"I want you to do a two-part third-person single point of view exercise. That's a lot of numbers, but basically it just comes down to this: You'll be presenting the point of view of one character, but that character's direct thoughts and feelings will not be described. Your focus will be on his perceptions: what he sees/hears/feels/smells/tastes. Here are the two parts:
A middle-aged man (or woman) is waiting at a bus stop. He has just learned that his son has died violently. Describe the SETTING from the man's point of view WITHOUT telling your reader what has happened. For example: How will the street look to this man? What are the sounds? Odors? Colors? What will this man notice? What will his clothes feel like? You don't have to address those specific questions, but you do have to describe the man's perceptions in detail. Write a 250 word description.
Here is the second part:
A middle aged man (or woman) is waiting at a bus stop. He has just gotten unexpectedly good medical news (a negative biopsy, for example). Describe the SETTING from the man's point of view WITHOUT telling your reader what has happened. For example: How will the street look to this man? What are the sounds? Odors? Colors? What will this man notice? What will his clothes feel like? You don't have to address those specific questions, but you do have to describe the man's perceptions in detail. Write a 250 word description."
The man’s eyes were two unwashed clams, salty and gritty and full of unshed tears. The two clams sat on the cracked bus stop bench next to the man and rubbed their shells ferociously to stem the tide and refused to acknowledge the soiled homeless woman who interrupted herself long enough to demand spare change and shuffle away, empty-handed and cursing. The homeless woman stopped to smooth away stringy bits of hair with a practiced, gloved hand and rocked back and forth on worn heels.
The street in front of the bus stop was a thick street with dense lanes of rush hour traffic. The two clams blinked and protested noisily every time ambulance sirens pierced the air, which was too often. Tired-looking passengers hovered near the bus stop and carefully avoided making eye contact with each other. They carried scuffed briefcases and dirty tupperware and newspaper rolled into tight cylinders. They smelled like stale cubicles and florescent lighting.
The man’s clothes were thick and clumsy. They were checkered, rumpled garments stained with old coffee and cigar smoke. It was too hot to be wearing such a heavy coat and too cold to leave it off for long, for the air was viscous and clammy.
The bench was raw and splintered in several places. It had been painted dark green once but was now bleached and weathered beyond recognition. Near the bench sat an overflowing trashcan; near the trashcan lay an empty coffee cup that had been carelessly discarded.
Sunlight filtered through the sieve of recent rain clouds. The new sun brought out everyone’s appetites: even the homeless woman wearing a red scarf sifted through the damp contents of her shopping cart, humming cheerfully and pulling out a package of old crackers. The wet sidewalk was punctuated by the quick clatter of busy stilettos on their way to lunch.
Creamy maple trees lined the sidewalk in front of the bus stop and waved to everyone. In front of the sidewalk, traffic was moving at a pleasant, brisk clip. Taxi cabs skirted other taxi cabs like a flock of bright birds at play, teasing each other with friendly honking. Buses paused in front of the stop, emptied out its contents, and refilled themselves with eager passengers standing in messy lines. A boy on a bicycle rolled by, whistling and clutching a package with a pink bow.
The man wore a good, solid coat with soft sleeves and polished buttons and careful stitching. The coat smelled as though the wearer had been recently hugged by a woman donning perfume and pearls.
The bench wore a fresh coat of paint. The trashcan near the bench had been caught in the sprinkler’s gentle crossfire so that its exterior was glistening with water.