Sophie McManus: Inside → Out: Writing Point of View

Meets: Every other Tuesday


Dates: October 3 – December 12


Time: 6:30 - 9pm


Sign up:

Members: $545

Nonmembers: $600



Inside → Out: Writing Point of View


“No object is mysterious. The mystery is your eye,” wrote Elizabeth Bowen. More than any other aspect of fiction, point of view invents the structure and meaning of the story you tell. Who speaks? How do they interpret the world? What does their mind sound like? To whom must they tell their tale, and why? How, as the writer, do you discover what they most desire? In this generative workshop, we’ll explore the possibilities and limitations of perspective: the interplay of point of view and narration; the particular powers (and syntactic challenges) of first, second, and third persons; voices that are retrospective or present, omniscient or limited, reliable or unreliable. We’ll examine how accessible a character’s mind is to the reader—intimate and porous as stream-of-consciousness, or closed behind “objective,” filmic narration, or somewhere in between. We’ll consider ways into a character’s past.


Students will read published works for discussion, workshop twice, and have the option to meet once with the instructor for an individual conference. Each student will receive optional weekly writing prompts where we’ll write into a variety of perspectives, human and non-. Short stories and novels are welcome, but please note that if you would like to workshop a portion of a novel, we will need to read consecutively, starting on page one.  


Sophie McManus is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Unfortunates, which was a Barnes & Noble 2015 Great Writers Discover Award Finalist, was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, long listed for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, and named a notable book or must-read by The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Paste, and Time Out New York among others. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, O, Tin House, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Saltonstall Foundation, and the Jentel Foundation. She was born and raised in New York City and teaches writing in Brooklyn, New York.