On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

New Workshop: Point of View


Understanding every detail about how to use a character point of view.

Most writers will think, “I don’t need this. I know Point of View. It’s not hard.” And yet most of those writers still work under their old beliefs and learning they got from non-writers like English teachers. 

The truth simply put: Most fiction writers know little or nothing about the power of viewpoint.

As with the Speed workshop, this area Kris and I have avoided for two reasons. First, we don’t believe many will sign up for it, believing writers think they know it all about viewpoint. Second, this is such an advanced technique area, it will be difficult to teach.

But now we are challenged by the idea of teaching this for fiction writers and feel we have a way to do it effectively finally.

First off, this will be one of those “awareness” workshops. Until you see the power of what a major writer is doing with viewpoint and what they are doing and how they are doing it, you will miss it and not be able to use the technique yourself. So we’re going to show it to you and explain how you can use it and when.

And then help you practice it.

Just a few things this workshop will cover for fiction writers.

 All the standard viewpoints and tenses. What they are used for, when to use them, when not to, and so on. (We won’t be talking much English-teacher language because honestly, that doesn’t help. We will explain this all in fiction writing terms for the most part.)

 In the Advanced Depth workshop we touched on summary openings, and voice openings. But we stayed away from viewpoint and why those openings work. Here we will show you why they work and how to do them purposefully. Very, very powerful tools if you understand viewpoint.

 Plotting techniques with viewpoints, from single viewpoints to hold readers to multiple viewpoints. Including first person and third person viewpoints in the same book and why and how to use that technique effectively. Plotting techniques usually get forgotten by writers when picking viewpoints. A simple correct choice in the beginning of a viewpoint or multiple viewpoints can make a book come alive. And if you have taken the teams workshop, this workshop is a logical extension of that workshop as well.

 You ever wonder why floating viewpoints work in the hands of a master and no reader notices, yet in the hands of a lower-skilled writer, a floating viewpoint is a mistake and everyone notices? This workshop will explain floating viewpoints, why they are used, and how to do them when you need to. And why you would ever need to. Again, a very powerful tool to have at your fingertips that most fiction writers have always been warned away from.

 Reader awareness will be a major part of this workshop as well, from understanding how a viewpoint can be pushed in close or pulled back depending on what a reader will expect. Also how readers react to certain viewpoints in certain places and knowing how to use that reaction to your own use. Tightening in a viewpoint at one point in a story and pulling it back in another remains a very powerful writing skill. We will help you understand how to do it, why to do it, and when to do it in a story.

 And a ton more. Far more than we can list here.

So if you have any fear of any viewpoint, if you think first person viewpoint is actually a more immediate viewpoint for a reader, if you think “omniscient” viewpoint actually exists in fiction, then you really, really need this workshop.

It will be an eye-opener and jump your writing skills forward, we can promise that.

The New Workshop Schedule

All workshops are limited to five writers except for the first month (October) of Point of View. After that it will also be limited to five.

You can sign up for any workshop as far ahead as you would like.

To sign up go to http://www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com or click on the online workshops tab above.

Feel free to write me for more information about any of the workshops.

Class #31… Oct 4th … The Business of Writing
Class #32… Oct 4th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #33… Oct 4th … Writing Mysteries
Class #34… Oct 4th … Speed
Class #35… Oct 4th … Teams in Fiction
Class #36… Oct 5th … Depth in Writing
Class #37… Oct 5th … Point of View
Class #38… Oct 5th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #39… Oct 5th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #40… Oct 5th … Advanced Depth

Class #41… Nov 1st … Author Voice
Class #42… Nov 1st … Point of View
Class #43… Nov 1st … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #44… Nov 1st … Ideas
Class #45… Nov 1st … Character Development
Class #46… Nov 2nd … Depth in Writing
Class #47… Nov 2nd … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #48… Nov 2nd … Cliffhangers
Class #49… Nov 2nd … Pacing Your Novel
Class #50… Nov 2nd …Expectations (Writing on the Rails)

