A friend of mine suggested an exercise. The idea is to take a setup, main characters and a statement and unpack the scene. Rather than telling the reader how a character is feeling, convey their feelings by unpacking the scene.

Example: Kevin hated Nick. Brothers, told from Kevin’s point of view. 

Kevin leaned against the door frame and watched his brother play on the swing set. Their Dad worked on their car on the driveway with the occasional glance towards Nick to make sure he was safe.

Fall, Kevin thought. He focused his eyes on Nick, following his movement back and forth on the swing. Fall, fall, fall, break your neck, Nick, he chanted in his head. As though someone had heard his secret prayer, Nick tried to slow down to jump off the swing, but he miscalculated the distance, and came crashing down, missing the grass the landing instead on the edge of the paved path to the house. He yelled out, “Daddy!”

Kevin hoped their Dad wouldn’t hear him or better still, would ignore Nick’s cries and leave him to bleed from his scratched knees on the pavement.

Their Dad dropped the hood of the car down and upon seeing Nick on the ground, came running and within seconds had Nick in his arms, cooing into his ear. “You’re all right Buddy, you’re fine.”

As Kevin watched them, the blood rushed to his cheeks and they burned as he watched their father cuddling Nick. It struck Kevin at the moment how much Nick looked their mother. He thought of his Mommy, who came to his rescue when he fell, who read him a bed time story each night, who called him her little buddy. As he watched his brother cradled in their father’s arms, Kevin thought, I lost my Mommy and this is what I got in her place. With that, he turned away, went up the stairs and into Nick’s room, where he located Nick’s teddy and introduced it to a pair of sheers.


Have a go. Here’s one to get you going:

Emma misses Ted. He’s her son. Told from Emma’s POV.

Have fun! Happy writing.




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