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Point of View: Compelling Narrative Voices

Learn how to choose the best point of view for your story, strengths and weaknesses of each point of view, and how to implement it in your writing in a way that heightens drama and maintains consistency.

Point of View: Compelling Narrative Voices

Learn how to choose the best point of view for your story, strengths and weaknesses of each point of view, and how to implement it in your writing in a way that heightens drama and maintains consistency.
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Learn to identify who your reader is and what you want her to know so you can choose the right point of view for your story.
This module outlines what first person perspective is as well as how and when to use it. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of this perspective and how to implement it in your story.
This module outlines the various kinds of third person perspective and how to implement it in your story. We also consider the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective.
This section addresses additional perspectives, inducing second person and the highly popular free indirect style of writing often found in literary fiction. We also examine how involved you want your author to be in the story and how to manage a story in which you have multiple perspectives.

Choosing a point of view is one of the most important decisions you will make when designing your novel, short story, or film. This class teaches you the differences between each of the points of view, addressing both their strengths and weaknesses and alerting you to potential challenges.

What will you learn in this course?

  • Identifying your audience: Who is the narrator talking to? Why do you need to know?
  • Unreliable and reliable narrators
  • Different ways narrators share information: what to reveal, what to conceal?
  • First-Person Perspective
  • Third-Person Limited Perspective: Following one character
  • Third-Person Omniscient: Don't get overwhelmed by the all-seeing eye
  • Multiple-Person Perspective: How it is different than omniscient 
  • Objective vs. Subjective Narration: How much personality do you want your narrator to have?
  • Second Person
  • How your narration looks on the page
  • Making your own point-of-view "rules."

My goal is for you to have a solid understanding of how point of view functions in a story as opposed to just giving you rules. This allows you to make decisions for yourself.

I have included a print-out of the 'What Maisy Knew' excerpt discussed as it is rather lengthy.

Course Project:

If you want to put these lessons into practice, your class project is to write a paragraph or a scene of your choosing three different ways:

  1. First-person
  2. Third-person limited
  3. Third-person omniscient

This will mean that your scene or paragraph must contain more than one character. Use the advice given throughout the course. This will teach you the nuances of each. You will be surprised what it tells you about each of these points of view and the ways the limitations of each change your narrative!

Requirements

There are no prerequisites for this course!

Learn to identify who your reader is and what you want her to know so you can choose the right point of view for your story.
This module outlines what first person perspective is as well as how and when to use it. We look at the strengths and weaknesses of this perspective and how to implement it in your story.
This module outlines the various kinds of third person perspective and how to implement it in your story. We also consider the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective.
This section addresses additional perspectives, inducing second person and the highly popular free indirect style of writing often found in literary fiction. We also examine how involved you want your author to be in the story and how to manage a story in which you have multiple perspectives.

About the instructors

Barbara Vance

Author, Illustrator
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Barbara Vance is an author, illustrator and educator. She has a PhD in Narrative and Media, has taught storytelling and media production at several universities, and has spoken internationally on the power of storytelling and poetry. Barbara’s YouTube channel focuses on illustration and creative writing.

Her poetry collection, Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain, which she wrote and illustrated, is a Moonbeam Children’s Book winner, an Indie Book Award winner, and was twice a finalist for the Bluebonnet Award. Its poems are frequently used in school curricula around the world.

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