Challenge,  On Writing

Tried Something New For Me…

Flipped Viewpoints in a Story…

Now, this would have been so much easier to just write a new story completely, but since I am doing this challenge, and I was in a spot that it made sense to do this stunt, I thought I would try it. My suggestion… Don’t.

I had a Poker Boy story called “Mystery Cat” that also had in it Pakhet Jones. But it was a Poker Boy story, and Poker Boy is first person. I wrote it about two years ago or so and published it in Smith’s Monthly back about a year ago.

Pakhat Jones stories are also first person. But in the Poker Boy story, she was third person, of course. It wasn’t her story.

They save a cat and solve a mystery/crime and the story fits perfectly as four chapters in my Pakhet Jones novella I am finishing up.

So I called this story “Mystery Cat: A New Perspective” and proceeded to go through it as a Pakhet Jones story. Brand new opening, of course, and then I had Pakhet have Poker Boy tell the story up to when she got involved.

So I took an entire short story and switched it from one first person viewpoint to another first person viewpoint. Hardest part was the voices, since both characters have distinct voices and distinct thoughts and attitudes.

It was an interesting writing experiment and took me exactly as long to write and touch as it would if I had written all original words. But I wanted the story as some chapters in a Pakhet Jones novella, so had to do it.

Live and learn and not do again.


  • Judy Lunsford

    DId you just not like doing it? I have a series that I am doing that with and it is so fun. But it is being told in letter format to the reader (it’s a middle grade series, so it’s probably easier.)

    • dwsmith

      Yup, basically rewriting and I loathe rewriting as a waste of time, but taking a finished and published story and turning it into another story that is finished was a challenge. Especially from two first person viewpoints with voice. But even though a good half of it was brand new writing, it still like far, far too much rewriting crap. But Kris said it was different and didn’t cause her to remember the first one, so a win.

  • Lyn Perry

    Fun to experiment though, and try out new or different storytelling devices. Never know what works. I like connecting episodes together to form a larger story arc as well (though I know you said last post you were not a fan of doing that yourself). Still, it will be fun to see your novella/short novel come together this way. Neat!

  • Lee Allred

    Interesting you should post this, Dean. I just turned in a novella to an editor last week where I had to write the same scene twice from two different viewpoints. Neither by themselves gave the reader all the needed details. Different voices noticing different things. I don’t think I’ve done that before in my fiction, but in this particular case the story needed it.

    And speaking of rewriting because of viewpoint, viewpoint’s often the cause of my getting the “stuck in a story” type of writing block.

    If you’re stuck in a story, you’ve either started it at the wrong place or you’re telling it from the wrong viewpoint character.

    • dwsmith

      Totally agree, Lee. Great “Law.” I have done the same scene, two viewpoint thing. Annoying, but sometimes needed. Agree!