Skip to Content

Writing Workshops

Choosing Our Lens: Using Character to Determine Point of View with Erin Swan


4 sessions

Out of stock

Once a week Saturdays, 12:00 pm EST - 2:00 pm EST January 14 to February 4, 2023

Online via Zoom

Registration for this workshop has closed.

A narrator is the eye through which we see the world of a story. Through this eye we view the characters, understanding their motivations, conflicts, and choices from the narrator’s unique point of view. A shift in narrator will shift our perception of the story itself. So how do we choose this lens through which our readers will perceive the world we have created? Which point of view feels most appropriate, and why? And what, in all this, do our characters have to do with it? In this workshop, we will use these questions to guide the choices we make with our lens and to examine how a deeper understanding of our characters can help us make these choices. Through a combination of close reading exercises, writing prompts, and sharing our own work, we will explore the many ways in which character and point of view collide to make meaning on the page.

Course Outline:
  • Session 1: The “I” as the “Eye”: Why choose first person?
  • Session 2: The One or the Many? Close third v. third person omniscient
  • Session 3: All About You: When second person can work (and when it might not)
  • Session 4: A Chorus of Voices: The collective “we”

Capacity: 12


Led By

  • Erin Swan: portraits

    Erin Swan

    Erin Swan

    Erin Swan is the author of the speculative novel Walk the Vanished Earth (Viking 2022), a family saga spanning two hundred years, two planets, and seven generations. Her stories and essays have appeared in journals such as Portland Review, the South Carolina Review, and Inkwell Journal. A graduate of Teachers College at Columbia University and the MFA program at The New School, she lives in Brooklyn and teaches English at a public high school in lower Manhattan.