Novel Essentials: Narrative Perspective

Friday, April 12th, 10:30am-1:30pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

The narrative voice of any novel has an immense impact on the book’s effect on readers. Is the story told in the first person, or is the narrator omniscient, able to dip in and out of all the characters’ perspectives at will? Should the narrative stick closely to the perspective of a bystander, or should the reader be privy to the protagonists’ thoughts and emotions? Determining how much information readers should receive and in what way they should receive it are crucial and often thorny problems for all novelists. In this seminar, we will discuss the various options for narrative voices and the technical ramifications of each. We will look at notable examples of each voice from published authors in order to explore the advantages and disadvantages of each voice.

Using in-class writing exercises and group discussion, we will analyze which narrative voice might suit each attendee’s novel and why, experimenting with different options and examining the ways in which novels can be altered by changing the narrative voice. By the end of the seminar, each writer will have a clear sense of the pros and cons of different narrative voices and a good sense of which voice might work best for their own novel.

Part of GrubStreet's Novel Essentials Series, led by Ursula DeYoung and dedicated to exploring the fundamental building blocks of the novel. Classes include:

  • Novel Essentials: Pacing
  • Novel Essentials: Narrative Perspective
  • Novel Essentials: Finding, Signing, and Dealing with Agents
  • Novel Essentials: Style--Showing vs. Telling
  • Novel Essentials: Introducing Characters
  • Novel Essentials: Arcs and Endings
  • Novel Essentials: Narrative Style

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.


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Ursula DeYoung
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
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  • Concept Development
  • Writing Homework
  • Reading Homework
  • Class Discussion
  • Lecture
  • Revision Assignments
  • Workshop
  • Instructor Feedback
  • In-Class Writing
  • Craft Lessons
  • Generate New Work


  • The Novel

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