Notebook Work

Autobiography, Part II: Point of View


A central goal in leading writers is to help them understand the power of point of view. In this case I took a photograph similar to one from my 5-page autobiography and changed the point of view to third person. This unleashed a freedom in my writing that I hadn’t found before.

The first revisions of this entry are in black and the then I go back with blue and really change the focus and clarity of the writing. This is what I have to model for students—and why I practice it—how rereading and reworking phrases and lines leads to more satisfying writing.

I have also included the notes I took on my process as I worked on this. Focusing on my process helps me remember what I need to watch for and share with my students as they work.

Helping students understand the power of point of view is a central goal in both writing stories and analyzing literature. Nothing clarifies understanding like creation. The playfulness of this writing deepens thinking and can lead to surprises that fuel new writing as it did for me here.

From my notebook (click on the image for a full-size PDF):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A student's work (click on the image for a full-size PDF):