Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing,  workshops

Point of View

Point of View

As I said yesterday, Kris and I took a day off and drove into the valley, an hour to two hour drive, depending where you go from the coast. And along the way we were talking and brainstorming about the new online workshop Point of View.

I was telling her what I saw from beginning writers since she doesn’t see beginning writers much with what she teaches and edits these days. I was telling her about the character having “thoughts” like … I wished I was there, he thought… A huge viewpoint problem if not done right in a story.

And I was telling her that I often saw numbers of writers putting thoughts in italics, which is also a major viewpoint problem. But we both agreed that most of those problems could be handled in a few videos. And we could also teach how to do those things without them being a viewpoint problem.

And then the conversation went much deeper about point of view from there. I couldn’t believe I was actually having a writer conversation about levels of points of view, how the control is done, how to use point of view correctly with certain characters.

Great fun.

Most beginning writers think there are only a few levels of points of view. You know, first, second, third person. Past or present tense. But even knowing that much most fiction writers don’t know how to even handle those basics correctly depending on the story, the character, the location in the story, and so much more.

This workshop is going to be fantastic fun for me (already has been with the conversations about it Kris and I have had.)

Almost no one is signed up, but I don’t care, I’m going to do it anyway because I think this topic should be detailed out for fiction writers and not from the point of view of some English teacher with a lot of worthless terms.

This workshop will be for fiction writers.

And for the writers who want the power of controlled points of view. Writers who want to know when to tighten in a point of view and how, and writers who want to learn how to pull back a point of view and how to do it and when.

And when to float a point of view and when not to. And how to do it correctly.

So the workshop will cover the beginning stuff and fix that quickly, and from there this is going into advanced storytelling and control over how a reader feels.

The depth workshop works a lot of point of view in openings, without ever talking about the levels of points of view. And advanced depth workshop also does more on this area.

And no, there is no such thing as true omniscient viewpoint in fiction. Sorry. But there are things you might think are omniscient, but they have points of view. Advanced, usually.

Ever dealt or even thought about a narrative point of view? How would you even do it and when to do it in a story or novel?

And how do you deal with character voice and author voice in some points of view? How does character voice alter a point of view and restrict some things and allow other techniques?

Starting to get the idea?

Point of view is one of the most critical and powerful tools a writer can use, and the most ignored and done wrong. It’s going to be great fun to put this workshop together so I at least have something I can point to when I get some writer saying… he thought…

Great fun. At least for me and I hope for the few people taking it.


October Online Workshops Start On Tuesday

Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to

Questions about any of the workshops, feel free to write me.

All are limited to 5 writers. All still have room at the moment.

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

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.

If you are wondering what order would be best to take some of these workshops, we have done a curriculum for the workshops. You can see that at


Star Fall is Out in a Bundle

Repeating this again since I really hope a bunch of you get this bundle to see what I produced in those ten days in August. Some of you might remember the book I wrote in ten days while aiming at seven days in late August. Star Fall: A Seeders Universe Novel. That book is now available as I promised it would be. The official publication date isn’t until November, but at the moment it is available in a fantastic bundle called The Extreme Science Fiction Bundle. 

Also notice that in this bundle there is a fantastic Retrieval Artist novel called Extremes by Kris. It also has a great novel by Kevin J. Anderson, another by Mike Resnick, and another by M.L. Buchman. Plus two books by J. Daniel Sawyer.

And also an amazing volume of Fiction River: Risk Takers. I edited that and it is a fantastic example of a Fiction River volume.




Totals For Year 4, Month 2, Day 29

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 1,106

Total Miles This Month… 151 miles

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 4,700 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,500 words 

— Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,600 words

— E-mail: 11 e-mails. Approx. 700 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 436 e-mails. Approx. 28,100 words

— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 0 Covers


— Year of Short Fiction Goal: 120 stories (July 1st to June 30th). Stories finished to date: 8 stories.

— Yearly Novel Goal: 12 Novels. Novels finished to date: 2 novels.


You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Thanks for your support.


  • Marsha

    Dean, I am amazed to hear that very few people are taking the POV workshop. It’s high on my list of “must dos.” If I can shake some money loose I’ll try to sign on for October. I’m trying to put something aside for next April’s coast workshop but dang, you keep offering great workshops and I know I need them. Choices, choices!!!

    • dwsmith

      Doesn’t surprise us, Marsha. Point of View is like dialog. Every writer thinks because they can do it, so they don’t need to learn it. But all they know is what an English teacher non-writer taught them and they know nothing about the levels of craft in fiction writing needed to hold readers. But getting past that “I know that” problem is another matter.

