanced Fiction Writing Course as part of my MFA in Writing. So far this course is great! During our in class sessions, we are each given a writing exercise to complete. Here is one we did called, “The Unreliable Narrator.”

The Exercise from E.L. Doctorow: to write a self-deceiving portrait in which the narrator is not the person she thinks she is-either more or less admirable.

Here is my Example:

Is there really a right or wrong way to fold the laundry? I ask myself when I’m reminded to flip the jeans upside down and begin the fold at the ankles. Am I always screwing up the most menial tasks or is everyone else being picky? Put the dishes in that way, hang the sweaters this way, and don’t put the sweatpants in with the jeans. Got it, I think. I do my best to follow these simple set of rules. Even a six-year-old could pull this off, right? Load one of laundry, done.

Mother always said, “Keep the house clean and always greet your husband with a warm meal.”

I run the vacuum over the rugs, taking care not to break the stitching. I suffer a fit of the sneezes after dusting all the hard surfaces in the house. I forget to open the window when I use Clorox to clean the toilet, and now I feel a headache coming. I dusted, I vacuumed, I swept, I scrubbed and I scrubbed for nearly thirty minutes. I’m tired and I need a break.

Logging in to my work e-mail, I check my phone and see that no one has contacted me. Ding. I turn my attention back to the dusty computer. Note: clean the computer. The first e-mail is from my boss. He wants to know the status on a proposal he assigned me. Crap! How could I forget to send it after I spent the entire morning on it? I see that I’ve already missed the deadline by two hours. I click reply.


Please see the attached document. 
I finished it this morning, my sincerest apologies for the delay. 

Thanks, Sue.

I frown at the sent e-mail. Ok, so I forgot to send an e-mail. Big deal! The other two e-mails are from my sister. We are planning a surprise party for our mother’s 60th birthday. She’s panicking because we forgot to send Great-Aunt Martha an invitation. Well, I forgot to send the invitation since that was my responsibility. I respond by telling her that I will just call Great-Aunt Martha and personally invite her. Problem solved. Another ding to my inbox. It’s my boss.


You might want to actually attach the document. 
You’ve had a week to work on it. Not sure why I’m just now 
getting it. 


I laugh as I click reply again and attach the document. I’m a hard worker. I can’t help if every now and then I make a few mistakes. I glance at the clock. Dan will be home soon. I pop open a few cans of Campbell’s Vegetable Soup and dump them in a large pot on the stove. I add water just as the can describes. I stir as the contents begin to boil.

“Do you like it?” I ask eagerly.

He nods his head before answering, “Did you make it?”

“I did. I know how much you like soup.” After a pause, I continued, “I cleaned the house today. Scrubbed top to bottom.”

So, I lied a little, at least my heart is in the right place. By the look on his face, I could tell he knew I was lying. I decide not to bring more attention to it.

After a quick inspection, I didn’t actually push start on the dishwasher, I only finished one load of the laundry, and I forgot to clean the bathtub. I also, failed to dust the pictures on the wall, and somehow there were hairballs on the floor still. Maybe I did sleep in a little too late. Perhaps I did waste a bit too much time sipping on coffee and watching Lifetime when I woke up; but he’s so picky and there’s no satisfying that man.