Elements of Craft

Point of View & Psychic Distance in Fiction

Saturday, August 8th, 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

"Storytelling is not just important for the human mind,” E.O. Wilson has said; “it IS the human mind.” If this is true, then point of view is the specific storytelling mode in which the human mind is made manifest. In fiction workshops, one often overhears point of view being discussed in terms of “rules” that are being “violated.” But are there rules to this kind of thing, really? If so, why do they exist, what are they, and when can we get started on breaking them? In this craft-oriented workshop, we’ll read passages written by a number of classic and contemporary fiction writers as we explore the advantages and pitfalls of different points of view. We’ll make an important distinction between point of view and psychic distance, and we’ll discuss the struggles, dilemmas, and opportunities relating to point of view and psychic distance in our own works-in-progress. Finally, we’ll have a chance to discuss and apply what we’re learning in a series of illuminating writing exercises. Authors discussed will include Peter Carey, Edith Wharton, Jim Harrison, Larry Brown, Hilary Mantel, Anthony Doerr, and others.


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Timothy Weed
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Previous Students Say

  • "Inspired Me to Write More"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • In-Class Writing
  • In-Class Reading
  • Class Discussion


  • The Novel
  • Short Fiction

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