The University of Iowa

First, Third, and (Sometimes) Second: A Point-of-View Fiction Workshop

Weeklong July 19 to July 24 2020

When we first begin to write fiction, selecting point-of-view feels about as casual as choosing which pair of socks to wear: blue or darker blue? Maybe brown? As we develop our writing, though, point-of-view gradually begins to reveal itself for what it truly is: the most important element of fiction, period. Everything orbits around point-of-view: detail, imagery, conflict, characterization, dialogue and plot. In this weeklong fiction workshop, we will come to a deeper appreciation of point-of-view through in-class writing exercises, selected readings, and workshop of student short stories or novel chapters. Together we explore the pros and cons of first, third and (sometimes) second person narration. Be prepared to write a lot, have fun, and walk away in awe of point-of-view. Required: participants will bring copies of an original short story or novel chapter of 12-20 pages in length. The workshop welcomes writers at all skill levels.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week.

Short Story