November 20, 2019
$155 | 3 Weeks
Every writer has a natural voice, and every natural voice has its own way of telling a story. It has its own rhythm, pace, sense of detail, anecdote, and—if allowed to improvise—this natural voice can discover the story’s content and form. Natural voice is like a finger pointing at the moon, but it isn’t the moon itself. It takes time, patience, and work to refine this voice into a polished voice that can tell a story. But when your natural voice is allowed to lead the way, the result is a story with fire and spirit.
— Thaisa Frank & Dorothy Wall, Finding Your Writer’s Voice
Objective: Your characters are often little more than a roving crowd of strangers until you discover your story’s voice and choose your point of view which determines the tone of characters’ movements and thoughts, the tenor of their dialogue. Voice and viewpoint ultimately drives the storyteller’s every word choice, including the details of setting, the descriptions of characters, the conversations heard and, sometimes more important, not heard.
In this workshop, you’ll be learning how and why certain point of view choices alter a reader’s experience with your work and how you can alter that experience through changes in voice and point of view. You’ll be applying what you learn to your own writing, discussing the effects of that writing and discussing the work of others in the class as well. You’ll become comfortable with the point of view techniques that will allow you to create powerful and creative fiction.
Writing in Flow; Keys to Enhanced Creativity by Susan K. Perry, Ph.D. (recommended but not required)
Recommended text: Finding your Writer’s Voice by Thaisa Frank & Dorothy Wall (strongly recommended but not required)
Week One: Finding Your Voice—It’s an Organic Journey
Finding your voice for your story; focusing your viewpoint–are there rules; allowing the process: cultivating your voice; doubting your voice
Assignment: To write two scenes, using a different viewpoint in each.
Week Two: Third Person or First Person—the Search for the Most Effective Approach
The four approaches to third-person viewpoint (singular, multiple, up close and personal, from a distance; know your character; the reliability of the first-person protagonist; some pitfalls
Assignment: To write two scenes, one in third-person pov and one in first-person pov.
Week Three: A Look at the Unconventional Voice—Now Let’s Roll
The omniscient viewpoint; the unseen narrator; the minor-character viewpoint; the unsympathetic voice; the untrustworthy voice; the second person voice; Questions to ask: Is the Viewpoint Working; Is the Voice Working; Does the Story’s Voice fit the Genre?
Assignment: To write two scenes, the first in an unconventional point of view, the second, the one rising organically within a story you’ve been working on.