Perhaps you have an idea for a story or a novel. One of the biggest decisions you have to make is which point of view to use. Or maybe you’ve already written a story or a novel. Are you sure the point of view you’ve chosen best fits the material? Point of view is one of the most confusing and misunderstood aspects of fiction writing. It’s so much more complicated than deciding whether to use I (first person), you (second person), or he/she (third person). If you choose a non-default POV such as first or second person, how will you make the reader believe that your narrator has a compelling reason to tell this story now—and an audience in the fictional world the narrator is telling the story to? How will you immerse us in the narrator’s consciousness enough to justify the limitations of this more restrictive POV? And if you choose to write in third person, which kind of third person will you use—the kind that allows us access into only one character’s head or all of them? If you’re writing a novel, can you use different points of view in different chapters?
We will spend the first part of each class analyzing short excerpts from published stories and novels that use each kind of POV, both familiar and unusual. During the second part, we will do related in-class exercises and writing prompts. By the end of six weeks, you will not only have more control over your own writing, but more understanding and appreciation of what you read.
Instructor: Sharon Harrigan