November 3, 2018
$215 | 5 Weeks
A story, it’s been said, is the point of view. It’s the perspective–or vantage point–from which the tale is told; it’s the lens through which everything is seen. Different people, depending on their attitudes and experiences, will see different things and tell different stories. In this course, you will learn how to handle point of view both as vantage point and as choice of person–with emphasis on first- and third-person POV’s. You’ll learn to manage the distance of your narrative perspective and how to stay in POV, avoiding illogical shifts. You’ll practice writing covered in the lectures and get feedback from both your fellow writers and instructor.
Open to beginning as well as more experienced writers who want to improve their handling of this key element of fiction.
Introduction. Lecture – a primer on the basic elements of fiction, with special focus on point of view (POV).
Assignments and Workshop: Read a few stories with different POV’s and write your own short piece, choosing either first-person or third-person POV. Get feedback from fellow writers and instructor.
Lecture – on POV as vantage point from which to tell or narrate a story, on choosing the best POV character for your story, the one with the most to gain or lose, the one with the greatest potential for change.
Assignments and Workshop: Read a story or two. With a given character and situation in mind, choose the right lens or vantage point for your story–that is, the right POV character. Write a short piece and get feedback from fellow writers and instructor.
Lecture – on handling first-person narration as well as third-person limited POV. Learn about narrative closeness (with first) and narrative distance (with third). Learn about the possibility of an unreliable narrator (with first), and issues of consistency of POV (with third).
Assignments and Workshop: Read stories with both first- and third-person POV’s. Write short pieces using both with feedback from fellow writers and instructor.
Lecture – on handling the third-person omniscient (the risks here) versus third-person multiple points of view as an alternative.
Assignments and Workshop: Read stories with both the omniscient POV and third-person multiple POV. Write short pieces using both with feedback from fellow writers and instructor.
Lecture – on handling the dramatic or objective POV, on learning how to make action and dialogue carry a scene.
Assignments and Workshop: Read a story or two using the dramatic POV.
Jack was very encouraging and provided me with helpful feedback. His comments are friendly but also critical, which is important with writing, as too many compliments and not enough critical opinions aren't helpful. The class content was engaging. I've already recommended the class to a friend and will continue to do so. And I'm taking another class at the moment. I've been very happy with my experience. Shay Meinecke
I found the earlier exercises extremely helpful and came away feeling encouraged about my novel idea and excited to continue working on it. [Jack] was accessible and encouraging and gave excellent feedback. I would take another of his classes, perhaps when I am farther along with my project and looking for structure and feedback. I just want to say again how much I appreciated the teacher's attentive and individualized feedback and encouragement. This was my first fiction-writing experience, and it felt like a risk. I was in good hands with Jack. Elizabeth Hawkins
This was probably the best online writing class I’ve taken in terms of what I learned from it and class participation. I found the lessons very useful, and will incorporate them in how I write... Jack was very thoughtful, conscientious, and informative. He did a great job with the class... I would definitely recommend your classes. This was my second class from you, and I’m enrolled in Jack’s May novel writing class... I’ve taken online writing classes from UCLA, Gotham, Writer’s Digest, and Writers.com. I must say I’ve really enjoyed Writers.com. Thank you! Bill Hughes
Jack is a fantastic teacher. He is infinitely patient, doesn't take anything personally, and he is supportive without relinquishing his desire to provide us with detailed, specific, constructive criticism. I of course worked with him longer later and was very impressed with his ability to refrain from taking offense when I did not use one of his suggestions, but simply anticipate why I might be hesitant to do so and offer a solution that could satisfy the need I had which prevented me from making changes to the text to begin with. In other words, he is humble, smart, and flexible; even wise, and that is not a word I use lightly.
He seems to find the balance between allowing students their own style and self-expression while correcting everything that needs to be corrected. Finally, I really appreciated in Jack his sense of humor, which is subtle and compassionate. His way of constructing a class and giving feedback allows students to feel encouraged and supported even when he is busy with correcting our text and way of working so we may become better writers. He just kept on making suggestions patiently on where and how I could use an image to help my scene, so that without even noticing, I acquired a good habit and will never again NOT think of using more visuals with descriptions. Same goes for using action instead of telling, or avoiding clichés. I hope you will use Jack for more classes in the future, he is truly a gifted teacher....
Thank you for creating and leading the best online writing website I have tried (and I have tried several). Marcella Agh
I enjoyed [the novella class]. I also really enjoyed the suggested reading. I realized the first week I wasn’t quite prepared. Jack’s suggestion to beef up my outline was the best advice I could have received. It wasn’t easy writing those 3000 words a week, but at least I didn’t have to think “what” I needed to write about. With the outline, it came fairly easy.
As for Jack ... I thought he was personable, but with just the right amount of “removed” to make a good reviewer. In my case, he pointed out things I didn’t even think about and he was very supportive. He focused mostly on concept, and in a first draft, I believe this is critical. I have recommended you to other people. I am glad you are there for me. Anne Jennings
I found the lessons and the assignments to be inspiring and challenging.Jack gave helpful and encouraging feedback. He is a well read and accomplished writer, so his critique and input was astute. I think your offerings are fantastic. There is something for everyone, IMO. As a beginning writer, it's also nice that the classes all seem to be geared towards all levels. I can already see that you get what you put in with the classes, and that's ideal. I would definitely recommend your classes. I immediately enrolled in another class, so yes, I will probably keep taking classes with your site! Debra Barclay
[Jack] consistently provided detailed, thoughtful and helpful feedback. I’ve taken many courses with Writers.com so my repeated presence says more than any words I can add. Shawn Montgomery
Jack is excellent at gently pointing out how what you've written might not work or might not come across as authentic. His comments and suggestions are clear and very helpful. Reading other students writing and comments on their work gives depth to the whole experience. I really learned a lot from his guidance to me and to the other students. The additional reading materials Jack provided are excellent. Louise Aiello