Who Says?: Mastering Point of View in Fiction

Who Says?: Mastering Point of View in Fiction

by Lisa Zeidner
Who Says?: Mastering Point of View in Fiction

Who Says?: Mastering Point of View in Fiction

by Lisa Zeidner


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A thorough, illuminating, and entertaining guide to crafting point of view, a fiction writer’s most essential choice.

Who is telling the story to whom is the single most important question about any work of fiction; the answer is central to everything from style and tone to plot and pacing. Using hundreds of examples from Jane Austen to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Leo Tolstoy to Stephen King, novelist and longtime MFA professor Lisa Zeidner dives deep into the points of view we are most familiar with—first and third person—and moves beyond to second-person narration, frame tales, and even animal points of view. Engaging and accessible, Who Says? presents any practicing writer with a new system for choosing a point of view, experimenting with how it determines the narrative, and applying these ideas to revision.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393356113
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/09/2021
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 634,873
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Lisa Zeidner is the author of five novels and two books of poems. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, GQ, and other publications. Zeidner teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers University and lives in New Jersey.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction

"You Talkin' to Me?" 1

Chapter 2 First Lines and First Paragraphs

"Come Here Often?" 14

Chapter 3 On Omniscience

A Century Plus of Miserable Marriages and Several Wars 31

Chapter 4 Third-Person Limited

The House of Fiction's Many Windows 66

Chapter 5 First Person

Objects in Mirrors May Be Closer Than They Appear 102

Chapter 6 Childhood and Animal Points of View

Out of the Mouths of Babes (Also, Dogs and Chimps) 137

Chapter 7 Narrative Inventions

"You," "We," Epistolary, and Other High Jinks 158

Chapter 8 Point Of View In Fiction Versus Film

Thinking Like a Camera 184

Chapter 9 On Revision

Pitfalls in Point of View 207

Exercises 241

Acknowledgments 249

Authors and Works Cited 251

Permissions 263

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