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Your suggested writing exercise for this lesson revolves around narration and point of view.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells the Parable of the Prodigal Son using an omniscient narrator. The narrator sometimes shows things from the younger brother’s perspective, sometimes from the older brother’s perspective, and sometimes from the father’s perspective (though the narrator doesn’t really get into close third-person except possibly with the younger brother, when we get a little peek at his inner monologue).

Your writing exercise is to retell this familiar story from the point of view of one of the three main characters, determined by your birthday.

Close third-person or first person?

  • If your birthday is an odd number, write in close third-person.
  • If your birthday is an even number, write in first-person.

Point-of-view character?

  • If your birthday falls in January through April, write the younger brother will be your point-of-view character.
  • If your birthday falls in May through August, the older brother will be your point-of-view character.
  • If your birthday falls in September through December, the father will be your point-of-view character.

So if your birthday is August 14, you’d retell the parable using the older brother as a first-person narrator.  If your birthday is October 7, you’d retell the parable in close third-person from the perspective of the father.

Remember, whether you’re writing in first-person or close third-person, you’re only showing and telling what your point-of-view character can see and hear. You have the option of telling what’s going on inside your point-of-view character’s head, but you can also choose only to show what your character sees by looking out. That’s up to you. However, according to the rules of close third-person and first-person narration, you can only get inside the head of one character (your POV character).