The novel follows a grown-up Scout as she returns to Maycomb, and in a statement, Lee explains that she actually wrote this book first. On reading it, her editors persuaded her to explore the possibility of a young Scout as narrator, and To Kill A Mockingbird was born.
With that in mind, we have a couple of exercises for you.
If you have a work-in-progress
Take the main character and write 500 words from their POV at an entirely different age.
So if you’ve a child narrator, write about them as an adult – what do they think when they look back on the events of your novel? How has it changed them, and where are they now?
And if you’re writing an adult main character, take them back to childhood. What is their life like; how do they see the world? Where do they imagine they’ll be in twenty years time?
If you don’t have a manuscript on the go
Find your favourite novel and choose a key character. Write 500 words from their POV twenty years earlier than the events of the novel or twenty years later.
Where are they now? What are they like? When they look back or forward, what do they see?
On completing this exercise, what do you learn about your character and their story? Has it made you realise that certain events or characters are more or less significant than you originally thought?
Check back each Wednesday for more creative writing exercises. And for a writing prompt with a prize, have you played QuickFic of a Friday? Do – we’d love to see you.