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One of the first decisions we must make as we begin a new story is about what point of view (POV) we will narrate from. Do we want the intimacy (and restrictions) of 1st person? The perceived credibility (and distance) of 3rd person? Or the flexibility (and navigation issues) of 3rd person-close?

In this 5-week course, we’ll talk about all points of view, but we’ll focus primarily on 3rd person-close, which is perhaps the most commonly used POV. We’ll talk about what it is, how it differs from 1st person, as well as the pros and cons of both, and we’ll discuss how to navigate 3rd person, including when to move close, when to maintain more distance, and how to signal those moves to your reader.

“I’ve received a lot of questions over the years about 3rd-person POV,” says instructor Lori Ostlund. “I’ve found that people often think that 3rd person-close is just a variation on 1st person, or that widening the distance from the character means that the narrator simply becomes invisible, even bland. But I think of 3rd close as a way to have the best of both worlds: to be inside and outside our POV character, depending on what suits the piece’s needs from line to line, page to page.”

We will look at excerpts from short stories and novels and engage in exercises that focus on improving participants’ understanding of and facility with 3rd person-close POV. Participants will use these exercises to create work at home, which we will workshop during class. “My goal,” Lori says, “is for us to think about this important craft element in ways that are instructional but also flexible and generative, and for you to leave this class with the tools and confidence to continue exploring 3rd person-close in your own writing, whether you’re getting ready to start something new or need a fresh way to think about a work-in-progress.”



No Instructor Specified

  1. Sunday, October 28, 10:30am-1:00pm
  2. Sunday, November 3, 10:30am-1:00pm
  3. Sunday, November 10, 10:30am-1:00pm
  4. Sunday, November 17, 10:30am-1:00pm
  5. Sunday, December 2, 10:30am-1:00pm
  • Lori is a great teacher, and came with a plan. She was kind and patient, and steered/started conversations in a tactful way.  She skillfully led discussions of the samples we read. When it came to critiquing our own work, any comments were couched in constructive language, and she set the tone for critiques.

    She was much more accessible than other teachers I have had in the past. She even went so far as to think further about questions she had already answered in class, and e-mail her thoughts to us later.

    Carole Stivers


Sunday, October 28, 2018 @ 5:30 pm PDT
Sunday, December 2, 2018 @ 9:00 pm PDT
Event Category:


San Francisco
2042 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA United States
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Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot offer refunds, credits, or makeup sessions for classes a student might miss.

In the event of an emergency, we may consider a refund or credit, whether partial or full. We review these requests on a case-by-case basis, and we ask that you notify us as near as possible to the start date for the class.

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