Writing 101: Honing Your Point of View

The neighborhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.


Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.


Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.


Something terrible must be happening across the street.  I want to know more, but I can’t.  I’m just going to sit right here on the steps inside our house and watch out the window.  Momma doesn’t like it when I look at other houses through the window.  I want to ask momma what is happening, but she’s not here.  So I’m watching out the window when the police cars show up.

I don’t like the police cars.  They were there on the day my daddy went away.

There is the lady who lives across the street.  I don’t know her name.  Maybe momma told me.  I just call her Alice because she reminds me of the maid on that old show momma likes to watch.  I like to watch it too.  Alice has lived in that house for a long time.  She has always lived across the street from me.  She used to live there with her husband and their kids.  They were all boys.  Those boys are a lot older than me, but sometimes I could play ball with the two youngest ones.  But that was before the day my daddy went away.

Alice’s husband went away, too.  It wasn’t the same time as my daddy.  My daddy went away years ago.  Mr. Alice only went away three months ago.  I know because I always count the days on my calendar.  I remember the big days.  The days when something important happens.  Like the day my daddy went away.

It’s hard to tell what is happening from inside the house.  I can see the police get out of their cars and walk toward the front door.  There are only 2 of them and they have another lady walking with them.  She is not a police woman, but she is dressed nice.  There were a lot more police the day my daddy went away.

When the police get to the front door, I see it open.  Inside, I can see my mom and some of the other ladies who live around us.  I thought Alice was alone in the house.  I see momma crying.  I move off of the stairs and go to the front door.  It takes me a long time to put my hand on the knob.  I remember how it used to feel to run outside.  To play with the other boys.  Even to visit ladies like Alice.  I liked her.

I open the front door, but I am frozen to the spot.  There are more police now.  I start to breathe hard.  I look around with wide panicked eyes.  I haven’t been this far outside since the day my daddy went away.  And now the police are here again and somebody else is going away.

Only this time Alice is alive.


**Author’s note:  This was a prompt I just really did not want to respond to.  This is a half-hearted attempt and I know I should do better.  Sorry…



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