Class #51… Dec 6th … The Business of Writing
Class #52… Dec 6th … Point of View
Class #53… Dec 6th … Writing Mysteries
Class #54… Dec 6th … Speed
Class #55… Dec 6th … Teams in Fiction
Class #56… Dec 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… Dec 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #58… Dec 7th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #59… Dec 7th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… Dec 7th … Advanced Depth

Class #1… Jan 3rd … Author Voice
Class #2… Jan 3rd … Writing Thrillers
Class #3… Jan 3rd … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4… Jan 3rd … Ideas
Class #5… Jan 3rd … Character Development
Class #6… Jan 4th … Depth in Writing
Class #7… Jan 4th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8… Jan 4th … Cliffhangers
Class #9… Jan 4th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #10… Jan 4th …Expectations (Writing on the Rails)

Class #11… Feb 7th … The Business of Writing
Class #12… Feb 7th … Point of View
Class #13… Feb 7th … Writing Mysteries
Class #14… Feb 7th … Speed
Class #15… Feb 7th … Teams in Fiction
Class #16… Feb 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Feb 8th … Plotting With Depth
Class #18… Feb 8th … Writing Fiction Sales Copy
Class #19… Feb 8th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #20… Feb 8th … Advanced Depth


    • dwsmith

      You are the only person so far that thinks so. (grin) Thanks. We had a hunch this one would just cause hackles to come up on many writers. So far that is holding true. (grin)

      • Cora

        JM may be the first, but definitely not the only. Currently working out some finances so can hopefully take the POV workshop right away.

  • Vera Soroka

    Point of view? That is the character telling the story from his point of view, right? I’ve written point of view from two characters and one. And that was in first-person past tense. Present tense I don’t’ like. Get any more than two characters and it’s too much head hopping for me. I read one with five points of view. That was too jarring. Each new point of view was the start of a chapter. For me it took me out of the story and I had to get into another character’s head. I don’t like that.
    Unless there is a way of doing it that is hardly noticing?

    • dwsmith

      Vera, if it had been done correctly by the writer, chances are you would have never noticed. But also that might be a taste issue for you as a reader. But if done right, usually not jarring.

      And the term “head-hopping” comes from beginning writers who don’t understand any of this and is a derogatory term. So instead of learning how to do it correctly, the writer limits their own work.

      Spot on why we are trying this workshop.

  • Ron

    I’ve seen a writer advocate the use of First Person Point of View for fiction writing. But it seems to me that sometimes the Third Person Point of View makes the most sense.

    At least some of Clive Cussler’s fiction is written from the Omni Point of View, and he has sold millions of books. So telling a story from the Omni Point of View can work well.

    • dwsmith

      Ron, Cussler has NEVER used omniscient viewpoint. Trust me. I am a major Cussler fan of most of his series. It just is what some people think of as that, but it always has viewpoint. And knowing when to use third or first or some combination is why we are doing this workshop, because there are idiots out there who think that only using first person is the only way. Or never using first person is the only way.

      See why we are doing this workshop for the writers series about getting past the myths and into the actual ability to use viewpoints correctly for their stories?

  • Stefon Mears

    Interesting timing. I just read Die Trying by Lee Child and in going back to take another look at it, I marveled at the way he handled viewpoint in some of his early chapters. I had to read one two or three times to try to figure out what he was doing.

    Think I’ll have to give this class a shot. Won’t be for a couple of months though.

    • dwsmith

      Yeah, that is a great example. Stunning viewpoint work to make it really clear to the reader.

      Hope we have enough interest in the workshop to even get it off the ground. So far it is going as we were afraid would happen, not much interest.

  • Kate Pavelle

    New, pretty, shiny! I want. This workshop sounds fabulous. I’ve been feeling so stuck in my characters taking turn, it feels boring to write and that’s bad news. I might not be able to take advantage of the Kickstarter offer until the 22nd or so, though.