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Activity  •  29 April 2024

 

Only The Astronauts creative writing project

Introduce students to a new form of narration with this activity inspired by Ceridwen Dovey’s new book, Only The Astronauts.

In Only the Astronauts, Ceridwen Dovey writes from the perspective of different objects in outer space. This allows her to explore ideas that might not be obvious to more traditional, human narrators. As readers, it also offers us a valuable insight into the role that point of view plays in all storytelling.

To explore this concept, try writing a short story from the perspective of an object, either in outer space or here on Earth. If you can, find something a little more creative than just what you can see immediately around you!

Use first-person perspective to really ‘step into the shoes’ of the object. (‘I did this,’ ‘I saw that,’ etc.)

To help you get started, consider:

  • What does the object witness that no one else sees? What does the object notice that no one else pays attention to?
  • What might the object value differently than the humans around it? What’s important to the object, and what’s unimportant to it? What does the object want to happen, to itself or in the world around it?
  • Does your object have special connections to particular people, or to the place it’s in? Would it ever go on a journey of some sort?
  • Can your object move or act by itself, or is it at the mercy of those around it? Can it communicate? How does it feel about that?
  • What does the object’s narrative voice sound like? What is it fascinated by? How has it formed the opinions it holds? What memories does it have, and what does it long for?

Once your story is completed, do you think there’s another perspective you could rewrite it from? Is there a human – or another object – whose perspective might shed a different light on the same events? What are the reasons that retelling might differ?

 

If you’d like to do some further reading, Dovey wrote an essay on the inspiration she drew from other stories told from unusual perspectives while writing Only the Astronauts.

Feature Title

Only the Astronauts
A transformative new collection from the award-winning author of Only the Animals.
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Ceridwen Dovey shares why she chose to set her new book in space

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