      Also, learning is uncomfortable and writers don’t want to mess with areas they are comfortable with. And Point of View and Dialog are two areas of comfort, even though their skill is beginner level. They don’t want to know that. Most writers want to remain at that lower level because learning anything more would be difficult and uncomfortable.

      So we expected it. On both workshops.

      • Kate Pavelle

        Dean says above: “writers don’t want to mess with areas they are comfortable with.”
        Yep. And that’s why I take seminars only every once in a while. I need time to incorporate what I’ve learned or been exposed to, and if I take too much new material at once, I find it doesn’t sink in as well. It’s like cleaning out closets – if I empty more than one at a time, the room is a bigger mess than before I started, and stays that way for quite a while.

  • Vera Soroka

    I would love to take this point of view. Although I have not taken any of the other ones and you do suggest taking the depth workshops first. So, we will have to see a little later on what we can do. I think the number one reason is funds for most of us. We have to save up and that takes time plus I have to convert that to CAN funds and our dollar sucks right now so hopefully a bit later we can start to take workshops.
    I will add I find it fascinating about all the aspects of point of view. I will admit I have no idea what you are talking about. Narrative point of view? Omniscient ? What the hell is that? I’ve never heard of any of this, LOL. So, you can see that I’m a prime candidate for this workshop.

  • Kate Pavelle

    This here’s gonna be fun. I’m so sick and tired of the same old 3rd person POV, where multiple characters take turn in polite and predictable fashion (and don’t get me started on “genre conventions.”) I’d love to learn floating, especially for romance. And I love 1st person, because I can get away with revealing all kinds of motives, which makes for quirky characters. The trouble I’ve run into in 1st was getting depth with the other characters, though. How could my unreliable narrator possibly know what another person was feeling or thinking? That was hard. (I ended up re-reading some LTBlock so see how he handles it. He doesn’t. The reader has to like the MC’s mind enough to stay in it.)
    I am really looking forward to this workshop!

  • Teri Babcock

    It might have been the Advanced Depth course, I don’t remember now.
    It was one where one of the assignments was finding particular sorts of openings. I remember being stunned by one I found by Ed McBain that transitioned so beautifully from a wide and ‘impersonal’ kind of POV to deep in the character. It progressed through shades of depth and was so smoothly done I would never have noticed if I hadn’t been looking for it.
    And right there I got that point-of-view mastery is absolutely a Level 4 writer skill. It isn’t a ‘yeah, got it’ kind of topic. There’s great subtlety and sophistication possible with this tool, and if I’m to get to the point where people can’t put my books down, I need to learn it.
    So, so glad you’re offering this.

    • dwsmith

      Spot on, Teri. Once you start seeing the levels of Point of View that stage four writers can do, all you can do is shake your head. I still do at times. It’s amazing and wonderful. And powerful.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Hey Dean, critical voice just won’t leave this story I’m writing alone. I’m thinking about dipping into my idea box, starting a new one, and re-draft this one later on. Good idea?

  • Harvey

    Just to toss my voice into the mix, I plan to sign up for this POV workshop in either November or December. And I’m telling everyone I know. I suspect this will be among your best, Dean.

    • dwsmith

      Thanks, Harvey. I have a hunch it might be as well. At least from the plans Kris and I have for it. (grin)

  • Linda Maye Adams

    I was reading a fantastic Michael Connelly short story. About two thirds of the way through the story, the viewpoint character died and seamlessly switched to the character’s partner and wrapped up the story. I got to the end to the end, realized it had switched viewpoint and had to go see how he did it.

    Did not know about character thoughts and italics. I’ve not used them, though I had to think about the reason why. It’s always felt to me that there are better ways to convey the same things. If the the narrative is from the character’s viewpoint, then it seems reasonable to put it into the narrative along with other things like character being nervous.

  • Sheila

    Anything I’ve learned about POV hasn’t been from English teachers, but from books about the writing craft. And whatever I’ve picked up from extensive reading. I’ve been studying writing for a few decades now — yeah, you read that right — so I hope _something_ has sunk in! Would still like to take a course or two, someday. Maybe next year. :::mama needs a big seller::::

  • Barb

    Dean, you certainly know how to intrigue Writers into taking more of your workshops? I’m off for my long expected vacation of 2 weeks in October, so I hope you’ll do a November session as well (I see it’s in the online workshops calendars, so hopefully when I get back, I can sign up). I’d ask the question here, but I know you’d answer “Take the workshop to find out”, so… next month, hopefully. I just can’t do October, sorry! 😉